Ecclesiastes 8:17 – No One Really Comprehends and God’s Revelation

Ecclesiastes 8:17 – No One Really Comprehends and God’s Revelation

In my recent read through the book of Ecclesiastes, I came to appreciate the seemingly contradictory perspectives of the author, who most accept as Solomon given how he identifies himself in the first verse: “The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem.” There were no kings in Israel’s long history who had the wealth and peace during their reigns to have the time to contemplate how meaningless life is “under the sun.” It takes a man of wealth and leisure with plenty of time on his hands to get to a point where he would conclude:

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.”

What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?

Here’s a cynic Woody Allen could appreciate. Yet the Teacher combines a healthy dose cynicism with a humility that realizes how little we as finite human beings can really know “under the sun.” Doing a Bible word search, we find the Teacher in our English Bibles using the phrase in the 12 chapters of the Book 27 times. I think we can safely say life on earth, not one oriented toward a heavenly city, is the dominant theme. Yet we also find him using the word God, Elohim in the Hebrew, 37 times. It is interesting, though, that he never uses the Israel’s covenant name for God, Yahweh, but the generic reference to God, El. Given his international celebrity, it’s likely his intended audience went beyond the people of Israel.

Speaking of word searches, he also uses the word meaningless some 30 times. The ESV and KJV translate that Hebrew word as vanity, defined in a variety of ways as empty, valueless, hollowness, worthlessness, futile. The Hebrew word means vapor or breath, and is also translated in various ways as such as empty, delusion, fleeting, fraud, or futile. We get the point, over and over and over again. Yet in the midst of all this futility and frustration he ends with what ultimately matters:

13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.

What prompted me to write about Ecclesiastes this time through was the Teacher’s statement in chapter 8 that after he had seen all God had done:

No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.

This hasn’t stopped human beings from trying to do just that for all of recorded history. The speculative history of philosophy, and the many varieties of religion over the ages speak to the futility of this endeavor. Man is an ultimate meaning seeking creature, even if most of the time he gets it wrong. The problem is that because of sin and man’s rebellion against God, we don’t seek Him. Jesus told us as much when he said to Nicodemus that we can’t even see the kingdom of God unless we are born again. No one chooses to be born or has any say in the matter, and Jesus doesn’t use his metaphors carelessly.

Which brings us to the Christian concept of revelation, that God has broken into the box of reality in which we find ourselves to reveal what it’s ultimately all about, or else we would be forever benighted. That word means being in a state of moral or intellectual darkness, unenlightened. If not for God breaking into the box of human existence to tell us what it all means, we are stuck with speculation and endless guessing leading nowhere but to more speculation and guessing, bumping into walls of existence concluding maybe there’s nothing outside the box after all. Human beings throughout history without revelation have concluded if there is something outside of the box, it is either not knowable, or if it is some kind of God not definable or personal, more of a force than a being we can related to on a personal level. I love the box metaphor which I learned a long time ago from the great Dutch Art Historian Hans Rookmaaker. The box of which I speak is closed and hermetically sealed because of sin, there is no way out, we are stuck.

If you want to really appreciate the value of God’s revelation to his creatures, become familiar with the history of philosophy and religion. In my Christian journey I’ve gotten to the point in my appreciation where I thank God almost every morning when I pray that he has revealed himself in three ways: creation, Scripture, and Christ. Creation drives us to Scripture which reveals God’s plans and actions in history to redeem his creation in the person and work of Christ. And as C.S. Lewis so perfectly put it:

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

Yet as the author of Ecclesiastes knows, comprehending, fully understanding, what goes on “under the sun” is not so simple, and in fact ultimately impossible. Yet we know enough per the Teacher just from creation (“under the sun”) that God is there and should be feared and obeyed. We also learn from Paul in Romans 1 that all human beings know enough to be “without excuse.” Then God breaks into the human heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, opening our eyes to the true ultimate meaning of existence: a redeemed relationship with our Creator through the person and work of Christ. Only a work by God outside of creation, what we often call super-natural, is the only way the box doesn’t remain our metaphysical prison.

The beauty of Christianity (the facets of stunning beauty of the diamond of salvation are limitless, literally) is that while we can know, have true knowledge because of God’s three-fold revelation, we as Paul says, “see through a glass darkly.” That is the King James Version of I Corinthians 13:12. Other translations use the word mirror and only seeing in it a dim reflection. In the first century there were no mirrors as we have them today. The Greek phrase Paul uses is esoptrou en ainigmati (ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι). The first word is glass or mirror, and in the ancient world were made of polished metal so it was difficult to get an accurate reflection. The second word means riddle or enigma. In the words of the Teacher, we really can’t comprehend what we’re seeing.

