“Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless.”
Nothing quite gets you going in the morning like the Book of Ecclesiastes (3:19).
So as I strolled the downtown streets of Richmond at lunch break yesterday, I found it quite poetic to cross paths with the landmark for Edgar Allen Poe pictured herein.
Edgar Poe was born and orphaned in Boston in 1809, but taken in by the Allan family of Richmond.
He later attended the University of Virginia for one semester, but dropped out for financial reasons.
Poe’s publication career as a literary critic and writer led him to work in Richmond, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City.
His works were typically prose and poetry with themes of macabre and mystery.
Poe mysteriously died in Baltimore at the age of 40.
(For an engaging read on Poe’s life and his controversial death, I recommend Matthew Pearl’s novel The Poe Shadow)
It is fair to assume Poe was familiar with Solomon’s sermon in Ecclesiastes.
Poe was baptized in the Episcopal Church in 1812 and he studied in a Christian manor school near London.
Poe said he wrote to appeal to a mass market, but his famous works preserve the pain and loss in his own life (e.g. his biological father abandoned his family, his biological mother died young, Poe’s wife died in her 20′s).
For me, the chapters in Ecclesiastes fall into the category of… If you’re building a church, why on earth would you include this book in the Bible?
It is absolutely depressing.
On the other hand, it is works like this that make me realize the Bible is true because there is ample reason to leave it out, and yet there it is.
Is Solomon right?
Is everything meaningless?
This from a king who had it all.
In terms of worldly pursuits, the answer is yes.
But there’s a key qualification from Solomon and that is….
Everything apart from God is meaningless.
Yes, enjoy life but know and revere God.
“So I commend the enjoyment of life , because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.”
What are your thoughts on the message in Ecclesiastes? How is it applied in your life?
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