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By shantaislam38 Dec 03, 2013 712 Words
Fatema Begum
WCIV 10100
Professor Wilder

Ecclesiastes On the Hereafter In the book of Ecclesiastes, the Preacher describes all the meaningless luxuries and pleasures of the world. Such worldly pleasures are empty and valueless because one won't be able to take or hold on to it after death. He reveals the dead is unconscious and ones future after death is a mystery, implying there is no life after death. In that sense everything is meaningless in the present life. Thus, the author comes to a conclusion that without God, there is no truth or meaning to life. The teacher of Ecclesiastes looks back at his own life and shares all that he tried to find satisfaction in. From property, women, wealth to wisdom and philosophy he gave himself whatever his heart desired. However, he realized that all pleasures are meaningless. It was just a temporary distraction. Everything is left behind at death. Same goes for wisdom and knowledge, what's the point of working hard and being wise when the intelligent and ignorant both share the same destiny. Just like the foolish, the wise man too will age and soon be forgotten. Whereas in wealth, its pointless to possess them as well, because after we die, our possessions are to be passed to others. Therefore, being rich or striving to be rich is a waste of time and effort. All these possessions mean nothing in the end, because they will be passed down, as that is the continuous cycle of life and death. Throughout Ecclesiastes, the teacher emphasizes the present, and enjoying life as it is. This indicates that perhaps he didn't believe in an afterlife. He does not directly state that there is no life after death but goes to explain that one should not have any hopes of an afterlife. One should make the best of life because it does not last and death can strike at any time. The author writes it is better to be alive than dead because they lack awareness. He states “for the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten.”(Eccles. 9.5-6)The fact that the author writes dead people have no further reward might mean he does not believe in heaven. Although he does mention heaven in Ecclesiastes quite a few times, he never says thats where all souls all ultimately go. Furthermore, the teacher declares everyone shares the same fate, whether one is wicked or righteous. This signifies that there is no punishment after death or in other words there's no hell. If there is no heaven or hell after death clearly this means no one will be judged or be held in account for what they have done throughout life. After death, rewards and punishment have come to an end. On Eccles. 9.10-11, the author says Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. This dismisses the idea of a soul living forever. Its saying work with all your might because once death hits the soul dies and is cut off from all worldly matters. The dead have no idea whats going on and take no part in anything. The living have hope rather than the dead because they no longer contribute to anything. Anyone who is among the living has hope —even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!(Eccles. 9.4-5) The author of Ecclesiastes would not have stated all this if he believed that the dead would rise again. He seems to be saying enjoy what you have while you can, because life is not going to last forever. Clearly the author does not believe in an afterlife. The Book of Ecclesiastes addresses the importance of living a meaningful life by placing God in the center of ones heart. Many people strive to be wealthy or educated but that is all meaningless in the authors eyes. He believes strongly in the fact that our accomplishments, wealth, and materials mean nothing after death thus implying there is no afterlife. He concludes by saying enjoy life but always acknowledge and remember God.

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