The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 9:5:

"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten."

If an individual loses all knowledge after death, would it not mean that they no longer know or understand the gospel? Consequently, wouldn't this imply that they cease to believe in the gospel? The Bible also says in Revelation 21:8:

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

Given this, I've been seeking scripture that suggests our spiritual nature continues to believe in the gospel even after death, but I've yet to find anything directly supporting this concept.

I request an answer from the Baptist viewpoint.

  • 1
    I think you’re taking Ecclesiastes far too literal in this case. The writer is commenting on the vanities of the material world (like the pursuit of knowledge) and so he’s likely using hyperbolic language to emphasize how it is all gone to the wind after death.
    – Luke Hill
    Jul 28 at 16:30
  • Welcome to Christianity.SE! and thank you for your contribution. Please edit in which denomination you would like an answer since not all faiths have the same beliefs. Also, when you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others. I would also recommend reading the Help Center's sections on asking and answering questions.
    – agarza
    Jul 28 at 16:56

1 Answer 1


This link is to the American Southern Baptist current stance on hell: https://www.baptistpress.com/resource-library/sbc-life-articles/hell-the-place-of-everlasting-punishment/#:~:text=The%20Baptist%20Faith%20and%20Message%202000%20%28BF%26M%29%20upholds,to%20hell%20and%20receiving%20the%20righteous%20into%20heaven.

Part of it states:

“Currently, there are several evangelical resources available to Southern Baptists that describe the historic position concerning the nature, the duration of punishment, the type of punishment that the unrighteous endure, and the overall purpose of hell (for a scholarly treatment, see Hell Under Fire; for a brief but thorough treatment, see Is Hell for Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven?; and for a quick summary, see What is Hell?, all edited by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson). The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (BF&M) upholds what is called the “historic” position on hell with its assertion that “Christ will judge all men in righteousness,” consigning the unrighteous to hell and receiving the righteous into heaven. The BF&M does not hold to this position because it is the “historical” position, but rather because a clear reading of Scripture shows this position to be true and accurate.”

The concluding summary in this link states:

“When all of the images and pictures are gathered together in order to understand the doctrine of hell from the storyline of Scripture, the BF&M aptly, yet sadly, states, “The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment.” It is a place of eternal punishment and torment where God metes out His wrath against sin.”

However, the OPs question is based on the assumption that “If an individual loses all knowledge after death, would it not mean that they no longer know or understand the gospel? Consequently, wouldn't this imply that they cease to believe in the gospel?” That text in Ecclesiastes only speaks of physical bodies that die having no knowledge, and being unable to do any work. The human brain, which ‘holds’ all our knowledge and knowledge of our experiences, has no life left in it and begins to rot just as the dead flesh of the corpse begins to rot. Yet the writer of Ecclesiastes did not leave the matter at that!

His conclusion in the last chapter of his book was that young people should enjoy life, and work, but to remember their Creator before old age and its various miseries arrived, “before the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (12:1-7). The last verse states the reason, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

That was written long before Christ came. After his death and resurrection, Bible writers explained the full understanding of how God’s judgment worked in relation to sinners, so that repentant ones would ‘pass over from death to life’ by putting faith (belief and trust) in what Jesus had done (John 5:24 & 6:39-40 & 47), while the rest who never believed in the gospel would find themselves in hell. Only those who believe in “soul annihilation” would think no memory or knowledge remained in any state after death. But Baptists (and all mainstream Christians) believe the spirit returns to God and the soul finds themselves in the presence of Christ. As the apostle Paul said, when torn between the idea of dying, or remaining alive on Earth:

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle [the body] were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven… that mortality might be swallowed up of life… Therefore we are always confident , knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight). We are confident and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ… Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things be passed away; behold, all thongs are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-17 A.V.

While believers are alive in the flesh, they “walk by faith” but the instant they are in the spirit, they will see the one who saved them, and rejoice! Their belief (faith) will be confirmed by the reality of being with Christ in glory, as he promised they would be (John 17:20-24 & 6:40, 47). The Revelation 21:8 verse applies only to all such who never believed the gospel up to the point of their physical death.

The idea put forward as the basis for this question could well be used by those who believe the soul / spirit is annihilated at the point of physical death. But if everyone ceased to believe the gospel at death, nobody would get to heaven, to be with Christ! That would make a total mockery of everything said in the New Testament. You could use the link provided here to key in 'soul annihilation' to find out why that has never been mainstream Christian teaching.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .