What is Nihilism?
Nihilism is defined as “the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless.” It is a belief of much negativity, cynicism, pessimism, and most certainly unbelief in a loving God, a purposeful Creator, an afterlife of restoration. Nihilist believe that life has no meaning.
When King David neared his death he appointed his son Solomon to be the next king. Daunted by the task before him, Solomon confessed to God, “…I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. …give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:7,9). God was pleased by this request and gave Solomon wisdom above all others – “so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be” (v. 12).
But Solomon forgot his God. Instead his heart chased after many foreign women, power, possessions, and idolatry. Having removed God from His life, Solomon too embraced.. indeed defined… nihilism: The book of Ecclesiastes chronicles his search for meaning “under the sun” and opens with his conclusion:
“’Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’ What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. …What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun…. No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.” (Eccl. 1:2-4,9,11).
Solomon and Nihilists seem correct in their assessment as far as considering life “under the sun.” But they are wrong in their conclusion because they neglect to include all the data. They have turned their backs on God.
Nihilists make nothing out of something. (But the Christian knows God made everything out of nothing!). Nihilists feel life is pointless because 100 years from now no one will know them or what they have done. (Of course, we don’t know the people who will live 100 years from now or what they will do either!). The answers are found beyond ourselves.
Jesus asks. “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36). Jesus agrees with the nihilist that apart from God, life has nothing to offer, for apart from God this world and everything in it is perishing. But there is another world, another kingdom, His eternal kingdom. If anyone reading this is thinking all is meaningless under the sun, I urge you to look a little higher. Consider the heavens. God is waiting for you there.
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Ps. 8:3-4).
Yet, He does…
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
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