“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes1:2 NASB).
For years the humanists have assured us that all we need to improve life upon the earth is greater education, higher income and the distribution of wealth, greater advancement in technology, and the end of war. If they are correct, we must surely be entering into a golden age. We are spending more on education than ever before and greater attention has been placed on the distribution of wealth through the taxation of the wealthy. Never in the history of the world have we seen such technological advances. The internet has brought us incredible advances in the spread of information. Our smartphones have technology at our fingertips that couldn’t have been imagined fifty years ago. It would seem that every day we hear of some amazing new invention. Modern medicine has greatly increased the length and quality of life. We live in larger homes and enjoy all of the pleasures money can buy. And we are enjoying a season of relative peace. We must be happier today than ever before, right? Wouldn’t this be the reasonable conclusion of the humanist?
There is only one problem with such a conclusion. The facts show otherwise. Modern man is more unhappy than ever before. World Magazine recently published a statistic that must baffle the minds of those who believe happiness can be gained if we are placed in the right conditions. For the first time in the past 100 years the life-expectancy of young adults has decreased. This is despite better diet, better healthcare and greater sanitation. What is causing the increase in mortality rates? Suicide rates are at all-time highs and the rate of drug overdoses has increased 3.6 times over the rate in 1999. What can explain these symptoms of dissatisfaction and unhappiness?
Hundreds of years ago Solomon described the futility of life without God. He observed, “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind” (Ecc. 1:14). Apart from God all of life is empty. What most men call happiness is really nothing more than a lust for pleasure. True happiness is the blessedness of a life in Christ. Only in Christ can we find genuine contentment. Apart from Him there is only misery and discontent. Apart from Christ the quest for happiness only ends in futility. Is it any wonder that we find an increase in the suicide rate? For far too many conclude that despite every modern advancement life is not worth living. Many turn to drugs in order to mask the emptiness. Others wander aimlessly searching for some meaning in life.
What is the solution? Is there any hope? Solomon gives the answer, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is; fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecc. 12:13). The hope of the world is only in the Gospel of Christ, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”