“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 19 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part R Ernest Hemingway 7th part Hemingway “Do you like Mark Twain?” )

Atheists scoff at the idea that we were put here for a purpose but Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” and  that changes everything. Mark Twain himself felt this tension too.

Mark Twain with family in Bermuda

Adriana and Gil Pender in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

The Hemingway Children at Walloon Lake, 1916

(L-R) Ursula, Madelaine, Marcelline, Ernest, Leicester, and Carol



Ernest Hemingway standing tallest in this picture above

HEMINGWAY:You like Mark Twain?

GIL PENDER:I’m actually a huge Mark Twain fan.I think you can even make the case that all modern American literature comes from Huckleberry Finn.-

In the movie Gertrude Stein says to Gil, “Now, about your book,it’s very unusual, indeed.I mean, in a way, it’s almost like science fiction….The artist’s job is not to succumb to DESPAIR,but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.You have a clear and lively voice. Don’t be such a defeatist.”


Also in the film we find this exchange:

ADRIANA: I can never decide whether Paris is more beautiful by day or by night.

GIL PENDER: No, you can’t. You couldn’t pick one. I mean,I can give you a checkmate argument for each side.You know, I sometimes think,”How’s anyone gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony or a sculpture that can compete with a great city?”You can’t, ’cause, like,you look around, every…every street, every boulevard is its own special art form.And when you think that in the cold,violent, meaningless universe,that Paris exists, these lights…I mean, come on, there’s nothing happening on Jupiter or Neptune,but from way out in space you can see these lights, the cafe’s, people drinking, and singing…I mean, for all we know, Paris is the hottest spot in the universe.

(You got to remember that the character Gil Pender that Owen Wilson was playing was speaking the words that Woody Allen wrote!!!)

Big time director Woody Allen and wife Soon-Yi Previn along with daughters Bechet and Manzie Tio were at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills, CA on June 15th, 2012.


Pauline and Ernest on their wedding day. Hemingway

Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott, Arkansas

God created us so we can’t deny that we are created for a purpose and when a person falls truly in love with another person then they have a hard time maintaining  this we are only just a product of evolution and our lives have no lasting significance.

Solomon wisely noted in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” (Living Bible). No wonder Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”

Mark Twain admitted:

It is the strangest thing, that the world is not full of books that scoff at the pitiful world, and the useless universe and the vile and contemptible race–books that laugh at the whole paltry scheme and deride it…Why don’t I write such a book? Because I have a family. There is no other reason.
Notebook #29, 10 November 1895

The Clemens family from left to right: Clara, Livy, Jean, Sam, and Susy. Photo courtesy of the The Mark Twain House

Francis Schaeffer noted in his book HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT:

So just as all men love even if they say love does not exist, and all men have moral motions even though they say moral motions do not exit, so all men act as though they there is a correlation between the external and the internal world, even if they have no basis for that correlation…Let me draw the parallel again. Modern men say there is no love, there is only sex, but they fall in love. Men say there are no moral motions, everything is behavioristic, but they all have moral motions. Even in the more profound area of epistemology, no matter what a man says he believes, actually–every moment of his life–he is acting as though Christianity were true, and it is only the Christian system that tells him why he can, must, and does act the way he does (Chapter 4, HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT ).

In his book CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS Norman L. Geisler commented on the above Schaeffer quote by observing:

So, if a view is true, it should be livable [as Schaeffer pointed out].

Our concept of worldview comes from the German word WELTANSHAUUNG, which means a WORLD and LIFE view. So a comprehensive worldview in this sense should be something that not only accords with good reasons and fits the facts, but it should be one that fulfills our spiritual need as well. In short, it should SATISFY both the head and the heart. Of course, one should not bypass the head on the way to the heart. Hence, we have an extended discussion of the rational and factual basis for one’s acceptance of a worldview. But once we do this, then we should not stop at the head and never reach the heart. As Pascal said, “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”  (Emphasis mine in this paragraph) (Taken from Chapter 10)

If one accepts Christianity as truth is it because that person is going with the heart feelings and left his head behind? Mark Twain wrote, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” Twain was convinced the Bible was filled with errors. I give Twain credit for choosing the right issue. It really does come down to if the Bible is historically and scientifically accurate or not.  There is evidence indicating that the Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. Charles Darwin himself longed for evidence to come forward from the area of  Biblical Archaeology  but so much has  advanced  since Darwin wrote these words in the 19th century! Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject and if you like you could just google these subjects: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem, 2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription.13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

Gregory Hemingway with his father in above picture.

