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Discuss the problem of pain and how this relates to Solomon’s writings in...

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natralee | Student, Graduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted August 28, 2013 at 11:30 PM via web

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Discuss the problem of pain and how this relates to Solomon’s writings in Ecclesiastes in the Bible.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 29, 2013 at 6:33 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the repeated themes that is echoed again and again in the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible is that pain and suffering unfortunately seem to be an integral part of life, and those that are good do not get the kind of treatment that they deserve through their actions. In the same way, those who are bad do not receive punishment. In fact, in our world, as the author of this book of Wisdom teaching suggests, the opposite is true, as Chapter 9 verse 11 indicates:

The race is not to the swift

or the battle to the strong,

nor does food come to the wise

or wealth to the brilliant

or favour to the learned;

but time and chance happen

to them all.

The author thus identifies that all humans, whether good or bad, are subject to time and chance. Rather than try and explain this, the book leaves that to one side, and goes on to consider that if this is part of our essential condition as humans, how should we live our lives as a result. The author argues that as death is something no human can avoid, meaning lies in enjoying whatever life God has given us to the full, even though there are no guarantees in that life of having a pain-free existence. This book therefore makes no attempt to "solve" the problem of pain. Rather, it examines our lives and seeks to instruct us on how we should live them, bearing in mind the way that we are all subject to "time and chance."

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