Yet what we can comprehend because true knowledge is revealed to us, we know in absolute humility and use in the love and service of others. We often hold our knowing far too firmly. Some even have a hard time admitting they could possibly be wrong . . . . about anything! As I’ve been a while along this journey with Jesus I know more then ever how little I really know, and I am far better able to know what I don’t know than what I do. In fact, Paul says it is better to be known by God than to know him, and only the latter leads to the former, even as we love because he first loved us.

Why I Am Not a Presuppositionalist, Evidentialist, or Classical Apologist

Why I Am Not a Presuppositionalist, Evidentialist, or Classical Apologist

I am not a presuppositionalist. I don’t believe there is only one correct apologetics methodology as the presuppositionalists claim: I’m in the whatever works camp. For those not familiar with such methodologies, these are ways of going about defending the truth claims of Christianity. I’ve long been frustrated with the one-way-to-do-apologetics insistence when I learned about these methodologies at seminary in 1986. I had gotten the book Classical Apologetics by Sproul, Gerstner, and Lindsley where I first learned of the different apologetics camps. The subtitle drew me in: A Rational Defense of the Christian Faith and a Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics. These guys believed that the classical approach was the right approach to apologetics, and that frustrated me too.

Being introduced to presuppositionalism at seminary, I had a difficult time understanding it as espoused by its most famous practitioner, Cornelius Van Til. What especially frustrated me, though, was the presuppositionalist contention that their methodology is the only correct biblical apologetics method. The classical apologists, and the evidentialists as well, don’t claim theirs is the only biblical approach like the presuppositionalists, only that it’s the best or right approach. After thinking about this for 35 plus years, I am convinced there is no one biblical or correct apologetics methodology. Let me try to explain why for those who are interested in this kind of stuff.

I’ve been listening to a series on Thomas Aquinas from the Ezra Institute, and listened to an episode dedicated to his apologetics. The Ezra guys are dedicated presuppositionalists and believe it is the only valid biblical way to defend the faith. Our pastor agrees, and last year did a sermon on Acts 17 from this perspective, and it was one of the most frustrating sermons I’ve ever experienced, and that’s saying something given I’ve sat through 43(!) years of sermons. Over all these years of thinking about this, I’ve finally been able to nail down my primary frustration with presuppositionalists. I agree with most of their theology, but it’s the non sequiturs that drive me nuts.

It seems this logical fallacy is common among we sinful human beings, and I include myself in that. It simply means the conclusion doesn’t follow from the premise. For example, I don’t like a movie, therefore someone concludes I don’t like all movies. The conclusion doesn’t follow from the premise; I just don’t like that specific movie. The more you become aware of this sinful human tendency, the more common it becomes, like shopping for cars and the car you like seems to be everywhere. Presuppositionalists commit this logical fallacy when they declare anyone who believes in another methodology believes two things:

1. Epistemological neutrality, and 2. Autonomous reason

Number one, If I utilize or believe in a different methodology, they assert that I believe my knowing is not affected by sin and the fall. No Christian believes this, least of all Christian apologists, but presuppositionalists make this accusation all the time. Here is the non sequitur: Just because I don’t agree with their apologetics methodology, doesn’t mean I believe in epistemological neutrality. The same goes for number two. If I disagree with their methodology, they assert I believe reason isn’t tainted by sin, and able by its own unaided reasoning to come to ultimate truth. This is an absurd accusation because nobody believes it! Just because I see value in the Kalam cosmological argument, for example, doesn’t mean I think human reason is pure and untainted by sin. But presuppositionalists claim that I do.

The issue is epistemological, or how we come to know what we know. The main text used for this is Romans 1:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

The presuppositionalists focus on verse 18, that sinful human beings suppress the truth, meaning their ontological status as sinners makes them incapable and unwilling to accept truth. All Christians believe this to one degree or another contra the presuppositionalists. No Christian apologist whatever their methodology, or like me if they don’t have one, believes in a pure reason untainted by sin that has the ability of itself to know the saving truth of Christianity. We all agree the gospel is revealed truth, and God must supernaturally open people’s minds or they will not accept it.

