So what does the future hold for humanity? Now, some people might want an definitive answer to this question. Others do not want an answer as they enjoy the thrill and excitement of not knowing what the future holds. And then there are others who simply do not care.
Regardless of where you stand, one thing is absolutely certain – no one can confidently describe what the future holds for humanity.
Solomon’s quest for an answer
I cannot say that Ecclesiastes is my favourite book in the Bible. It is a difficult book to understand, and many of its messages are difficult for society to accept.
However, in Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, Solomon has documented his quest to find out what the future holds for humanity.
Now, if there was one person that I would listen to and be keen to learn from, then it would be the great king Solomon. God had granted him unfathomable wisdom. In 1 Kings, chapter 4, verse 31, it says that Solomon was ‘wiser than anyone else…’.
Despite his great wisdom and intelligence, Solomon could not work out in Ecclesiastes, chapter 3 what the future holds for humanity. In Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verse 11, he says that God has set ‘eternity in the human heart’ but no one can fathom what he has done from beginning to end.
So what did the great king Solomon decide to do?
Well, Solomon decided that if he didn’t know what was going to happen to him, then he should simply ‘eat, drink, and be merry’ (Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verses 12 and 13).
Even though this sounds like a positive resolution, it wasn’t something that Solomon was entirely content with.
He knew that his life will be judged and that this wickedness will be punished (Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verse 17). Accordingly, he wasn’t free to do whatever he wanted. Ultimately, his deeds were subject to judgment. He also realised that whatever he does in life will eventually lead to the same outcome as animals – death.
Despite a seemingly positive resolution (‘eat, drink and be merry’), we can hear the desperation and dissatisfaction in Solomon’s voice when he asks at the end of chapter 3, in verse 22: for who can bring humanity to see what will happen to them?
Finding an answer to the question
What I find amazing is that a Christian is able to answer Solomon’s question in Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verse 22 because Jesus has given all Christians the answer.
In 1 Corinthians, chapter 15, verses 20 to 32 we are shown the fate of humanity and we are given wisdom that the wise Solomon only wish he knew.
1 Corinthians, chapter 15 shows us that at the end of time, Jesus will reign. His enemies will be destroyed and everything will be put under his feet.
1 Corinthians, chapter 15 also shows us the final bit of ‘good news’ that derives from Jesus’ saving work. After dying on the cross for our sins, we learn that Jesus is resurrected, demonstrating to all those who believe in him that death has been defeated. The passage says that we too will be resurrected and sit before the throne of Jesus singing holy, holy. This is what will happen to humanity.
Ultimately, the Apostle Paul and all Christians know what the future holds. Paul was reassured and strengthened by this future as he lived his life serving Jesus. He acknowledged that if we don’t have this future, that if Jesus did not die and rise again, then truly there would be nothing better than to ‘eat, drink and be merry’ for ‘tomorrow we die’ (1 Corinthians, chapter 15, verse 32). However, as the Ecclesiastes, chapter 3 has shown, this resolution just does not suffice.
Jia Pan Xiao attends GracePoint Chinese Presbyterian Church and is an employment lawyer working in Sydney. In his spare time, Jia Pan enjoys watching American sports, drinking coffee and devouring chocolate mud-cake.
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