Original Research - Special Collection: African Hermeneutics

Seeing the world through the eyes of God: Reading the Book of Qoheleth in the light of Genesis 1:1–2:4a

Gilbert N. Alaribe, Lawrence N. Okwuosa
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 1 | a2261 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i1.2261 | © 2021 Gilbert N. Alaribe, Lawrence N. Okwuosa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 April 2021 | Published: 09 September 2021

About the author(s)

Gilbert N. Alaribe, Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Arts, Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri; Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
Lawrence N. Okwuosa, Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; Department of Old Testament and Hebrew Scriptures, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Religious and existential concerns interweave in many books of the Bible to give attention to human’s existential anguish, the sense of guilt, the horror of death, the atrocious experience of the absurd. While many contemporary existentialist philosophers prefer to do without God in the attempt to deal with human’s existential contradictions, the search takes the authors of the Bible through intense spiritual struggles as they attempt to confront the belief in the goodness of God with the human experience of futility in all its facets. We want to seek a meeting point between the existentialist concerns of the book of Qoholeth with the profound theology of meaningfulness as elaborated in Genesis 1:1–2:4a. Our article therefore, has a decidedly pastoral orientation. We will attempt to move, through an analysis of select texts, to a re-affirmation of one of the spiritual truths that many mystics have tried to teach: that reason alone is not enough to guide the human person to the mysteries of life, the believer has to learn to unite with God or to the realities themselves to discover the fundamental goodness in many of the experiences that, in human perspectives, seem to be absurd.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: We believe such union is needed in a world where racism, violence to minorities, gender inequalities, homophobic attitudes are thickening the clouds of discrimination and threatening some to doubt the fundamental goodness of creation as made by God.


Keywords

creation; meaning; futility; human life; modernity

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