What is strange to me about the presuppositionalist position is that in the very next verse Paul says sinners can know about God because God has made knowledge of who he is plain to them in creation. In fact, he says, His supernatural divine being is in some way obvious! People know it whether they acknowledge it or not. These are deep philosophical waters, too deep to wade into in a blog post, but the main reason I don’t fully buy the presuppositionalist position as I understand it, is because human beings don’t work that way. The Ezra guys and others I’ve heard and read over the years make the assertion specifically about Thomas’s Five Ways, i.e., proofs for the existence of God, that these arguments don’t lead to the God of the Bible, but to some vague Aristotelian god. So? Nobody stops there and says, there, we prove God’s existence, have a great life! No, they lead them to the Scriptures to meet the true and living God, the Creator of the universe, the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

There is no one “biblical” apologetics method because God uses everything to bring sinners to himself. I’ve listened to hundreds of testimonies over the last several years, and few people presuppose their way to Him. I argue from assumptions all the time when I’m talking to people, but that doesn’t mean I can only use assumptions. I believe the presuppositionalist arguments are powerful, but so is everything else God uses to reveal himself to sinners. The number of people who have come to Christ because of non-presuppositionalist apologists like Willian Lane Craig, R.C. Sproul, and C. S. Lewis is all I need to know that there is no one “biblical” apologetics methodology.

One of the podcasts I consistently listen to is the Side B Stories podcast, which is interviews of ex-atheists, agnostics, or skeptics. There are over 60 now, and I’ve listened to every one of them, and these people come to Christ in every way imaginable. The latest is this young man, Nico Tarquinio, who was profoundly affected by Bill Craig’s cosmological argument, among other traditional apologetics arguments. I don’t care what the argument or reasoning is, if it leads someone to Christ, that’s biblical enough for me!


Audio Book of Uninvented Coming Soon! Introduction

Audio Book of Uninvented Coming Soon! Introduction

Some time back a family member suggested that I should make Uninvented available in audio format, and I kind of blew it off at the time. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that might encourage more people to “read” the book. Given the age in which we, I realized many people who would likely never read the book might like to listen to it. So, I decided to give it a go.

Initially I was going to have my brother Nick who is a famous rock star and voiceover artist do it, and when he suggested I might want to do it given they are my words, after all, and it would be good to do it in my voice, I thought no way. I didn’t need to add something else to my to-do list, and I’d have to learn how to record and all that entails. But the more we talked about it the more it made sense to have it in my own voice. Now that I am a blog post reading professional (don’t laugh), I thought not only could I probably pull it off, but I would also actually enjoy doing it. Having written, and re-written it a zillion times, and read it many others, I could make it sound like I intend it to be read.

What I’ve decided is that I will record one chapter at a time and post them here for download, and then keep each chapter once it’s done on a separate Audio Book page I’m creating. Then when it’s completed, I’ll publish the audio book on Audible so readers will have three options, paperback, Kindle/electronic, and audio. Enjoy!


North Korean Defector Yeonmi Park Shares Her Experience of Wokeness at Columbia University

North Korean Defector Yeonmi Park Shares Her Experience of Wokeness at Columbia University

I first learned of Yeonmi Park from Steve Bannon’s War Room. Her horrific story of growing up in North Korea and her harrowing escape to the West was hard to fathom, so I read her book, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, and it’s still hard to fathom. If anyone of us is tempted to complain about anything, I suggest reading her book. It shows us how trivial most issues we complain about, get frustrated and worry about, grow anxious about, really are.

She has a new book out called While Time Remains: A North Korean Defector’s Search for Freedom in America, and she tells Bannon on this War Room interview of experiencing wokeness at Columbia University, supposedly one of the most prestigious universities in America, one of the vaunted Ivy League Schools. As much as her story of escaping a North Korea hell hole needs to be read to be believed, the story of her experience at Columbia needs to be heard to be believed. Cultural Marxism in the guise of wokeness has completely captured American universities and the irrationality is something to behold. Her comparison of the woke leftist indoctrination centers of American universities to North Korea is spot on. We can thank God they don’t have the totalitarian power of the Kim’s of North Korea, yet.



Thoughts on the Global Disinformation Index PSYOP

Thoughts on the Global Disinformation Index PSYOP

It’s a woke world, so nobody who pays attention is surprised there is such a thing as an official “Global Disinformation Index.” Truth be told, I thought it was comical. If we’ve learned anything in the last several years it’s how inept and incompetent the globalist Uniparty elite cabal really is. Not only that, but they are liars who push a “narrative” trying to accomplish their globalist goals of rule by an elite class of overlords who believe in technocracy, or rule by scientific “experts.” Of course, they claim to believe they are doing this for good and noble ends. They also believe the people who are the object of those ends are either too ignorant or stupid to know any better, so they in some way must be made to comply.

