Sunday, May 10, 2009

Curiosity: What Justifies the Search.

“I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end”
–Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 (NRSV).

There is an innate drive within every human being to moderate the gap in his or her soul.

In other versions of this same passage above it is said God has ‘set eternity--even the whole world--in the hearts of humanity… but they cannot fathom what he has done.’ The Amplified version calls it a ‘divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy.’

This sentiment echoes, from the human viewpoint, the chant and harmonies of U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. Even for the born-again, there is a yearning deep inside to assuage perfectly the soul’s groan.

We search all our lives to find that thing (or more aptly those things i.e. many plural) that will cause us happiness, contentment, riches, peace, good looks, talent, health, long life, success, and an infinite list of other tangibles and intangibles. And we never truly find it.

This is mainly because we look in the wrong places. But, God has caused us to look. We can’t help but search.

In recognising this soul-gap and having searched in many different places (including many wrong ones) to rectify it, the writer of Ecclesiastes[1] decided finally that the solution for us mere mortals was simply to ‘rejoice (with whatever his or her lot is) and to do good in life.’

An Answer

The answer to this impelling drive is surely an embraced curiosity, toward the things of God--a spiritual quest; divinely-inspired curiosity is a seemingly perfect virtue toward passionate learning and positivity. While we co-habit the earth, not fitting yet not wanting to leave, we distract ourselves reasonably, and with ardour, in every good thing that comes our way.

Curiosity justifies the search for purpose and meaning. It never gives up and it sustains us through the perils of hellish seasons, which inevitably come, then remain for a time.

Curiosity, if intrinsically linked to the Almighty, must surely be one of the chief virtues. Our curiosity can never be satisfied; yet it’s an ironical key to our life force--to pursue it as if this weren’t true.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[1] The writer of this ancient Wisdom text was a teacher from a Royal line named appellatively, Qoheleth, though his real identity was probably none other than Solomon, son of King David. Source: Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Ecclesiastes: Total Life – Everyman’s Bile Commentary (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1979), pp. 24-29.

No comments: