New, old, and now
Biblical verse, ''There is no new thing under the sun,'' is frequently quoted as a truism. One might take comfort that no new and startling creation is about to burst forth onto the world scene and into one's life. On the other hand, is life mere repetition, or worse, a dull sameness?Skip to next paragraph
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Research reveals this saying to be part of Old Testament wisdom literature and the conclusion of a verse in Ecclesiastes: ''The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.'' n1
n1 Ecclesiastes 1:9
In its spiritual significance the statement points to a whole and complete creation. ''Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them,'' Genesis 2:1 states. ''All the host of them'' . . . finished! Though unfathomable by limited, human thought, infinite being is always unfolding from a ''finished'' or complete state. And because being is infinite in nature, it cannot be repetitive but always appears as ''new.'' As these absolute truths are understood and properly utilized, they result in human progress. Whatever we apprehend of this spiritual reality enables us to live and to accomplish in the ever-present now. Now all the good of God's creation is present, and it embraces what appears as both old and new.
This newspaper that you are reading right now, for example, is made up of both old and new. A longtime reader may recognize today's ''new'' banner, similar to that of the paper's earlier years, as something ''old.'' Yet its dimension and value to us is neither as old or new, but as now.
New and old are human concepts. Learning to live in the now, to make today evidence of eternal, unfolding good, irrespective of past or future, demands that we think out from the basis of a whole creation. A creation that has always been and always will be complete. A creation that already includes all. The understanding and application of this great truth in human affairs has tremendous implications.
In Ephesians we are told to put off the ''old man'' and to ''be renewed in the spirit of your mind,'' and to ''put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.'' n2 Taking our understanding of this ''new man'' beyond that of just a changed mortal into an inspired glimpse of the true man, we see that not only has the spiritual universe always been, but that the real spiritual identity of each of us has always been. And not as an isolated, finite person but as the individual and complete expression of the one infinite God.
n2 Ephesians 4:22-24
As we accept this metaphysical viewpoint of being, we find a new depth to our perception of reality as well as a breadth of inclusiveness. We include new people and new ideas as old friends. We welcome change, unafraid of losing something good, and we find the good of other days as present reality, present friends. The good of other years permeates our being right now. This very day.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, contains a Glossary that gives the spiritual meaning of Bible terms. In the definition of ''day'' we read: ''The objects of time and sense disappear in the illumination of spiritual understanding, and Mind measures time according to the good that is unfolded. This unfolding is God's day, and 'there shall be no night there.' '' n3
n3 Science and Healthp. 584
Where there is neither old nor new, we find a day and a now eternally fresh and immensely satisfying. We find whatever constitutes this unfolding ''now'' to be genuinely helpful and progressive for all.
''This is the Lord's doing,'' we may say of all prayer-impelled changes. ''It is marvellous in our eyes,'' as the Psalmist sang thousands of years ago. ''This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.'' n4
n4 Psalms 118:23, 24.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord. Jeremiah 30:17