Job 7:9—Does this verse contradict the Bible’s teaching about resurrection?

Problem: The Scriptures teach that all people will be raised bodily from the tomb (cf. Dan. 12:2; 1 Cor. 15:22; Rev. 20:4–6). Indeed, Jesus said that one day “all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth” (John 5:28–29). However, Job seems to say just the opposite, when he wrote: “he who goes down to the grave does not come up” (cf. also Job 14:12; Isa. 26:14; Amos 8:14).

Solution: As the first set of passages clearly reveals, there will be a resurrection of all the dead, both the just and the unjust (Acts 24:15; cf. John 5:28–29). Job himself expressed belief in the resurrection, declaring, “After my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:26). What he meant when he spoke of someone going down to the grave and not coming up (7:9) is explained in the very next verse. “He shall never return to his house” (v. 10). In other words, those who die do not return to their mortal lives again. Indeed, the resurrection is to an immortal life (1 Cor. 15:53), not to the same mortal life one had before.

Job 14:12 does not deny there will be any resurrection, but simply that there will be none until “the heavens are no more,” that is until the end of the age. But, that is precisely when the resurrection will take place, namely “at the time of the end” (Dan. 11:40; cf. 12:1–2; John 11:24). In fact, the passage actually teaches resurrection. For Job simply spoke of being hidden in the grave by God until an appointed time when God would again remember him (14:13) in the resurrection.

Likewise, the Isaiah passage (Isa. 26:14) does not deny the resurrection. Here too the resurrection is affirmed in the succeeding verse which states clearly, “Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise” (v. 19). Obviously, then verse 14 means “they will not live” until the resurrection. The memory of the wicked will perish from the earthly scene. Not until the heavenly scene dawns will they be raised again.

Also, some texts which may appear to deny the resurrection (e.g., Amos 8:14) simply refer to the enemies of God falling, never to rise to oppose Him. They will never resume their former sway over God’s people. In short, God overthrew them irretrievably.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.