Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.
When we read that “there is nothing new under the sun”, we likely think, well there are plenty of things in our lifetime that were not here 100 years ago. This is true when we think of inventions, improvements in material things, or medical advancements. However, when we think of man’s heart, is there anything new within it?
The book of Ecclesiastes reflects Solomon's experiences. While Solomon was the wisest man on earth besides Jesus Christ, he sinned against what God had warned him. Solomon gave into his appetite of the flesh as he entertained and married many foreign women (1 Kings 11:1-13). God had told Solomon not to marry these women as they "will surely turn your hearts after their gods" (1 Kings 11:2).
Solomon was allured by the offerings of the world. His love for women and the desires of his flesh, led him to have a divided heart. Solomon's sin not only impacted himself, but also had a great effect on an entire generation.
The passage that tells us "there is nothing new under the sun", can point us in several directions. When I studied this passage a couple of days ago, I was inspired to view it from a sin perspective.
Sin is as old as the creation of man. In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve gave into the desires of the flesh. Their actions had a great impact on every future generation that has been created on this earth. We are still experiencing consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve. Sin is "nothing new under the sun".
We can look at the methods of sin throughout time. Advances in technology allow sin to be carried out in new forms. But if we look at the nature of sin, there is nothing new. Sin is still and will always be a temptation by Satan to do wrong against Gods' divine law and principles. Sin is heart condition.
The 10 Commandments cover the types of sin about which God warns us. As we read through the list, we can think of examples of how methods of sin may have changed in our lifetime, but the sin is not new. The name and meaning of each sin is still the same as it was when God gave Moses the 10 Commandments to present to the people.
As a generation, have we learned anything from the generations before us? Are we able to look back at sins that were committed by the people before us and connect the consequences to the actions? Matthew Henry's Commentary says, "men's hearts and their corruptions are the same now as in former times; their desires, pursuits, and complaints, still the same. This should take us from expecting happiness in the creature, and quicken us to seek eternal blessings".