The Meaning of Life – Nietzsche and Salomon

“Futile! Futile!” laments the Teacher,
“Absolutely futile! Everything is futile!”

But isn’t that way too pessimistic? Isn’t that the approach to life that Nietzsche, in particular, warned us against? The attitude of the “spirit of gravity” needs to be countered. Life is not futile. Zarathustra can call out:

Behold what fullness there is about us! And out of such overflow,
it is beautiful to look out upon distant seas.

Everything (kol in Hebrew) means more than just the sum of all objects in the world. It is precisely the “fullness”, the “whole” in which everything rests or moves. The meaning of this whole is just that it is “hevel”, that is: futility, vanity, idol, and idolatry combined. “Hevel” is also the name of the first victim of murder in the Bible: Abel. Precisely the meaninglessness of Abel’s death is a demonstration of futility. Futility is tragic and inescapable for those who live in and by the Whole. That is those who are subject to the experience of the continuous loss of meaning. The sun rises and goes down – nothing really has changed and yet there is change. One day follows the other, and yet it is merely another day, just like the previous one. That superb contradiction is not the exception because there is no exception: everything is drowned in the motion of the rule.

Yet, Nietzsche argues against that. What the Preacher calls the Whole of futility, he calls it the Fullness, Overflow and ascribes beauty to it. Nietzsche in this section has one central idea, that of the contradiction between two approaches to life: The creative life versus belief in God: “God is a conjecture.” The idea of a god already expresses creativity. But it is a creativity that is bridled by the wrong aspirations: the aspiration for truth that diminishes life. The human inclination to bow down to a god is the result of a diminished vitality.

God is a conjecture; but I desire that your conjectures should not reach beyond your creative will. Could you create a god? Then do not speak to me of any gods.

Calling the Whole beautiful, and demanding the creativity that conjectures or even creates a God, will not make much of a difference. How will we escape from the experience of Futility if we have nothing but the Whole? Of course, for Nietzsche, there cannot “be” a god that itself escapes the Whole. There cannot be a source of meaning outside this whole, even if our experience seems to affirm that the Whole is in itself meaningless.  In this section he provides even a positive demonstration of Gods non-existence:

But let me reveal my heart to you entirely, my friends: if there were gods, how could I endure not to be a god! Hence there are no gods. Though I drew this conclusion, now it draws me.

The conclusion becomes a force. What does it do? Apart from forcing me to create meaning, to create my world, to live in the subjective perspectives that arise out of my sense, my tendencies, my aspirations:

And what you have called world, that shall be created only by you: your reason, your image, your will, your love shall thus be realized. And verily, for your own bliss, you lovers of knowledge.

Can it be, that life is fulfilled when I create poetically my “own world”? The Preacher’s question can come back to haunst us: what is the advantage here? What is the “jitroon”, the added worth, the profit of creating meaning – the Preacher has considered pleasure, work, wine, art – that man can give to himself?

Yet when I reflected on everything I had accomplished and on all the effort that I had expended to accomplish it, I concluded: “All these achievements and possessions are ultimately profitless – like chasing the wind!
There is nothing gained from them on earth.”

For Nietzsche, every moment in life is a creative opportunity. The Preacher reflects on the results of all of this creativity and concludes: every moment in life is empty as long as it remains within the Whole. It’s meaning is destroyed by the circularity of life, the movement, the vanishing. There is no “eternal recurrence” by which this moment in time receives weight. It is because only the Whole appears as eternal destruction, that no moment ever has any weight unless it is anchored in something that is not destroyed by the Whole.

Wisdom according to the Preacher is living with the awareness of the Source of the Whole, and finding your spot within it under the protection of the One Being that escapes futility.

3:14 I also know that whatever God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it, and nothing is taken away from it. God has made it this way so that men will fear him.




