Is There Anything New Under The Sun?

Lily on her last day of being 10.

My daughter, Lily, on her last day of being 10. She says, “Yes, there is much new under the sun.”

Is there anything new under the sun?

Solomon says no.

With a little more than one day left in 2012, the speaker at our church Sunday asked the congregation what we thought.

I gave the question a solid half hour or so, I promise.

Then my 11-year-old daughter and I went about our frantic, thank-god-the-holidays-are-almost-over, suburban rainy day.

Some lowlights:

– We argued about her nail polish. (She said it was dry, I said it was wet, and when she smudged it and I said ‘I told you so’, she refused to speak to me for at least three whole Taylor Swift songs.)

– We argued about whether she was done with her flat brush so I could use it in place of my round brush I forgot in a hotel room on a business trip. She said her hair looked terrible and she needed her brush and that I should go buy my own brush.

– We stopped at Starbucks rather than go to the grocery store for real food. Her chai latte was cold. My oatmeal was watery.

– We argued about whether using my acne concealer to hide her own pimples made them look less or, in fact, MORE noticeable.

– She forced me to watch the season premiere of Dance Moms (ok, she informed me the trash reality show about tweenage dancers and their overbearing mothers was BACK ON TELEVISION! and I happily joined her on the couch with a half-eaten holiday cheese ball).

But that question from Ecclesiastes had lodged itself in my brain along with the Pete Seeger song that follows it.

At 35 and still using acne concealer, having the same stupid yet intimately lovely squabbles with my girl as my mother did with me at that age, I’m at first blush inclined to agree with King Solomon.

The older I get, the more patterns I see. The greater is my awareness of time.

There is a time to be born, a time to die.

A time to plant, a time to reap…

And so the same, logically, could be true of God. If God has been around since the beginning of time and has an awareness of time’s end, then of course: To God, there’s absolutely nothing new under the sun.

But who am I to say what surprises God.

If you believe God created the whole of existence – the parts we see and understand, as well as the parts we will NEVER see nor understand – and if you have even a remote concept of the vastness of this universe and of the theoretical complexities possible within it, then you know how small we are.

While we may know or have experienced more than our children (or not!), we know far less than we can even imagine.

I think Solomon may have been wrong.

There is infinite new under the sun.

May we each discover pieces in 2013.

Note: I’ve submitted this post to YeahWrite, a group of bloggers dedicated to improving the quality of writing published on the internet. I came across this site thanks to a blog called I Miss You When I Blink, which made mention of it earlier this week. Blink is awesome. Way funnier than me and with this penguin thing a lot of my friends are into.

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25 thoughts on “Is There Anything New Under The Sun?

  1. There are, I believe, an infinite number of new things for us, as mortals, to experience and wonder about and gaze at in awe. I also believe that if we lose that ability to see and think about new things – we aren’t really living.

  2. “If you believe God created the whole of existence – the parts we see and understand, as well as the parts we will NEVER see nor understand – and if you have even a remote concept of the vastness of this universe and of the theoretical complexities possible within it, then you know how small we are.

    While we may know or have experienced more than our children (or not!), we know far less than we can even imagine.

    I think Solomon may have been wrong.

    There is infinite new under the sun.”

    Great food-for-thought! If you believe God is the creator of everything and knows everything, which I do, then you would think that there is nothing new under the sun for Him, but why put God in a box. I am not a real believer in institutional Church for the box putting reason. I love your thoughts here.

  3. There is, in fact, a new picture of Knight, under the About Me tab. (but the pretty girl is the same) Reformed Theology would argue that God hasn’t been around since the beginning of time, rather that time exists within God, as part of his creation. If that is true, then nothing “new” in terms of this time-space continuum would be new for God.
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2017:24-28&version=NIV

    If you buy that, it follows that Solomon, speaking under divine inspiration, was RIGHT. 🙂
    Regarding divine inspiration: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2 Timothy 3:16&version=NIV and http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2 Peter+1:21&version=NIV

    Keep seeking and keep turning Knight!! 🙂
    PS Who doesn’t like that song? It is God’s lullaby to soothe a fractured soul. (or even a fractured planet) It is a lullaby, because the rythms remind us that we are in his grasp, and that is okay, even given life/death and all the other turns!
    ((don’t bother with my blog, I had to stop writing last year to start a business, but I’ll be back, though there may be nothing new to report. 🙂

    • Hi Jeff,
      Thank you for the thoughtful response.
      I tend to believe that if God is indeed – then God is too big for us mere mortals to fully grasp.
      I have always been a seeker, very interested in questions such as these, and inspired by the challenges of faith (my own, other people’s).
      Hope you return to your blog someday. A time for reading, a time for writing, right?

      • Amen and Roger all that! The too big part is called “inscrutability” and it refers to the unsearchable/unknowable aspects of a God who is so much higher than his creation, that trying to understand him would be like erudite limpets trying to understand the fisherman:

        “Why are many people prepared in advance to maintain that, whatever else God may be, He is not the concrete, living, willing, and acting God of Christian theology? I think the reason is as follows.

        Let us suppose a mystical limpet, a sage among limpets, who (rapt in vision) catches a glimpse of what Man is like. In reporting it to his disciples, who have some vision themselves (though less than he) he will have to use many negatives. He will have to tell them that Man has no shell, is not attached to a rock, is not surrounded by water. And his disciples, having a little vision of their own to help them, do get some idea of Man. But then there come erudite limpets, limpets who write histories of philosophy and give lectures on comparative religion, and who have never had any vision of their own. What they get out of the prophetic limpet’s words is simply and solely the negatives. From these, uncorrected by any positive insight, they build up a picture of Man as a sort of amorphous jelly (he has no shell) existing nowhere in particular (he is not attached to a rock) and never taking nourishment (there is no water to drift it toward him). And having a traditional reverence for Man they conclude that to be a famished jelly in a dimensionless void is the supreme mode of existence, and reject as crude, materialistic superstition any doctrine which would attribute to Man a definite shape, a structure, and organs. ”
        C S Lewis from Miracles
        -also-
        A great verse regarding inscrutability : http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+55:9&version=NIV

        Meditate or I will be blogging back! He wants to be found!

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