Thus some globalist geniuses learned from the Silicon Valley tech giants that only some speech is worthy of being free, and other speech has to be labeled as “disinformation,” whatever that might be. Well, we can be thankful the good folks at the GDI have told us exactly what it is:

GDI defines disinformation as “adversarial narratives, which are intentionally misleading; financially or ideologically motivated; and/or, aimed at fostering long-term social, political or economic conflict; and which create a risk of harm by undermining trust in science or targeting at-risk individuals or institutions.”

Ah, “intentionally misleading.” Of course, these people know beyond a shadow of a doubt what other people’s motives are. Got it. And of course, we couldn’t have anyone “undermining trust in science.” We know now, since the enlightened elites have informed us, that “science” is our savior and must not be blasphemed. The “adversarial narratives” are those which in any way challenge or reject the accepted narrative of the globalist technocratic elite. How convenient! There is an awful lot of fly food coming from our GDI masters made to smell like roses.

One thing in all this pabulum they do get right is that we are in an information war in which the PSYOP is everything. What exactly is that?

Psychological operations (PSYOP) are operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.

The most successful PSYOP in the history of the world by far was the Covid scam. Whatever Covid was or is, it was not the bubonic plague—the reaction was not commensurate with the actual threat to public health. The reaction was, however, a test run by the globalist elite cabal for what they’ve called the Great Reset, in the very words of Klaus Schwab. No thanks, Klaus! I like the world of sovereign nation states just fine.

These globalist tyrants will be no more successful at stifling free speech and ideas they disagree with, than they were with “flattening the curve.” It will work as well as masks do in keeping people from getting ill from a cold virus, which is not at all, and be as effectives as a vaccine against a cold virus, which is completely ineffective, when not harmful. All told, the GDI tyrants will fail miserably, they just don’t know it yet. The question is why they will fail. It’s simple: The Gutenberg Press of the 21st century, the Internet, our primary weapon in this information war.

Prior to the Internet it was much easier for the elite establishment to wage information warfare. When I was growing up information sources were limited to a handful of TV stations, AM and FM Radio, most of which was controlled by the same corporations as television, and newspapers that were mostly part of the same liberal echo chamber. When I discovered I was a conservative in the early ‘80s, it was terribly frustrating. I found the then reliable conservative publications of National Review and the Wall Street Journal Editorial Pages, but they got bad cases of TDS and are now shills for what I call Con Inc. Then Rush Limbaugh came on the scene on August 1, 1988, and it was positively shocking to hear conservative ideas on the radio. Then Al Gore invented the Internet and everything changed; climate Change Al is a very talented guy. While he was working on the Internet, Fox News was founded in 1996, and left-wing CNN finally had a conservative competitor. But cable is not the Internet, and we’ve seen how Fox has been coopted by Con Inc. and spouts the approved narrative whatever that happens to be, save Tucker who brings in far too much revenue to silence.

One of the best things we ever did was to de-couple from the Matrix by completely stopping any TV watching in our house, and that for me includes no sports. When professional sports leagues started going woke, and accepted all the Covid nonsense, I was done. What a blessing it is to not have to endure television commercials. Whatever advertising we have to endure on the Internet, can easily be skipped or ignored. We can also stream whatever we want to watch and so determine the content. Anyone who still watches cable or television news doesn’t realize how they are being programmed to see things according to “the narrative,” whatever that might be. I’ve learned that whatever “the narrative” is, the very consensus among the media and political elites is likely the exact opposite of the truth. It’s cynical, but necessary.

What’s also necessary is to search out information sources that question “the narrative.” Google, which owns Youtube, completely cooks the books in terms of search results to make sure people see only what they want them to see. It doesn’t mean information contrary to “the narrative” isn’t there, only that it’s really hard to find. The thing is, truth can never be fully, ultimately suppressed, because truth is ultimately incarnational, the very Son of God who is truth itself. Lies are unsustainable and can’t win in the long term. They can cause immense suffering and hardship, but they are ultimately futile. Just as we’re responsible for our own health, we’re responsible for finding truth whatever and wherever it might be, as best as we can discern it.

The reference to the Gutenberg Press and the analogy to the Internet is profound. The elite of the 15th and 16th centuries were the Roman Catholic Church and the nobility. What they wanted people to know, is what they were allowed to know. Then Johannes Gutenberg went and ruined everything with his invention of the first every movable type press in the mid-15th century. Less than a century later printing technology had so improved in quality and pricing that when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the church door at Wittenberg in what he thought was a little internecine Catholic squabble, it took the European world by storm. The 21st century Gutenberg Press is doing the same thing only this time worldwide, and the globalist elites will no more be able to contain it than the Catholic Church and nobles contained the Reformation.