Mar 23, 2011

"New" Technology?

I have struggled with Ecclesiastes 1:9-11. I have made many "new" things in my life, particularly computer software that didn't exist before. How many people, engineers, computer scientists, artists, architects, craftsmen, have made something "new" that was never seen before? Assuming (as I do) that Scripture is the inerrant, infallible Word of God, what does it mean here?

I went to Matthew Henry for some insight. He points out that new things may not be new as they may have come before and simply not been recorded, and that there is nothing new in natural creation as it was finished on the sixth day. The hearts of men are the same, so corruption and sin always run their course with ancient heresies and false philosophies.

But, I ask, what about the moon landing? Surely that is one of the greatest technological achievements and something that is "new." Well, I think from the perspective of this passage, no, that is not new. Travel by various contrivance is not new. The moon itself and all the gravitational forces between it and the earth are not new. Going someplace people have not been before is not new. We learned a great deal about how the world and universe work, but was it really new? Though difficult for me, I must conclude that the Apollo program was not "new" in the sense of this passage.

As Matthew Henry quotes:
Tatianus the Assyrian, showing the Grecians how all the arts which they valued themselves upon owed their original to those nations which they counted barbarous, thus reasons with them: "For shame, do not call those things eureseis—inventions, which are but mimeseis—imitations."

To conclude, a major application Henry makes is to show us our pride in thinking we came up with something new rather than pursuing what is truly new - new life in Christ. And indeed such mercies are new every morning.

1 comment:

  1. "If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Newton