Generations come and go

Don’t be alarmed at prophets of doom, be they political, social, or environmental. Politics has always been dirty and dishonest. Social movements have grown and died. Environmentalists are not dispassionate scientists reading objective data.

Observers have divided the generations into baby boomers, generations X and Y, and new tags are invented every few years. The upcoming generation causes concern, and always has. The human being is a worrier at heart.

A generation comes and a generation goes, but the earth remains the same through the ages. Eccl 1.4

The writer of Ecclesiastes throws in a mixed bag of perspective. As he moves to his conclusion, he seems to try out different ideas gathered from living “under the sun,” which apparently means, to the exclusion of God. Seldom does he look beyond the sun to the Creator who spoke it into existence.

In the verse above he gets something right, and something wrong. (He’s still inspired, as he shows us the confusion of those who don’t take God into account.)

The earth does remain the same, and will still be here when we are gone, unless the Lord Jesus Christ returns first. Then, the material universe will be extinguished, because all things that have a beginning will have an end. The writer couldn’t see this, of course, but we have the advantage of living this side of the Cross and seeing into the darkness beyond death.

What the writer gets right is this: Life goes on, in a way. Humanity continues its warped and wicked path, as it has since exiting Eden. Our time and this generation are not much different than those that preceded them. We feel disturbed by current events like tragedies, violence, wars, and injustice. They are disturbing, but they are not atypical.

If the Lord does not come beforehand, my generation will pass, another will arise, the earth will still be here.

For the Christian, the verse can serve as a comforting statement that God rules from heaven, keeps the sun warming the earth, and maintains the world so that in his patience people might hear his generous invitation and repent of their sins, until he decides to pull the plug.

Which is what we pray for.


J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?