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The duties of a pastor

The church is called “the flock of God” (1 Peter 5:2), “God’s heritage” (1 Peter 5:3), and “the church of God” (Acts 20:28). Jesus is “the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23) and “the chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4). The church rightly belongs to Christ, and He is the authority over it (Matthew 16:18). This is just as true of the local church as of the universal Body of Christ.

God’s blueprint for building His church includes using men in the office of pastor. The pastor is first an elder, and, along with the other elders, the pastor is responsible to do the following:

1) Oversee the church (1 Timothy 3:1). The primary meaning of the word bishop is “overseer.” The general oversight of the ministry and operation of the church is the responsibility of the pastor and the other elders. This would include the handling of finances within the church (Acts 11:30).

2) Rule over the church (1 Timothy 5:17). The word translated “rule” literally means “to stand before.” The idea is to lead or to attend to, with an emphasis on being a diligent caretaker. This would include the responsibility to exercise church discipline and reprove those who err from the faith (Matthew 18:15–17; 1 Corinthians 5:11–13).

3) Feed the church (1 Peter 5:3). Literally, the word pastor means “shepherd.” The pastor has a duty to “feed the flock” with God’s Word and to lead them in the proper way.

4) Guard the doctrine of the church (Titus 1:9). The teaching of the apostles was to be committed to “faithful men” who would teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). Preserving the integrity of the gospel is one of the pastor’s highest callings.

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Speaking in Tongues

They are not following the rules for the use of the gift as set forth in I Cor. 14-22-40.

  1. They are not seeking to edify the church but are selfishly seeking to edify themselves. I Cor. 13:5 love seeks not its own.
    • Many speak at once, not one at a time,
    • Some places they have no interpretation,
    • Women are not to speak in a public meeting (14:34,35) and yet most in present day movement are women.
    • In most of their meetings there is great confusion, 14:33,40.
    • Seldom, if ever, are Jews present.
  2. Their teaching on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is false teaching. All believers are baptized by the Spirit at the moment of salvation, I Cor. 12:13; Rom. 6:1-6.
  3. Their main emphasis is to be filled with the Spirit and love one another. However, Paul in I Cor. 13 teaches that one who is filled with the Spirit and has God’s love:
    • “Does not envy” – there is much envy in the tongues movement.
    • “Vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up” – many of the tongues people boast of their experiences, not of Christ; they look down on those who have not had this experience.
    • “Doth not behave itself unseemly” – many put on a big show. (Televangelists)
    • “Seeketh not her own” – the whole movement is selfishly seeking a personal experience.
    • “Is not easily provoked” – If you show these people what the Bible teaches about the gift, they reject the Word, hold to their experience, and become angry with you.
  4. In Acts 2, 10, 19, the display of the gift of tongues was a sign for Jews present (see Is. 28:11-17).
  5. In Acts, those who were filled (controlled by) with the Holy Spirit were faithful witnesses for Jesus Christ.
  6. They did not tell of their emotional experience they only spoke of the Living Christ who had saved them. I know of no person in the tongues movement who is a consistent witness and soul winner. (There may be some, I have not met any).
  7. The key passage on the Spirit filled life in the epistles is Eph. 4:20 – 6:20. Paul does not list tongues as a result of being filled with the Spirit.
  8. No where in the epistles are we commanded to speak in tongues. I Cor. 12-14 was not written to encourage tongues but it was written to correct the abuse and misuse of the gift of tongues. Speaking in tongues at Corinth was not a sign of spirituality but of carnality (see I Cor. 3:1-3). It caused division, discord, pride, strife and self-seeking. It is causing the same problems today.
  9. The tongues movement is uniting people (many are unbelievers & even false teachers) on the basis of love and emotional experiences. II John 7-11 forbids us to unite with anyone who does not hold to the clear teachings of the Bible. See also Gal. 1:6-10; Matt. 7:13-23.True love will not compromise truth for the sake of unity but will be in line with I Cor. 13:4-7, II John 1:9-11, and Jude 1:3.
  10. The present-day tongues movement is a side-track of Satan to keep the saints from being soul winners. God is not the author of confusion or division but this movement is causing confusion and division among God’s people all over the world.

