14 ¶ There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity. 15 Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun. 16 When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:) 17 Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.
Solomon said that one of the things about life that really bugged him was that sometimes good men suffered the things that should have happened to bad men and bad men seemed to receive the blessings that should have gone only to the good.
So, he sort of threw his hands up and recommended laughter, which is what the Bible defines mirth as in Ecclesiastes 2:2 and Proverbs 14:13. We might as well enjoy what God has given us and eat, drink, and be merry. Because, for all our efforts, to study and know the whys and the wherefores of life, the intricacies of God’s creation and the reasons for the way things are, we will never understand.
Now, remember that Solomon was a man of science, who held study in high regard.
1Kings 4:29 ¶ And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. 30 And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. 32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. 33 And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. 34 And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.
So, he is not saying here that he literally thinks you shouldn’t think about or study God’s handiwork to try to understand how things work, but as we are finding out in the study of things such as the immune system or cell functions the detail and intricacy goes further and further and further and final scientific conclusions continue to escape us. For all we think we know there is always more to know. Secular man believes we share 98% of our genes with chimpanzees but then learns that we share 99% with a Swedish mudworm. Then, we learn that it is not the similarity of genes but their expression that matter. We learn that man has a gene that allows for a large brain that chimpanzees don’t. So-called knowledge keeps pushing back the frontiers of understanding and changing the way secular man thinks. And yet, secular man is confident that one day he can know the finality of any matter, a religious belief, a faith in reasoning ability called scientism.
But, here, Solomon points out that it will just go on and on and never end. We might as well not get too worked up about what some scientist spouts for the press about what he has learned as, like this year’s fashion, it will change. God’s word is unchanging, though, regardless of how some modern churches think they can lead Him by the nose to whatever progressive ideal the people cling to this season.