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Both Sides Now: Ecclesiastes and the Human Condition (Barnes)

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How we understand ourselves and life in this world is inexorably linked to how we understand God. Knowing ourselves and understanding the world in which we live is something about which we are all concerned. Augustine confessed to God, ‘ I could not find myself, much less find you.’ Sixties’ folk singer Joni Mitchell sang, ‘I’ve looked at life from both sides now’ but lamented, ‘I really don’t know life at all.’ In this contemporary look at the book of Ecclesiastes, Peter Barnes takes up these issues. Life is examined honestly and perceptively, confronting us with the realities of life in a fallen world and the inevitability of death. Thinking carefully about all the apparent meaningless of life can actually be used by God, who is totally good, to lead us to himself. All else fails; God alone is worthy of our trust.

Those perplexed by the futility and emptiness of life will find much help here in their search for God, meaning and fulfillment. This book also provides a useful evangelistic resource for Christians keen to share their faith in Christ with others.

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Table of Contents:  

  1. Eternity and Madness in Our Hearts
  2. Fulfilment in Wisdom
  3. Happy Are Those Who Pursue Pleasure
  4. Work at It
  5. You Can Bank on It
  6. Utopia?
  7. A Touch of Religion
  8. The Consolations of Life
  9. Know What You Don't Know
  10. Death the Giant Killjoy
  11. The Conclusion of the Matter - Almost!
  12. Eternity and Madness: Both Sides Again  



Peter Barnes serves as the minister of Revesby Presbyterian Church, Revesby, New South Wales, Australia and also lectures in Church History at Presbytery Theological Centre, Burwood, Sydney.



"Both Sides Now opens up the main themes of Ecclesiastes, showing how it sets out the reflections of a man who tried to live life as if God did not exist, or at least doesn’t really matter, and was led to the brink of despair. But then he turned back to the God he had abandoned and discovered that he alone is the key to understanding the purpose of our existence. BSN is a great resource for all kinds of people – from students to ageing cynics – who are struggling to make sense of life by pointing them to the message of the Bible." — MARK JOHNSTON

"The emptiness of modern reasoning is thoroughly exposed, and the reader constantly and sensitively pointed in the direction of truth, and especially of gospel truth. As a book both to help the believer understand how Ecclesiastes continues to reveal the emptiness of the thinking of the world, and to give to a thinking non-Christian, this is recommended." — EVANGELICALS NOW

"This readable and excellent book will be a great help to all who are searching for God, meaning and fulfillment in life. It will be a useful evangelistic resource for gospel preachers, and for all who witness to the saving grace of Christ." — EVANGELICAL TIMES