April 18, 2009 by
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom
Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon
Previous posts in the series:
Chapter 1/Speak to Me-Breathe
Chapter 2/On the Run
Chapter 5-7/The Great Gig in the Sky
Chapter 4-9/Us and Them
Chapter 1-10/Any Color You Like
Chapter 10/Brain Damage
The end of the book, “Ecclesiastes,” and the end of the album, “The Dark Side of the Moon,” brings us to the decision. To choose life or death? Solomon, throughout this book and Proverbs, makes the contrast between wisdom and folly. To choose life is wisdom. To choose death is folly. For my illustration I have used actor Ian McKellen who portrayed Gandalf in the movie, “The Lord of the Rings,” because wizards in the world were considered a picture of the wise men. Wizards are portrayed as old men who have lived long lives, thus having obtained wisdom. And the answer of Solomon echos this view. Choose wisdom and live a long life.
Every choice brings a consequence. Hinduism calls it “karma kickback”. Science calls it Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion: “for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.” The Bible calls it “sowing and reaping.” At the end of Ecclesiastes, Solomon advises his readers to take this seriously and to make good choices in one’s youth. To “cast your bread on many waters” means to be generous and try your hand at many good endeavors. In chapter 11 he gives a variety of word pictures illustrating that each action has a consequence. If clouds are full, they rain; trees remain where they fall; and procrastination because of weather brings no harvest. The Creator is Lord over His creation and makes the final choice of what will prosper or not. Therefore, apply your self to many good endeavors, for we do not know His choices.
Chapter 12 sums up Solomon’s point. Good choices have to be made while we are young, for old age and the consequences of bad choices come upon us quickly. Good choices may bring long life, but even with a good life, the infirmity of old age affects us all. He describes these infirmities with another set of word pictures. “Sun light darkening” and “clouds cease rain” becomes a picture of death; “keepers of the house” and “strong men bow down” picture the waning of our physical strength; “grinders cease and are few” and “windows dim” picture teeth falling out and eyesight diminishing; “rising at the sound of the bird” and “daughters of music brought low” picture the light sleep with the tendency of early rising along with deafness affecting the ears; “fear of height” and “terrors in the way” picture the ease of injury in old age; and finally, “grasshopper burden” and “desire fails” picture the diminished sex drive and inability to maintain erections in men.
Old age brings everyone face to face with death, from which there is no escape. So Solomon reminds us that we all face God in judgment, therefore we should obtain a fear of the Lord early in life to make our way in life as successful as possible.
But not so with the main character in the “Dark Side of the Moon.” He had no understanding of God, became overwhelmed with the world, went insane and sought a living death as relief from his suffering through a lobotomy. The lyrics of Pink Floyd recount all that he knew would be lost to memory. What Pink Floyd’s character does not understand is that the consequences of his choices remain, even though he loses consciousness of them. To yield to the world system, choosing to live life in that way, is the path of death. To believe that death will end the suffering is to deny the judgment of God that we all face and the punishment of God upon all who have rejected Him and His Way of Life. As Solomon said, dear reader, remember now the Creator in the days of your youth, and choose life, not death.
Ecclesiastes Chapter 11
1 Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days.
2 Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.
3 If the clouds are full of rain, They empty themselves upon the earth; And if a tree falls to the south or the north, In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.
4 He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap.
5 As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.
6 In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good.
1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them”:
2 While the sun and the light, The moon and the stars, Are not darkened, And the clouds do not return after the rain;
3 In the day when the keepers of the house tremble, And the strong men bow down; When the grinders cease because they are few, And those that look through the windows grow dim;
4 When the doors are shut in the streets, And the sound of grinding is low; When one rises up at the sound of a bird, And all the daughters of music are brought low;
5 Also they are afraid of height, And of terrors in the way; When the almond tree blossoms, The grasshopper is a burden, And desire fails. For man goes to his eternal home, And the mourners go about the streets.
6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, Or the golden bowl is broken, Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, Or the wheel broken at the well.
7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.
All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel.
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save.
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy,
beg, borrow or steal.
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say.
All that you eat
And everyone you meet
All that you slight
And everyone you fight.
All that is now
All that is gone
All that’s to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
“There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark.”
The Dark Side of the Moon is eclipse of light, which is a metaphor for knowledge. To have a lobotomy may remove all ability to feel the pain of this world, but it does not cut out the human spirit. Until he dies his spirit is trapped in a bodily prison that no longer participates in the creation.
The creation is not evil. The joy of life and the experiences of the senses is a gift from God to all creatures, mankind and animals. But sin and selfishness are the driving forces of the world system that causes the pain and suffering in this world. Life is not hard, sin and death is hard. The more pleasurable life is, the greater the impact of tragedy when it occurs. The natural defense of the body is to develop calluses. The skin thickens to deaden the pain. This happens in our spirits and conscience, too, as our hearts harden through time.
The answer is not a lobotomy. The answer is the circumcision of the heart by the cross of Jesus Christ. God wants to help all people, and does in whatever way He can that does not violate our free wills. But to gain His full aid in life, we must come into the covenant relationship that He offers the world through Jesus Christ. The word covenant has its root meaning in “cutting away.” To cut away the frontal lobe of the brain, does nothing to cut away the root cause of sin in our hearts. The victom in the Pink Floyd drama lives senselessly in his sins and selfishness even after his lobotomy.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news in deed. Jesus promised the abundant life. That does not mean that He changes His creation, rather, it means that He will enhance our senses to appreciate all the good in life that is always here already. Goodness in life is by far greater than the evil of the world. For God means Good, and He is greater than all His creation. He has filled His creation with goodness and beauty in every facet. The new birth enables us to see that beauty and goodness everywhere. However, anything scrutinized under a microscope will make the miniscule seem extraordinarily large.
And this is one of the failings of the Church of Jesus Christ. Emphasis has been placed on the evils of the world instead of the good. Jesus told Nicodemus that the world was already condemned – a condemnation that began in the garden of Eden – but He did not come to condemn the world, but to save it. We are not called to condemn the world, and that is how the lost in the world perceive the Church. Rather we are called to point the world to true salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. Not prosperity. Not deliverance from struggle. Not to self righteousness. But to the eye opening wonder of knowing the eternal being who created everything, and the knowledge of His wonderful ways.
The Dark Side of the Moon is only a shadow. The sunlight always remains. Simply move out of the shadow into the sunlight and see again.
As a final word on this series, I want to commend those incredible musicians who crafted this classic work. The Church has an “Us and Them” mentality that makes God appear to be separated from all people outside Jesus Christ. This diminishes the glorious goodness of our Father. He is involved in the lives of every person in creation. He is not in covenant with every person, which is why the Great Commission was given, but He is in love with every person, and helps them within the limitations that sin creates. I believe that God inspired this work of Pink Floyd. I believe that He wants the message of disaster that life without Christ creates. This band saw the world system clearly and understood the destructiveness of the world system. Their album clearly documents that destructiveness.
I encourage all believers to listen to this album in its entirety again with the lens of Ecclesisastes that I have tried to focus for you here. You can buy the CD from Amazon.com and elsewhere. Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Syd Barrett, Nick Mason and Richard Wright I thank you for your creative genius. This album had touched my heart decades before I ever knew the Lord. And because of my knowledge of the Bible, I now appreciate your work even more.