I was so impress by the article below written by Brian Douglas that I wanted to share a portion of it again today although I earlier shared the whole article.

Ernest Hemingway and the Gospel: What Christians can learn from his worldview


For Christians, perhaps the most interesting thing about Hemingway’s writings is how they so vividly portray his worldview, which can be summed up in two words: truth and tragedy. Everything he wrote reflects those two ideas in some way.

Hemingway described all writing — fiction or nonfiction, it makes no difference — as a struggle to describe people, places, experiences, and ideas as truly as they could possibly be expressed.

“Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going… I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’ So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or heard someone say.” (“A Moveable Feast,” p. 12).

One of Hemingway’s editors, Maxwell Perkins, said of him, “If the function of a writer is to reveal reality, no one ever so completely performed it.” Unfortunately, Hemingway’s insistence on telling the truth does not provide his reader with many happy endings. As Hemingway saw it, life is ultimately always tragic.

In his short story “Big Two-Hearted River,” Hemingway refers to swamp fishing as a “tragic adventure.” Sadly, the phrase also aptly describes the majority of Hemingway’s life. He certainly understood his profession to be tragic:

“Dostoevsky was made by being sent to Siberia. Writers are forged in injustice as a sword is forged” (“Green Hills of Africa,” p. 71).

“Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you” (“Death in the Afternoon,” p. 122).

Hemingway seemed bent on extending his tragic adventures into his personal life as well. He was married four times, with numerous other women along the way. According to one story, his last wife, Mary, threatened to kill one of Ernest’s lady friends if she caught them together. His relationships with his three sons were typically strained, past the point of reconciliation in at least one case.

Thus death and loss were ways of life for Hemingway, and he lived out his tragic adventure to the end. After several years of depression and mental deterioration caused by his lifestyle and genetics, Ernest Hemingway shot himself in the head with his favorite shotgun in his Ketchum, Idaho, home on the morning of July 2, 1961.

The ideas of truth and tragedy encapsulate Hemingway’s life, writings, and worldview — or perhaps truth as tragedy is a better way of putting it, for Hemingway saw tragedy as the message that he was truthfully telling. And concerning the tragedy of this life, Hemingway was right. This world is utterly and completely fallen; that fallenness spares no one and extends itself to every area of our lives.

The saddest thing about Hemingway — the shortfall of his worldview — is that he understood the truth of tragedy so deeply but failed to understand the redemption that comes in Jesus. Without the hope that comes from that redemption, it is no surprise that he sought relief in such things as DRINK, DALLIANCE, SPORT, and SUICIDE but FOUND NO LASTING SATISFACTION in them.  The real surprise is that he was so driven to communicate the truth of tragedy to others, diligently writing starting at dawn each day. By his writing he became an apostle of a grim gospel.

Sadder still is the fact that Hemingway’s worldview is shared by so many in our world. Even those who talk themselves into optimism or distract themselves by one means or another are only temporarily avoiding the reality that a world without Jesus is just as Hemingway describes it:

“What did he fear? It was not fear or dread. It was a nothing that he knew too well. It was all a nothing and a man was nothing too. … [H]e knew it all was nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada. Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada. Give us this nada our daily nada and nada us our nada as we nada our nadas and nada us not into nada but deliver us from nada; pues nada. Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee. …

“Now, without thinking further, he would go home to his room. He would lie in the bed and finally, with daylight, he would go to sleep. After all, he said to himself, it is probably only insomnia. Many must have it.” (“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” written by Hemingway in 1926 at age 27. “The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: The Finca Vigia Edition,” p. 288.)


