LESSONS ON ECCLESIATES AND ETERNAL BLISS FROM A CARIBBEAN CRUISE

A.B. Melchizedek
5 min readDec 19, 2023
Photo credit: Cruise.blog

Could there be a more relaxing thought than putting your feet up while on a cruise across the Caribbean? Taking in the sights of the blue Caribbean sea and basking in the cool breeze? Having access to the bar virtually 24–7 while being treated to endless streams of live music, quizzes and theatre shows? Hearing the Steel drums play in Antigua and the pleasant panorama of St Maartin, tropical rum of the British Virgin Islands and the jerk chicken with Mahi mahi of St Kitts and Neves? Not to mention the sumptuous buffet with a different food theme at one of its stands.

This was my life a few days ago and it was perfect. No worries about responsibility, all duty and worries left ashore just before the ship sailed. I did not have to worry about doing dishes or where I kept them for that matter. Staff walking around briskly handled these with almost mechanical efficiency. I wanted this to go on forever…right until day 2

After two days of the initial novelty and the rush of blood to the head, it all became…normal? The blue Caribbean sea remained as blue as ever, the breeze cool as ever, the music pleasant as ever, the island and its sights remained beautiful but I had changed. The excitement was no longer there. I craved, no, even longed for a return to the “real world” with all its drollness and tedium. The real world was not perfect but at least it was real!

It was around this time I began to feel what Solomon must have felt when he wrote Ecclesiastes. He had access to everything his heart could ever want, music, servants, horticulture, books, travel, money but his conclusion remained “All is vanity and a grasping for the wind”. The message in Ecclesiastes seems to be that the human heart is so vast, the world itself could not satisfy it.

Then the words of an atheist comedian (whose name escapes me now) on eternal bliss came flooding to me, I forget the exact quote but it was something along the lines of “The concept of eternal bliss is an irony because if it is eternal it cannot be blissful”.

There is something to be said for that statement, there is something about the human heart and the human brain that makes things less exciting and less satisfying the more time is spent with them. This much is naturally true, even the writer of Ecclesiastes again and again states that his observations were based on things, “under the sun”, i.e. from a purely physical and earthly perspective.

One factor that the Ecclesiast and the comedian do not take into account though is the unlimited knowledge of an Almighty God. Picture this,

It would take forever if we were to explore human creativity from the beginning of time till date. If we were to explore and savour the talent of all the world’s greatest sportsmen, all of classical music, all of the world’s greatest TV shows, musical and movies, all of the greatest works of literature ever written, all technological inventions, all operas, all arts in all art galleries and museums on the planet, all the greatest dances, all great players of instruments.

Do we then think, the ultimate mind from whom all of these talents come, the very author of creativity, would be unable to keep human beings eternally engaged? A God who numbers the hairs on our head, A God who knows the thoughts in our heart before we utter them, A God who knew us even before we were born. Do we believe this God would not know how to keep us in eternal bliss?

Eternal bliss from the perspective of human beings might only be an idea because we have no lens through which to view it, we, like the Ecclesiast, can only speak based on our experiences “under the sun”, in this body we possess. The Bible however teaches that those who inherit eternal life would have a new body fashioned like Christ’s glorious body,

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”

(Philippians 3:20–21, see also 1 Corinthians 15:35–49)

If we will indeed have a brand new body, completely different to the one we now possess. If we would have a new spiritual body whose capabilities we do not yet know, then this is a massive paradigm shift because we cannot then apply our definitions of bliss based on the body we now possess to the spiritual body which will be received.

As brilliant and as exciting as the best experiences I might have in this body might be, it is a body subject to death, it in fact is closer to dying with every second I spend in it. Comparing this with what would be obtainable in a resurrected eternal body not primed for death is definitely not comparing like for like.

Finally, eternal bliss, is not a state where we all sing praises 24–7 and do nothing else. There is no Biblical basis for this. When God created Adam before the fall, Adam was not singing to God 24–7, He worked, He rested, He slept...but all of this was in context of fellowship with God. One of the lessons learnt from the cruise is that work is a blessing (so is rest by the way, six days shall a man work as the Bible says), and not working (i.e. doing something to benefit someone other than yourself) would be detrimental to the soul/sanity of a man. I almost felt my soul decay inside me when it was all enjoyment, entertainment and merriment with people around serving me all day. It made me think of the wisdom of Christ’s words that He came not to be served but to serve. It seems that there is a positive effect on the soul of the man serving which is missing from a man who is only being served.

All of this just to say, eternal bliss would be a place of activity, Paul derided the church in Corinth reminding them they would judge Angels,

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?”

(1 Corinthians 6:2–3)

God Himself worked and continues to do so as Jesus says,

But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

(John 5:17)

In conclusion, the Ecclesiast got bored of all the excitement he craved just like any human being would, just like I got bored of the cruise. However we cannot judge eternity on the basis of our experiences, “under the sun” or in this our body of death, there would be a new spiritual body for those who inherit eternal life, that body would be subject to new pleasures and senses which we currently know nothing about.

Secondly, work is a blessing, it is something Adam did before the fall, it is something God did both before and after the fall so eternal bliss cannot be all mindless praises and worship to God, there is no Biblical indication that this is the case.

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A.B. Melchizedek

Crusader for the truth of the gospel and the logical coherence within the context of the scriptural worldview.