Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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dogemperor [userpic]
Ecclesiastes 3:18-21

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]jehovahsfitness)

Often Christians use the creation accounts in Genesis to justify domination of animals and the natural world in general. However, I noticed this interesting tidbit in the Book of Ecclesiastes the other day:

"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." (Ecc 3:19 KJV, emphasis mine)

The world "breath" is of particular note. I'd say the translators fudged this one to maintain the previously mentioned view that humans are superior to animals. The original Hebrew "ruach" can be translated as "breath" but is more often rendered as "spirit". In fact, two verses down (in an equally interesting passage) "ruach" is translated as "spirit":

"Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?" (Ecc 3:21 KJV)

or more clearly:

"Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?" (NIV)

After all, humans are animals too: "I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts." (Ecc 3:18)