Did "our technology" exist in ages past?


#1

“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun? That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, ‘See this, it is new’? Already it has existed for ages which were before us. There is no remembrance of earlier things, and also of the later things which will occur; there will be for them no remembrance among those who will come later still.”
–Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, 7-11

Consider the last time you forgot something considered insightful but came to remember it at a later date. Had the insight been forgotten in a complete state of amnesia, you would likely think that you were discovering the insight for the first time. Consider the possibility that mankind is now experiencing a state of amnesia. Perhaps our “discoveries” here on earth are not really our discoveries after all.


#2

OK, so that means that our whole solar system could be like one tiny atom in the fingernail of some other giant being. This is nuts! That means that one tiny atom in my fingernail could be…
…could be one tiny little universe!

That must be some good spleef you got there dude.


#3

May I ask what it is you’re trying to say? What does what you say have to do with Ecclesiastes?


#4

#5

Various kinds. I’m not saying the Ancient Sumerians had high-speed internet, or satellite tv, or a lunar lander, but it’s pretty easy to find examples. Trepanning, for example, was done in prehistory. The ancient Greeks had microletters on their ancient coins as anti-counterfeit devices, which were invisible to the naked eye, but were visible with magnification. The ancient Egyptians could predict the gender of an unborn baby based on the chemistry content of the pregnant mother’s urine, which was about 70% accurate. And so on.

But I don’t think that’s what Ecclesiastes is referring to. :wink:


#6

There are some out there who believe that our earthly human civilization is not the first advanced one, and that history is not what we think it is or what we have been taught, is that what you are getting at?
To be honest, the Bible does tell us there was a civilization that existed before the Flood, and we mostly look at it as an Iron Age type civilization with very few people, but some have suggested that perhaps it was much more advance. They say things like look at the Pyramids, Natzca lines, ect.
It’s an interesting thought to be sure.
(some have even suggested we’ve been in space before, suggesting there are artificial structures on Mars, ect,)


#7

Brilliant idea for a thread, Robert!

It appears a lot of technology had to be left behind, or only rescued in fragments, when the Sunda Sea and the Black Sea filled up, post Ice Age. (Sea rises had rapid as well as slow phases.)

The findings of research vessels on the odd occasion they could be spared from mineral exploration, taken together with other bodies of knowledge, support this.

Findings that aren’t considered to support the “evolutionary view of history” can get ignored somewhat.

Of course there is a progressive or incremental element to technological change, within its context.

It’s also impossible to know whether we have re-duplicated something that some people had earlier or are only going in fresh directions.

This may or may not be part of what the writer of Ecclesiastes meant. I think he certainly meant the course of nature and of human nature.


#8

The writer meant human nature, of course. Nothing we’re experiencing today is New. Kids always feel like they’re experiencing everything for the first time. Like everything is starting with them. Cute idea.

And how many Times do we hear that we’re Modern today - what the heck does that mean?

I don’t see any progress in human nature and don’t expect to!

Fran


#9

The ancients were 100% more advanced that mainstream science gives them credit for. Pre-flood humans may have been pretty advanced.

However, I doubt we’ve been in space before. I doubt they reached the technology levels of the 19th and 20th centuries. The technology required for that would be great and would most likely have left some clues (unless 100% destroyed by volcanos, nuclear explosions or totally buried by the flood).

The Egyptians may have had lightbulbs, but I doubt humans blasted off into space. However, it is also very possible (and probable) that they had some technologies that we currently do not.

But again, as someone has mentioned, I seriously doubt that’s what the Bible is talking about.


#10

Robert,
Does your parish offer Scripture study?
You should go.
This is precisely why so many denominations get their “interpretations” wrong.
They want to insert various meanings where they were not intended.

It’s about the human condition.


#11

I wonder about everything. As God has created everything who is to say that there were not alternative accounts od history. That would not negate creation or take away from scripture. So…I just wonder…about everything. Peace.


#12

The verse in particular is referring to human nature, as well as history’s tendency to repeat itself to some extent. The pain of heartbreak is a cliche example. Few teenagers are emotionally and psychologically mature enough to understand that, yes, their parents do in fact know exactly what they’re talking about and that they had very similar experiences growing up. This is true of much of humanity. It is an error to believe that oneself is the only person who understands something. Humans are far more similar than we like to admit.

The same is true on a global scale. Humans have been starting wars over the same concepts since the dawn of time and making the same errors for ages. Eventually, a generation forgets the mistakes of the past and repeats them again, thinking that they will definitely succeed because they have technology, or whatever concept you want to use in place of that. Even the Church has dealt with the same basic variations on heretical ideas since her beginning. Namely, the idea that one doesn’t need God, rules are just there to hold you back, God told you a lie, so here, eat the apple, you can trust me, I actually know what I’m talking about!

At the end of the day, no idea is truly novel, especially at this point in history. Even if no one technically did it before, all of our ideas tend to be drawn from Creation in some way, otherwise they wouldn’t function. One of the biggest problems I have with so many of these “ancient master race” ideologies is the erroneous belief that ancient humans were somehow too unintelligent to build the pyramids or too primitive to build Stonehenge or too stupid to understand modern scientific concepts. If you were to take a child from 600 BC to the present and put them in a US school, they’d be just as intelligent as any other child from the US. Everyone is unique, but no one is truly as novel as they like to think they are.


#13

This is spot on. Disjunctions in social continuity, with people suddenly turning up in another country, were nothing new even then.


#14

Excuse me, but what makes you think I believe this? It’s noteworthy, and something I often wonder about. You can take that passage to mean a lot of things, and I’m presenting it in its literal form.

Why do you think it pertains to the human condition?


#15
  1. You advanced it.
  2. It’s not just my opinion
  3. “you can take it to mean a lot of things” No. You really can’t. You can’t/shouldn’t turn a poem or a song in to a literal interpretation. That was not the writer’s intent.
  4. scripture scholars agree on this.
  5. Because it’s the explanation that makes sense.

#16

The above is for Pianstclare, but in her defense - she’s absolutely right. If you’re just thinking out loud, fine. Every now and then we need a “pause” on these serious threads. But if you really mean it, do the following:

Read Kurisu’s post no. 12. It’s excellent and addresses what the passage in Ecclesiastes is about.

Fran


#17

I’m surprised no one mentioned “The Flintstones”! They had technology.


#18

:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:


#19

It’s noteworthy, and something I often wonder about. You can take that passage to mean a lot of things, and I’m presenting it in its literal form. I neither agree or disagree with it.


#20

Thanks! I feel like the majority of people tend to forget that everyone (for the most part) experiences the same emotions and reactions to things, and instead tend to convince themselves that everyone who they don’t know personally is essentially a background extra in a movie with no real bearing on the plot. In actuality, every single stranger you see one day and then never run into again has an entire life just as emotionally significant as your own, we just aren’t aware of it unless we actively get to know them.

Psychologically speaking, of course, that’s impossible for us to actually conceptualize, just like how hearing about one person dying in a freak accident affects us more, emotionally speaking, than hearing about 6 million people dying in a genocide. We can barely conceptualize knowing 100 people better than acquaintances, much less 6 million.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.