“Steve, I know you have a million things going on, but I have a question for you.”
[A million and one, then.]
“It’s the verse about when you are dead you know nothing at all. How did that get translated to we go to heaven and are aware of things? I know there are so many questions that will never be answered…but could you give me some insight on the difference?”
Here’s the Bible quote:
“We know that we will die, but the dead don’t know a thing. Nothing good will happen to them—they are gone and forgotten” (Ecclesiastes 9:5 Contemporary English Version).
Can I get an “Amen”?
King Solomon is said to have written that.
How does that stack up against what Jesus and Paul taught?
Not very doggone well.
“Everyone who has faith in the Son of Man will have eternal life” (John 3:15 CEV).
“If Christ wasn’t raised from the dead, then our preaching is a lie and your faith is a joke…If our faith in the Messiah is good for nothing more than our life here, pity us more than anyone has ever pitied the pitiful” (1 Corinthians 15:14, 19 Casual English Bible).
I’ve read about students of the Bible trying to theologize the ignorance out of Solomon, who was “wiser than anyone else in the world” (1 Kings 4:30-31 CEV).
He wasn’t wise enough. He hadn’t met Jesus.
Jesus somehow changed things.
He taught people about life after death. Try to find people talking about that in the Old Testament. When folks back then talked about dying, most talked about staying dead, like their fathers before them.
Solomon apparently didn’t know about the next life.
If he did, he was working up some strange poetry and metaphor and opportunity for theologizing.
I tend to think he didn’t know what he was talking about.
I know he’s in the Bible. But not every idea expressed in the Bible gets God right. That’s one reason the Bible writers said Jesus came. He needed to introduce people to God and to the Kingdom of God.
Jesus talks about God’s Kingdom all the time. Most of his parables are about it.
So as for Solomon in this one case, no cigar. Hopefully, he knows better now.
Just a reminder of something I said earlier. I’m going to back down on the blogging a bit. I’m juggling lots of balls right now. In addition to paraphrasing the Casual English Bible, I’ve signed contracts on some other projects.
One more thing
If you’re stateside and haven’t gotten a free book from me before, send me an email with the subject “free book.” I’ll put you on a list and pull names out of a box…until I run out of names or run out of books.
I’m done now.