New International Version Ecclesiastes 12:

7 before the dust returns to the ground from which it came and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

This is confirmed in Act 7:

54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56“Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” ...

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

On the other hand, Isaiah 26:

14 They are now dead, they live no more; their spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them.

This is my question, Ecclesiastes 3:

21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

  • The translation you are using for Isaiah does not accurately reflect the Hebrew. Your highlighted segment comes from ‘rᵊp̄ā'îm’ - which simply doesn’t mean what your translation says.
    – Dave
    Oct 31, 2021 at 18:36
  • Which version would you recommend?
    – user35953
    Oct 31, 2021 at 18:39
  • I don’t advocate any particular translation. I was commenting that the one you use here is inaccurate. Essentially Isaiah 26:14 is talking about the spirits of the (dead) raphaim - not human (man’s) spirit. This is clear from the Hebrew.
    – Dave
    Oct 31, 2021 at 18:46
  • In this case, which translation would you recommend from biblehub.com/parallel/isaiah/26-14.htm ?
    – user35953
    Oct 31, 2021 at 18:50
  • That link leads to a very interesting resource, it makes translation differences very clear - thanks! I would recommend those that indicate this verse is not talking about ‘human’ spirits, and there certainly are a few. For example, Young’s literal.
    – Dave
    Oct 31, 2021 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


According to King James we have in Galatians 5:22 the following:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.

Then, it's not hard to verify that the word spirit in this context is different from that you have pointed out, which is Isaiah 26:14; in this case spirit simply means the soul, which in this case isn't saved, the soul of the lords that are not The Lord as it says in the verse 13 of the same chapter:

13 O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.

As it's written in 2 Corinthians 3:18, G'd is the Spirit, then the Spirit never dies, since He is Life, the Eternal:

18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Another view of this can be found, spirit meaning soul:

80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

obs.: a good observation is to perceive if spirit is written with capital letters or not, even though there's a possibility of a mistake along the translation

  • You say "the Spirit never dies" and "spirit meaning soul" but Ezekiel 18:4 says "the soul that sinneth, it shall die". How can that be?
    – agarza
    Oct 30, 2021 at 17:38
  • Yes, exactly, the soul that sinns shall die, but the Spirit which isn't the soul, never dies. Ezekiel is correct then. Oct 30, 2021 at 17:46
  • @João Víctor Melo Hi Victor, welcome to BH-Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. Please be sure to take the site tour and read our code of conduct. Thanks! Oct 31, 2021 at 10:23
  • I'd be wary of using capitals to decide what a word refers to - at best it tells you what the translator thought it meant. This is where sound exegesis can be really helpful
    – Steve can help
    Oct 31, 2021 at 16:59

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