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A blog post asked if the statement “There is nothing new under the sun” was depressing. My response is below.
Kohelet, the writer of Ecclesiastes, states just before this section that his goal in writing was to answer the question, “What do we gain from all the work at which we toil under the sun?” He will repeat this question in various forms throughout his book as he explores various ways in which people try to “get ahead” in life through the pursuit of various goals (wealth, knowledge, pleasure etc.) His conclusions will be framed by two key premises found in the book of Genesis. The first is the reality that God has twisted the world and introduced thorns, thistles and death in order to keep us understanding that we are created beings, not gods. The second is the permanence of the seasons and cycles of the earth we have been placed upon.
With these two thoughts in mind his opening remarks are that no matter how hard we choose to work the earth will not change for us. The thorns and thistles and also the randomness that God has introduced into creation cannot be conquered no matter how hard we work. God has decreed that by the sweat of our brow we shall “eat our daily bread,” not “get ahead.” He proves, in poetic form, that the endless cycles of nature will always wipe out our best achievements.
As a prologue to the actual message of the book, this section is not designed to be either uplifting or depressing; it is just a statement of fact. A reality designed by God that we can never overcome.
If you can understand this first section you may be ready to hear the true message of what I call “The lost book of the Bible,” a message that we desperately need but one that is buried under incorrect translations and traditions.
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