Hemingway is not the only writer who can teach us to write better while revealing something of how our neighbor understands life. He is particularly skilled at doing those two things, but other authors have useful perspectives as well, however true or good they might be. We must be alert to the worldviews they express in each case, be able to examine and interact with them, and by whatever means improve our ability to speak the gospel in response. Judging by our culture’s continuing interest in Ernest Hemingway, his worldview is still influential. This fact presents us with an opportunity to proclaim the truth that Jesus will redeem our tragic world.

Brian Douglas grew up in the Miami, Fla., area and now lives in Boise, Idaho. His interest in Ernest Hemingway began when he read “The Old Man and the Sea” while an undergraduate at Stetson University. He has since studied at Knox Theological Seminary (M.Div. & M.A.) and the University of Sussex. He serves as a ruling elder at All Saints Presbyterian Church (PCA) and teaches at The Ambrose School and Boise State University.

Hemingway and his three sons pictured above.

Robert Capa [Ernest Hemingway and his son Gregory, Sun Valley, Idaho], October 1941. © Robert Capa/International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos.

This series deals with the Book of Ecclesiastes and Woody Allen films.  The first post  dealt with MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT and it dealt with the fact that in the Book of Ecclesiastes Solomon does contend like Hobbes  and Stanley that life is “nasty, brutish and short” and as a result has no meaning UNDER THE SUN.

The movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS offers many of the same themes we see in Ecclesiastes. The second post looked at the question: WAS THERE EVER AGOLDEN AGE AND DID THE MOST TALENTED UNIVERSAL MEN OF THAT TIME FIND TRUE SATISFACTION DURING IT?

In the third post in this series we discover in Ecclesiastes that man UNDER THE SUN finds himself caught in the never ending cycle of birth and death. The SURREALISTS make a leap into the area of nonreason in order to get out of this cycle and that is why the scene in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and Luis Bunuel works so well!!!! These surrealists look to the area of their dreams to find a meaning for their lives and their break with reality is  only because they know that they can’t find a rational meaning in life without God in the picture.

The fourth post looks at the solution of WINE, WOMEN AND SONG and the fifth and sixth posts look at the solution T.S.Eliot found in the Christian Faith and how he left his fragmented message of pessimism behind. In the seventh post the SURREALISTS say that time and chance is all we have but how can that explain love or art and the hunger for God? The eighth  post looks at the subject of DEATH both in Ecclesiastes and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. In the ninth post we look at the nihilistic worldview of Woody Allen and why he keeps putting suicides into his films.

In the tenth post I show how Woody Allen pokes fun at the brilliant thinkers of this world and how King Solomon did the same thing 3000 years ago. In the eleventh post I point out how many of Woody Allen’s liberal political views come a lack of understanding of the sinful nature of man and where it originated. In the twelfth post I look at the mannishness of man and vacuum in his heart that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God.

In the thirteenth post we look at the life of Ernest Hemingway as pictured in MIDNIGHT AND PARIS and relate it to the change of outlook he had on life as the years passed. In the fourteenth post we look at Hemingway’s idea of Paris being a movable  feast. The fifteenth and sixteenth posts both compare Hemingway’s statement, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know…”  with Ecclesiastes 2:18 “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” The seventeenth post looks at these words Woody Allen put into Hemingway’s mouth,  “We fear death because we feel that we haven’t loved well enough or loved at all.”

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Hemingway and Gil Pender talk about their literary idol Mark Twain and the eighteenth post is summed up nicely by Kris Hemphill‘s words, “Both Twain and [King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes] voice questions our souls long to have answered: Where does one find enduring meaning, life purpose, and sustainable joy, and why do so few seem to find it? The nineteenth post looks at the tension felt both in the life of Gil Pender (written by Woody Allen) in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and in Mark Twain’s life and that is when an atheist says he wants to scoff at the idea THAT WE WERE PUT HERE FOR A PURPOSE but he must stay face the reality of  Ecclesiastes 3:11 that says “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” and  THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING! Therefore, the secular view that there is no such thing as love or purpose looks implausible.


Frederic Henri Schopin (1804-1880)
The Judgement Of Solomon
Oil on canvas
341.6 x 280.4 cm
(134.49″ x 110.39″)
Private collection


Related posts:

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 8, Henri Toulouse Lautrec)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 7 Paul Gauguin)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 6 Gertrude Stein)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 5 Juan Belmonte)


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