The thing that has 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.
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Augustine of Hippo
There are some people who want to twist even a famous passage in the book of Solomon, called Ecclesiastes, into a defense of these recurring cycles of universal dissolution and reevocation of the past: “What is it that has been? The same thing that shall be. What is it that has been done? The same that shall be done. Nothing under the sun is new, neither is anyone able to say, ‘Behold, this is new,’ for it has already gone before in the ages that were before us.” But here Solomon was speaking either of things he had just been discussing—the succession of generations, the revolution of the sun, the course of rivers—or, at any rate, of those creatures in general that come to life and die. For example, there were people before us, they are with us now, and they shall come after us. And the same is true of animals and plants. Even monstrosities that are abnormal at birth, different as they are among themselves and, in certain cases, unique, nevertheless, inasmuch as they come under the hea...
Let none of those listening think that there is a longwinded and meaningless repetition of words in the distinction between what has come to be and what has been made. The text points out in each of the expressions the difference between the soul and the flesh. The soul has come to be, and the body has been made. It is not because the words have two different meanings that the text uses this distinction of terminology for each of the things referred to. But [it does so] to enable you to reckon what is advantageous in each case. The soul came to be in the beginning the same as it will again appear hereafter, when it has been purified. The body shaped by the hands of God was made what the resurrection of the dead in due time will reveal it to be. For such as you may see it after the resurrection of the dead, just such it was made at the first. The resurrection of the dead is nothing but the complete restoration of the original state.