Our most excellent adventure now comes to the Teacher’s second conclusion: There is only one thing in this life that is certain.
That certainty is simply this: It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do in life, you are going to die and be forgotten.
This warm and cozy reality forms the basis of Solomon’s wisdom, at least in the wisdom of his teaching. He actually calls it “the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all” in 9:3. I should remind everyone at this point that in Solomon’s day there was no concept of eternal life as Christianity understands the term; you only lived on through your children. Thus, with a fate of death in common, why be surprised that people are wicked, greedy and unrighteous? Why not eat, drink and try to have as much fun as you can? In the context in which Solomon says these kinds of things, this is logical, isn’t it? I think it is in his context, but it isn’t in our context as followers of Jesus Christ, yet that is exactly the attitude of most of us today.
Verses 4-6 discuss the fact that it is better to be alive than to be dead, but he can offer no hope of anything after that. Verses 7-10 tell us to enjoy our limited time here on earth as much as we can, and he is giving this advice to the godly ones, not the wicked, for there will be nothing when you’re gone. Verse 11 tells us that success and greatness aren’t just for the wise and talented, but rather that some will be lucky and some will not: Oh well…
Verse 12 tells us that some of us will be trapped by evil events that are out of our control: Oh well…
Thus begins the second section of the book, and as we continue in our adventure, the Teacher will develop this theme further. In the first section of the book, he taught us that we don’t know our present, in the rest of the book; he develops the conclusion that we also don’t know our future. Thus are the consequences of Man’s rebellion against God. I can say one thing in the midst of this cheerful narrative:
Boy am I glad that I didn’t come along until after Jesus Christ changed everything!