Friday, July 5, 2024

Solomon, Shakespeare, and a Roman

That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun Ecclesiastes 1:9

        

O, that record could with a backward look,
Even of five hundred courses of the sun, 
Show me your image in some antique book, 
Since mind at first in character was done! 

(From Shakespeare’s Sonnet 59)

 

King Solomon proclaimed there is nothing new under the sun. Shakespeare agreed. If these two great men saw the modern world, they might recant. But neither meant to say the world was not locked in forward motion, ever changing, progressing. There is no other way to go. Yet while the human race invents and conquers, the human soul lurches forward and stumbles back, over and over. We are enlightened. We are ignorant. We accept. We deny. We love. We hate. We submit. We will not be refused. We find our center, our purpose. We do not know who we are.

Legal ramifications and societal implications are as old as time. It’s all been brought up before by liberals and conservatives. By the religious and anti-religious. The family units clinging to tradition, and the alternately inclined demanding their rights. Here’s a short excerpt from a piece written by Roman satirist Juvenal sometime around AD 90:

"I must go down-town tomorrow 
First thing: a special engagement." "What's happening?" "Need you ask?" 
I'm going to a wedding. Old So-and-so's got his boyfriend 
To the altar at last...." 

Juvenal was no loud-mouthed Christian standing up for the good folks in the Bible belt. He was just a smart-mouthed, staunch Roman who saw his government letting go of its hold on the fundamentals. And he wrote about it with sarcasm and disrespect.


The new world is as old as the human heart. We break no new ground. The voice of disapproval has spoken before. Our government might lose its mooring, and perhaps, it will crumble and become a page in history. There is nothing new under the sun.


But…the sun will not burn forever. And the heart will not falter in this present darkness for all eternity.

They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever  Revelation 22:4,5