    Tongues is the primary tool Satan is using to accelerate the ecumenical movement and bring in the one-world church (Babylon Rev. 17). This movement is not resulting in the unity of true believers, the exaltation of Christ and truth, and the evangelizing of the World as we have in the book of Acts; but it is resulting in the unity of believers with unbelievers and false teachers, the exaltation of men and experience, and the sidetracking of the saints from soul winning to seeking after an experience.

    Many of these people are sincere dedicated believers. However, we must remember that Satan comes as an angel of light, as a minister of Christ, and as a minister of righteousness (II Cor. 11:13-15), and that it is possible for a dedicated believer to be deceived by the devil; remember Peter in Matt. 16:13-23.

    Even if you do not agree with my position that tongues have ceased, if you are a honest person you would have to agree that what is written here is true and that the present-day tongues movement is doing great harm to the cause of Jesus Christ. This movement must be exposed and avoided at all cost.

    (Ron Hood)

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An unscientific question about the origin of the universe

The argument goes as follows, as I understand it. Because at the subatomic level, elementary particles can appear and disappear, it is reasonable to assume that our entire universe, since it had to be the size of such an elementary particle once, popped into existence literally from nothing. There is nothing in the laws of physics to prevent that from happening.
So modern cosmology, in this case its most celebrated exponent, Stephen Hawking, has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the universe came into being literally from nothing. No God. No creator. The universe just created itself. And that was called “a better explanation of the universe” as provided by modern science.
To my unscientific mind, not educated in modern cosmology, it does raise a few questions. E.g. this one. Hoe can you infer from an event that happens within the cosmos that the origin of the universe itself happened in the same way? Was the infinitesimally small universe like a subatomic particle or was it a subatomic particle? If it was just “like” such a particle in a particular aspect, say size, the analogy would wither. But how the universe itself could have ever been the same as an event that occurs within it, is something beyond me. What we would call “coming into existence out of nothing” would not mean the same, would it? The nothingness within the universe could better be called space, or maybe described as a higher dimension. Both are within the universe as we know it.mbut the nothingness out of which the universe as a whole originated would have to be described as an absolute nothing, non-existent in an absolute sense, without any power of causation of any kind, not even allowing for a passive reception of some force from the outside because it simply would have no outside nor inside to begin with. The original universe however is said to contain all the energy present in the world, including dark matter and dark energy yet to be identified.
The mtaphysical question that cosmological speculation tries to circumvent obviously returns here. What ’caused’ this to happen?
Stephen Hawking made an other compelling argument that runs like this. Imagine a man shoveling sand from the ground and throwing it unto a heap. He is trying to erect a mountain. As high as his mountain is, just as deep is the hole in the ground from where he took the sand. Now we can apply that to the universe. Something positive came into existence: energy and space. The sum of this positive energy and the negative energy where it came from is null. So there you have it: nothing came into existence when something came into existence. They cancel each other out and then we have this almost infinite universe with all its energy and matter etc. It is indeed, as Hawking called it, a cheap universe. It actually comes for free.
My questions do not imply that I am trying to refute modern cosmology. But I cannot help but thinking that the question is simply referred to a different moment in our explanations. What is the origin of the nothingness plus positiveness that is the origin of the universe? Who did the shoveling of the sand, to speak with the imagery Hawking used.
Any answers, yet?

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Glad Tidings about Jesus, the Son of God

First part of a series on the Gospel of Mark. In this episode I will discuss Mark 1:1-3:

1 Beginning of the glad tidings of Jesus Christ, Son of God; 2 as it is written in [Isaiah] the prophet, Behold, *I* send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way. 3 Voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of [the] Lord, make his paths straight. (Darby Translation)

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The Spirit’s Fruit: Peace

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Deedat on the Bible

A misunderstanding about the word ‘elohiem’ in Hebrew. An older video.

Should I continue making such video’s?

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