Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Quest for Meaning & The Kingdom of God

I am reading with much profit Craig Bartholomew's commentary on Ecclesiastes (BCOTWP).  The way he makes sense of Qohelet's quest for meaning in light of the NT is excellent and worth sharing here.  The book of Ecclesiastes presents a tension between Qohelet's frustration in trying to find meaning in life while at the same time affirming the value of life.  Bartholomew comments:
Ecclesiastes (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms)Thus the futility Ecclesiastes exposes is that of trying to find meaning while embracing human autonomy in a world that depends at every point on its Creator.
As the NT story unfolds, it becomes apparent that Jesus redeems us from this futility and our sinful autonomy and suppression of the truth about this world (Rom. 1:18-23).  He does this by ushering in the kingdom of God, the main theme of Jesus's teaching.... Just as hebel casts its shadow across all areas of life, so too does Christ claim all areas of life as rightly his and thus to be redeemed and brought to their fulfillment under his rule.  Christ does not just teach about the kingdom; through his incarnation he enters the very history that is subject to futility and embodies the kingdom in his acts and ultimately in his death and resurrection and ascension.  In his death he takes upon himself the full weight of the futility of separation from God and thereby opens the gate to entrance into the kingdom, in which full meaning is found in Christ. (p. 97)