Last year I wrote an article about Ecclesiastes 8:17.
I expressed just how surprised I was by the passage as I’ve always considered the book of Ecclesiastes to be on the whole, possibly the most depressing book in all the of the bible; until one day I discovered that I’ve never really understood it.
Throughout the book there is a constant refrain of: “it is useless” ( “all is vanity” in The King James version) and well… it just depresses me.
Ecclesiastes 8:17 “then I saw all that God has done”
I’m not going to spoil the surprise because I want you to go over and read it but I had cause recently to consider this verse again in a different context, when I had an Atheist friend insist that the body of scientific evidence; especially the conclusion that the laws of physics are such that there is no need for there to be a god for the universe to have come about, preclude the necessity for the existence of God.
I don’t engage with such comments these days; or at least I try and avoid such engagement, so I said nothing. But Ecclesiastes 8:17 did come back to me.
It strikes me that Solomon, all those years back may still have known more than many brilliant people today.
After all, as I understand from a news broadcast; when Stephen Hawking made the statement that, the laws of physics are such that there is no need for there to be a god for the universe to have come about 1, he post scripted the comment with “Unless you consider God to be the Law Giver”. Funny how that part is always left out when people quote him.
Still even if he didn’t say it, hasn’t scripture always declared God as the Law Giver. For example: “And God Said…”? Isn’t that what being The Creator is all about?
And how would you know that God isn’t still contributing to the functioning of the laws of physics. After all for laws to be obeyed, at least in society you have to have law enforcement. I’m no physicist but my little mind can’t help thinking, maybe those laws of physics are not as infallible as some would have them be. Maybe they need some enforcing from time to time. How would you test that?
“In my opinion, there is no aspect of reality beyond the reach of the human mind,” Hawking told El Mundo.(NBC News)
Funny, it seems to me that that is just what God said: Genesis 11:1-9. (Emphasis Verse 6). In His grace he dispersed the people for fear of the harm they would do to themselves.
It seems to me just as Solomon says, that we just don’t know enough to make such comprehensive statements. Outside of faith that is 2.
1 “I’m not religious in the normal sense. I believe the Universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws,” Steven Hawking BBC News | science/nature
2 Interestingly Charles Darwin the farther of the Theory of Evolution, said something similar in his private correspondence: Darwin Correspondence Project