Living in, and as, love

For the Lesson titled "God the Only Cause and Creator" from June 3 - 9, 2013

Pondering human existence, Albert Einstein asked, “What does a fish know about the water in which he swims?” He concluded that we are inherently unaware of our true existence. This week’s Bible Lesson, titled “God the Only Cause and Creator,” prompts me to ask, “What do we know about the divine Love in which we live?”

The author of Ecclesiastes characterized human existence through one Hebrew word: hebel. It means vanity. Known for its wisdom, the book opens with a teacher stating, “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Throughout Ecclesiastes, the teacher emphasizes that our material possessions, especially those things we proclaim to create, are a reflection of our vanity. For example, in Ecclesiastes 2:4–6, the teacher describes the false sense of human creation, “I made me great works; I builded me houses; … I made me gardens and orchards, and … pools of water” (citation 15).

What might have seemed “vain” to the teacher in Ecclesiastes about human existence was normal to Abram and Sarai more than 4,000 years ago. They believed their old age prevented them from having a child (see Genesis 17, cit. 6) and—as was common in Jewish tradition at the time—that it may have been a punishment from God. As we know in the story, they did have a child, Isaac, as promised by God (see Genesis 21, cit. 8). But Abram and Sarai were not the “creators” of Isaac: “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3, cit. 9).

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June 3, 2013

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