What does the Bible mean when it says “there is no new thing under the sun?”

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The phrase “nothing new under the sun comes from the book of Ecclesiastes where it is appears close to 30 times. In the first chapter, Solomon the wise wrote, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Here, Solomon is not talking about technological inventions under the sun but rather on the changeless cycles of nature as it repeats. There is no change in the never-ending cycles of nature. Having witnessed one cycle, man has seen all of them. The cycles seem not to lead on to any greater objective than self-perpetuation.

The context makes clear that Solomon’s remarks in vs. 9, 10 apply to the various phenomena of nature and the cycle of human life included. Human nature has remained and always will remain the same. On a general sense all the activity of a man under the sun on this earth fades in the greater picture and will soon be forgotten.

In verse 11, Solomon wrote,“There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after.” What may seem to be new appears so only because men have forgotten the past. In like manner, some events that took place in one generation will be forgotten by the next. This applies to human fame. The famous and powerful person of today is forgotten tomorrow. “What profit hath a man?” (v. 3). Thus not only every “thing” (v. 10) but also all persons pass into obliviousness.

For this reason, Solomon concludes his book by saying, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13,14). It is man’s duty, his destiny, to obey God, and in so doing he will find ultimate happiness. Whatever his share may be under the sun, whether in hardship or prosperity, it is still his duty to offer loving obedience to his Creator.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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