Classified as one of the Bible’s great wisdom books, The Book of Ecclesiastes deals with deep questions about God, human life and our environment. Perplexing questions such as does the body have a soul? Is life meaningless? Can the outcomes of life be changed? And in this passage, it compares and contrasts the fate of human life with animal life.
It starts by questioning as to what is feasible and available for humans to know. After all, only God is omniscient (all-seeing) and can know what happens to the hidden things after death occurs . That’s why the different destinations that an animal and human might experience in their journey at the end of their life is an important one to consider. In one instance, the return of animals into the earth (a created state) from whence they came seems like an obvious outcome considering they have come from earth they to that they will return.
But what of humans? Are we the same? Do we live and die a spiritual death or is there more to life than that? The question as to whether anyone knows if the human spirit rises upwards or downwards is important because at the core of this christian understanding is the state of the soul and what outcome may occur at the end of our physical life on earth? Of course, this final state is measured in a variety of ways: some by people making death bed confessions as to how they have failed God. Others, in how they trusted God and chose to believe that the God who beings mercy into proceedings, will deliver on what has been promised and cause those who have believed in Jesus to rise to heaven for His Glory Sake.