19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
ESV - 19 For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.
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Some commentaries on this verse that I have read state that Solomon was speaking from the perspective of one "under the sun" -- that is, from a naturalistic point of view, apart from divine revelation. That accounts for the apparent denial of an afterlife of the disembodied soul. (However, other theological writers take this verse as supporting a view that there is no afterlife until the resurrection at the close of the age.) I personally would recommend the book Journey Out of Time by the late Dr. Arthur C. Custance (which is fully viewable at no charge online) for a sound discussion of this subject.
I would say if the verse says that humans and beast have the same fate in dying, then it is true, for Hebrews 9:27, tells us it is appointed unto man or humans Once to Die.so we know beasts die and we know humans die.However the verse as has been stated is written by King Solomon in terms of him as in a Humanistic view, sees all as vanity because all creatures do die. Genesis 2:7 tells us God formed a body of Adam from the Dust, then breathed life int that body Himself. Genesis 1:24-25 says God created the animals and Genesis 7:15 tells us all the creatures who entered Ark had the breathe of life in them.So in this respect humans and animals have two characteristics alike, both have Bodies and both have breathe of life or Soul. The Soul is the seat of thought, emotion, and will. The body is the vessel that houses the soul. Now here is where I believe there comes a difference, apart from the Body and Soul is in Humans the Spirit, because humans are created in the Image of God.1 Thessalonians 5:23, tells us there is these three aspects to humans.The Spirit is not mentioned about animals. When Adam sinned the Spirit was thus corrupted by that Sin and this corruption is passed on to each human, until he or she is Born Again as Jesus tells us we must be.John 3:7-8.This is referred to as the Sin Nature. Summing up, Humans have a Dead Spirit until they are Born Again, but the Spirit will exist either with God if Born Again or separate from God if not, experiencing the Second Death Revelation 2:11 and Revelation 20:6.The spirit being joined to the body in the resurrection of the body.1 Corinthians 15:13. Will animals be in Heaven, I think,yes, but not because of being born again, but because of God's decree.
According to the Scriptures, all living creatures received life from God the same way and are subject to the same fate (Gen 2:7, 19; 7:15). Both human and beast "have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts (Eccl 3:19). And since humans and beasts have one breath, they also die the same way. Both humans and animals were created from dust and when they die they return again to dust; the reverse of Creation process (Gen 3:19). Paul tells that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" which gives confidence that all Bible is God’s word “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16 NKJV). In light of this knowledge, the only logical interpretation for Ecclesiastes 3:19 is that man’s fate is the same as that of animals - doctrine collaborated by other Bible texts indicating that humans, just as animals, were not created with immortal souls (Gen 2:16-17; 3:22, 24 Rom 6:23) “We should learn to view our death in the right light, so that we need not become alarmed on account of it, as unbelief does; because in Christ it is indeed not death, but a fine, sweet and brief sleep, which brings us release from this vale of tears, from sin and from the fear and extremity of real death and from all the misfortunes of this life, and we shall be secure and without care, rest sweetly and gently for a brief moment, as on a sofa, until the time when he shall call and awaken us together with all his dear children to his eternal glory and joy.” Martin Luther (1493-1546) - A Compend of Luther's Theology, Hugh Thomson Ker, Jr., p. 242.
I am persuaded that each verse, chapter and book of the Scripture has the following: First, an audience it was addressing at that time, secondly, a generational config and thirdly a definite message. Though complemented by other scriptures, the message of this verse to me is to compare man and beast from the biological life perspective: Biological breathing and seizure (death)of the breathing. This is common sense. No new revelation. Man and Beast are both subjected to the environment, climate and the natural laws of the natural Earth in which they found themselves.
We must take this and all other scripture in context and against the background of its broader setting. The Book of Ecclesiastes is written by King Solomon near the end of his life. He has tasted the goodness of God, the pleasures and powers of this world, and the bitterness of his own failures. The book is philosophical in tone and mainly reflects the disillusionment of the writer. Vv 19 the writer here makes the observation that both men and beasts die. True. Vv 20 again confirms or repeats that in the matter of ultimately dying, man has the same fate as beasts and all flesh decays and returns to dust again. True. Vv 21 here the writer at least acknowledges that man has a spirit (or is a spirit) and confesses his ignorance of where the spirit of man goes after dying. He merely suspects that there is a destination. This is the difference between philosophy and doctrine. Philosophy leads to conjecture. Doctrine reveals truth. Fortunately neither King Solomon nor Ecclesiastes is the last word on the matter of the believer's eternal destiny. The Old Testament writers said very little about the afterlife. Not until the New Testament did God reveal details about Heaven and Hell. John 14 :1-6 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 1 John 5: 12 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." The wealth of scripture contained in the Word of God regarding eternal life is far too rich and expansive to even try try to show here. Be like the noble Bereans …. search the scriptures every day to see if these things are so. Acts 17 :11
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