Humans and animals (Eccl 3:18-3:21)

“I said in my heart

With regard to humans

That God is testing them

To show

That they are but animals.

‘The fate of humans,

The fate of animals

Is the same.

As one dies,

So does the other.

They all have the same breath.

Humans have no advantage

Over the animals.

All is vanity.

All go to one place.

All are from dust.

All turn to dust again.

Who knows

Whether the human spirit

Goes upward?

Who knows

Whether the spirit of animals

Goes downward to the earth?’”

Qoheleth makes a comparison of humans to animals. He does not see much difference. They both share the same fate. They both die. The humans try in vain to show that they more than animals. However, they have no advantage, since all is vanity. They both come from and go to dust. Do they go to the same place? Do humans really go up and animals go down? Qoheleth sees a spirit in both humans and animals. So we are left with this dilemma of the afterlife of humans and animals.