The Biblical philosopher, Qoheleth said "Vanity of vanities! . . . All is vanity. What does a man gain by the toil at which he toils under the sun? . . . I have seen everything that is done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind." (Ecclesiastes 1:12).
I once questioned these thoughts. Now, I'm sympathetic to them. I'm positive that there must be a reason why things are the way they are. I'm sure there is a reason, but how discover it? One doesn't live long enough to discover it. All of us together, everyone contributing their best, can build up over generations a partial answer to why things are the way they are. None of us can do it alone.
Long ago, I got interested in events that baffle human understanding, these fascinating events that challenge the human mind. Now, I see threads of vanity even in resolving mysteries, the vain way people impose their own bias even when pursuing truth. This bothers me. It saddens me, after years of reading, to realize that reports of flying saucers, sasquash, lockness monster, and the Bermuda Triangle are all distorted by the vanity of some authors who try explaining these things. Whatever truth was there to begin with is overlaid with every kind of falsehood, in some cases, deliberate lies, so that, what might have been discovered, if honesty prevailed, is lost because of human vanity.
Even philosophy, at philosophy's simplest starting point: "what is reality?" is disappointing. Is reality something that exists outside of me, unaffected by what I think? Or is reality purely subjective, existing only in my mind? If I recognize something, is my recognition what makes it real? If I don't recognize it, does it not exist? If a tree falls and nobody is present to hear the noise, does the tree fall soundlessly? This started with Descartes: "I think, therefore I am!" Did Descartes really believe this is the reason why he exists? Might his statement really mean, "I know I exist because I realize I can think." What came first: his existence or his thinking?
Traditional science is also tainted. Did everything we see merely evolve without any planning, direction, any point for existing? Describing the ultimate origin, the "Big Bang," as a singularity, which, by definition, is a situation both unknown and unknowable. Is this science? Why didn't scientists confess to begin with that they didn't know? Why drag us back 13.7 billion years to finally admit that they don't know.
Qoheleth Is right! Everything is tainted by human vanity. If a singularity cannot be known, then how valid are the "natural" laws these scientists postulate? Does evolution proceed exactly as these laws propose? Must creation start at the ultimate, unknowable, theoretical beginning and proceed slowly, step by step, until things are as they are now? Why is there no theory proposing that, perhaps, creation did not start with a Big Bang but started with a fully developed universe governed by laws that can be extrapolated back to a plausible condition before creation, which condition, in fact, never existed.
What about me? Did I evolve I, the person whose mind is composing what you are reading? If I, the person writing these lines did not come into existence until after my body was born, as so many scientists claim, then I did not even evolve from my mother. I, the person writing these lines, am the product of a spontaneous creation. One moment I did not exist. A split-second later, here I am, fully alive, fully human, and ready to exist within my own body, independent of my mother. There was no slow-moving evolutionary process in it. My mother, in fact, had nothing to do with the origin of the person writing these lines. It was only after separation from my mother that the person whom I am came into existence.
What singularity brought me into existence? Was it our government, who now face-to-face with me, has no choice but to admit that I exist? Was it God who created me, but not at the logical beginning when my body first formed at conception? Oh no! I came into existence after my body was fully formed and able to exist on its own. This argument that I did not come into existence until after my body was born is used today to justify abortion. What a contradiction to all of our previous thought. What an obvious rationalization to avoid believing what was always believable to our ancestors.
Are there really angels? non-physical beings that, in an instant, were created, fully mature, fully alive, fully intelligent, fully aware that a split second ago they did not exist? How different they are than we are. None of us remember our origin. The best we can do is recall when we were three or four years old, when we were slowly growing into maturity and slowly learning about the world surrounding us. We do not experience that we were created because we cannot remember that far back.
How different angels are than we. There is no progressive growth with angels because they are not physical beings. They don't exist as part of the physical world, made of matter, having weight, occupying space, existing in the four known dimensions of length, breath, depth, and time. If they were created before the physical universe, then length, breath, depth, and time have no hold on them. They understand these concepts, but they are not locked into them as we are. Especially time: they would exist outside of our experience of time.
Consider again the angels. Suddenly they exist, fully mature, fully intelligent, knowing that an instant ago they did not exist. How would you feel if you came into existence this way? Would you wonder "why am I here?" Why am I the way I am when I had no choice in it? Why am I different from others? Why don't I have what others have? Why don't I have everything everyone else has? What confusion for us if we started out that way. It's a good thing we can't remember our ultimate origin. It's a good thing we slowly become aware of who and what we are, so slowly that we just naturally accept what we are and naturally feel at home with those who surround us. And yet we face the same questions the angels might ask. I think this is why human science and human thinking is so full of human vanity. That vanity is our attempt to influence the reason why we exist, our attempt to dictate the purpose for our existence.
It's not only in science, our bias to believe what we want to believe is also and especially noticeable in political thought and what is presented today as politically correct thinking. We are worse than ignorant. We have eyes, but refuse to see, ears, but refuse to hear. We are truly blind.
I've already argued that our rationalization justifying abortion is illogical. It's worse than illogical. For reasons of imposing our own opinions, we have destroyed the theory of evolution, and we gave ourselves an even more difficult question of how did you and I come into existence. We really are, if those who defend abortion are correct, the products of spontaneous creation. In an instant, we came into existence with absolutely no change in our physical bodies. Therefore, we did not evolve. A more difficult question is "who or what created us?" Who breathed the person writing these words into the non-human body born of my mother?
It doesn't end there. The gay community would have us believe that they are neither male nor female. Their objectives go far beyond requesting politeness and respect from others. They insist that the human race is different than it really is. I suppose they might acknowledge that God created the human race male and female, but, somehow, the human race didn't develop that way. Somehow there is a third division, and this third division deserves to be recognized as a third category, neither male nor female. If they believe in a creator, how is it possible that the creator could miscalculate?
Not satisfied with preferred opinions, like the above, certain influential authorities theorize about religion. All religions are good, they say, equally true, equally worthy of acceptance. However, if most religions were generated by human thought, and God revealed one, wouldn't that revealed religion be better? If there were more than one religion claiming to be revealed by God, wouldn't an unbiased search for the one that was really revealed be in the best interests of humankind? If the rival revealed religions contain contradictory elements, isn't it obvious that they can't all be true? The honest search for the true religion ought to be the noblest quest of humans.
We all know that very few people make that search. What if we made that search? What if we found a true "re-ligature" to God? That's what religion means "rebinding." What if we fully understood and believed God's revelation of a religion that is able to answer all the questions we might have asked were we created like the angels were. Without God's revelation, we would never have known why we were created and what was expected of us, nor would the angels. Therefore, all religions are not equally good. Valid is the right word. The only religion that is really good (and valid) is the religion endorsed by God. That valid religion has been with the human race all along, but most humans won't accept it. Vanity of vanities, all things are vain when based on human vanity.
Maurice A. Williams
Author of "Apocalypse: Four Horsemen Three Woes." http://www.geocities.ws/mauricewms2003.
Williams is a semi-retired Director of R&D and still works as a consultant. He is married, lives at home, and has four children and six grandchildren.
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