BY DENNY PETRILLO
The wise man Solomon observed “there is nothing new under the sun” (1:9). He had noted that generations come and go, like they always have(1:4); the sun rises and sets as it always has (1:5); the wind continues to blow and rivers flow (1:6-7) – as they always have.
There are two ways of viewing this fact – that there “is nothing new.” First, one might consider it proof that there is a hopeless monotony to life. Life is, basically, boring, unchanging and wearisome. Second, one might find the fact that there is nothing new under the sun as a comforting, stabilizing truth. There are some things we can count on.
Solomon wanted to demonstrate a very important point: life without God is wearisome, repetitive and hopeless. Yet life with God is comforting, exciting, stable and hope-filled.
Considering the point that there is “nothing new under the sun,” there are several truths related to God that is not new:
1) The nature of God is not new. He is still the all-powerful Lord of the universe. In the NT this idea is comforting because we know that God won’t change (cf. with Jesus Christ – Heb. 13:8).
2) God’s work is not new (3:14). It will (a) remain forever; (b) not be added to; (c) not be taken from. Men may attempt to change the gospel or the plan of salvation – but those are part of the immutable, unchanging will of God.
3) The plan of God for man is not new. God wants men to (a) fear Him – 3:14; (b) live holy lives; (c) to prepare to face Him in eternity. God “set eternity” in man’s heart (3:11).
4) The nature of man is not new. It remains true that God made men upright but he has sought out many devises. This teaches us that it is not “natural” for men to sin – in other words God did not create man so that he would sin. This would have been against the basic characteristic of God (cf. Jas. 1:13-14). Rather, man was created good. Nevertheless, all sin (Rom. 3:23). This was true in Solomon’s day and remains true today.
Solomon emphasized that all men must seek to do good and live to please God. So also is it today. God wants all men to “conform to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29-30) and to obey His word (John 12:48).