Ecclesiastes—confronting the cynic and the secularist

Ecclesiastes: The Wisdom of Koheleth “click” for free PDF download

A different style of commentary, with a depth of insight, Geoff Bingham always brings.

The preacher, Koheleth, so often repeats: ‘Vanity of vanities! All is vanity’. Negativity is wearisome. So, why bother with Ecclesiastes?

Cynicism, pessimism, and nihilism are common in Australia, even at times within the Christian community. Such attitudes are often understandable, but seem to me to be detrimental to society.

Christianity has been pushed into a handy box called ‘religion’. Many are cynical about it. Christians can push away ‘the world’, too, dismissing good things, daily events and interests as ‘secular’. Both actions suppress the truth (Romans 1:18)

If we can help ourselves, and other people to see life with fresh eyes, and enable us and them to be alert and responsive to negativity as it arises—perhaps, community life can be blessed and others can come to know Jesus Christ, more fully too.

Many readers are surprised to learn that Ecclesiastes is not the work of a cynic. Nor is it someone merely smashing of idols, like an angry iconoclast. The Taliban do that. Rather it is one who has reflected seriously upon life, and has found the key to it. He is now writing, probing, to bring about a life-changing confrontation, in the hearts and lives of those who will hear him. Unfortunately notes like the Scofield Bible say this is merely a ‘natural man’. It is in the canon of Scripture which means its inspired (2Tim. 3:16).

Many box God out of their lives. Others, claiming to give God first place, can actually box daily reality and human events out of their lives under the guise of becoming more spiritual. Note: Someone has called the book: ‘The Confessions of a Workaholic’.


Vanity of Vanities, is not ‘meaningless, meaningless’. It is based on a Hebrew word ‘havel’ meaning a mist that goes; a vapour; a gust of wind; it is best read as: ‘Breath of breath: everything is fleeting’. Life is passing. Something that is fleeting is still something. While Life is Fleeting, it filled with purpose, when the Key to life is understood, namely knowing God in the midst of everything, and recognizing his part in it. Then, learning to live in the moment that is given. There is a time to keep, and a time to throw away (Ecclesiastes 3:6). A wise person keeps in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). And moves with, and not against the fleeting seasons.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, [i.e. transient, fleeting], but what is unseen is eternal. (2Corinthians 4:18)

The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble (Proverbs 16:4)

About Trevor

I grew up at Myponga, as the a son of dairy farming parents. I joined the South Australian Police Force. I later returned home to manage the family dairy farm. Having believed the good news, I now see its centrality and necessity to human life, and to our participation with proper hope in the world we live in. I teach Christian faith.
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