In the book of Ecclesiastes, the wisest man that ever lived made an interesting statement:
As a young man, I often puzzled over this verse. I mean, obviously Solomon had never witnessed an automobile or an airplane. What could he possibly mean that there was nothing that was new under the Sun?
Obviously Solomon is not talking about technology, but something much more aligned to reality, the idea that man as he existed at that day is the same as man that exists now– the same things motivate him, the same passions consume him. Man is little changed, even though much changes around him.
This is Directly Related to Us Today
One of the main thrusts of Evolutionary theory is the idea that everything has been getting progressively better from the dawn of time. There are even many discussions as to whether man is the final form, or whether one day we will no longer be the dominant species because something more evolved will one day turn up.
This concept finds its way into pop culture and is so engrained in our way of life that we have commercials where the slogan is “So easy a caveman could do it!” This directly implies that man was not always as smart as he is today, and someday will be more advanced yet.
What I find amusing in this logic is that while ancient man is supposed to be so inferior, modern man struggles to understand how this inferior being built the pyramids, but I digress.
The Bible teaches us a History that is Contradictory to what is Expected by the Secularists
While the secularist believes that we are continually getting better, the Bible teaches us that we’re continually getting worse! A simple survey of some of the stories of the Old Testament shows us this pattern:
- God creates man and woman perfect at the beginning of Genesis. By chapter 3, both went from being holy to being sinners, and their children commit the first murder.
- God sees the wickedness of the people of Earth, chooses the only righteous family and decides to hit the “reset button.” Noah promptly survives a world-wide flood to end up drunk in a cave.
- God tells man to fill the Earth. Man decides he’d rather build a tower up to the Heavens and stay local. God confuses the languages at Babel to make them obey.
- God gifts a man and says that he will be the smartest man that will ever live, and he’s the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes, which was written thousands of years ago.
As you can see, man has been getting worse, not better. We have the illusion of brilliance or wisdom because we can ask a device for answers to questions or we can use a piece of machinery that we’re trained to use, but that does not make us smarter or better.
This is a big issue for believers also, as we are told to follow the teachings of people that have long since passed from the scene, but modern culture tells us that these people didn’t know what they were talking about and that they are less civilized than we are today. In other words, we’re told that we know better.
We practice chronological elitism, which is a fancy way of saying that this generation is better than any that have gone before, but if we actually looked at those previous generations we would find that they know much more about the human condition that we do now. Which is why Solomon could say what he did, and which is why the book of Proverbs and the Bible are applicable to us today– the character of man has not changed.