Qoheleth’s Critique of Materialism

Derek Kidner in The Message of Ecclesiastes:

As to man’s dignity, what is so mortifying (an appropriate word!) about death’s final leveling of wise men and fools—to which we could add, “good men and bad,” “saints and sadists,” and every other pair of opposites—is that if it is true, it allows the last word to a brute fact which tramples on every value-judgment we can make. Everything may tell us that wisdom is not on a par with folly, nor goodness with evil; but no matter: if death is the end of the road, the contention that there is nothing to choose between them will get the last word. The choices that we positively knew to be significant will be brushed aside as finally irrelevant.

If there is a lie at the center of existence, and nonsense at the end of it, who has the heart to make anything of it? If, as we might put it, every card in our hand will be trumped, does it matter how we play? Why treat a king with more respect than a knave?” (34)

HT: Laura Ward

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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