This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I started this on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed blogging from that book on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. Since then, I have begun adding material from his Bible commentaries. I also re-blog many of the old posts.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

An Utterance Uninspired

QUESTION: Explain Ecclesiastes 3:19-21: "For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them; as one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; and man hath no pre-eminence above the beasts; for all is vanity. All go into one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man, whether it goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast, whether it goeth downward to the earth?"

ANSWER: The whole Bible is inspired in its record, and some parts are inspired in their utterances; for instance, all that Job said, while nearly half the book of Job is the record of his so-called comforters who "did not speak the thing that is right," and, of course, were not inspired in their utterance. But for the benefit of the world God wished the whole discussion be put on record. The entire book of Ecclesiastes contains very little Gospel, but much pessimism, yet it is valuable as showing what human reason can do without divine revelation. It puts man on a level with the beasts. Says Prof. Moulton, in his wonderfully illuminating book, "The Modern Reader's Bible," respecting the authorship of Ecclesiastes, "its local and historic color, position in literary development, minutæ of language, fix the date of a book as clearly as handwriting betrays the age of a manuscript, all point to a period of writing centuries later than Solomon." He and many others think that some centuries afterwards some writer personating Solomon (as Plato speaks in the name of Socrates), "as the one personage who united the supreme forms of wealth, of wisdom and of power," affording the most striking contrast with the despair of a broken-hearted debauchee whom he is portraying after the style of a dramatist. Says Moulton, "Every second sentence is a literary puzzle." This is a poor place to find convincing proof texts in support of any theological dogma. Believing as I do that the Bible contains the infallible directory to eternal life, I must pronounce every declaration denying immortality an utterance uninspired.

Steele's Answers pp. 23, 24.

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