Psalms 88:10-12 10 Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do their spirits rise up and praise you? 11 Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction? 12 Are your wonders known in the place of darkness, or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion? "The living may indite 'meditations among the Tombs', but the dead know nothing, and therefore can declare nothing." -- C.H. Spurgeon
ESV - 11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
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I think that this is only an apparent contradiction in the Bible. Yes, it is true that Psalm 88:11 and Ecclesiastes 9:5 both SEEM to teach that the dead know nothing. But what about 2 Corinthians 5:8? --2 Corinthians 5:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)" "we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." The passage assumes that the dead are conscious, conscious of the Lord (Php 1:20-note, Php 1:21, Php 1:22, 23; Lk. 23:43; Acts 7:59); otherwise departure from the body would be a worse condition, with regard to Him, than being in the body. (Plummer, A. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians. 1915. New York: Scribner). This is Alfred Plummer. And this, 2 Corinthians 5:8 is only one of many passages that speak of souls being conscious after death (e.g., 2 Sam. 12:23; 2 Cor. 5:8, Luke 16:19-31) –In Christ’s account of the rich man and Lazarus we have the matter summed up and settled that the soul is conscious after death. Both men died and were buried. Though their bodies were in the graves, each of them was alive and conscious. The rich man in Hell could see, hear, speak, and feel (Luke 16:19-31). The citation of a few New Testament verses make it clear that man’s conscious existence is endless. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose (Matthew 27:52). Please notice how the Holy Spirit says that the “bodies” slept. Jesus said: Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep... Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead (John 11:11, 14). Death to our Lord was never anything more than sleep. It is a figure of speech that the Bible applies, for there is never a pause in our consciousness. It was the body of Lazarus that was dead. It was his body that Martha said “stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.” When Jesus said plainly that Lazarus was dead, He could mean only his body, for when He added: “I go, that I may awake Him out of sleep,” He did this by raising the body of Lazarus from death and the grave. We read in verse forty-four: “And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes.” The part of Lazarus that was dead was that part of him that was bound “hand and foot, and his face.” Warren Wiersbe cites John 11:11, too, saying “sleep” symbolizes natural death. The body may sleep (in death), but the soul never sleeps in death. There is no such thing as soul-sleep!
The Bible is abundantly clear on the state of the dead: the dead know nothing, are asleep, there is no consciousness. "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten." (Eccl 9:5, 6, 10). “The dead do not praise the Lord” (Ps 115:17). "When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish" (Ps 146:4). "So a man lies down and rises not again; till the heavens are no more he will not awake or be roused out of his sleep" (Job 14:12).
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