What is a soul?
- To define what is a soul, let’s use a human perspective. As humans are comprised of three parts, body, soul, and spirit.
- “May God Himself, the God of Peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
- Your body is your physical shell, and your spirit is the part of you that allows you to connect and commune with God.
- Your soul is where your mind, will, and emotions live.
- “Our soul is our personality, who we are. With our soul we think, reason, consider, remember, and wonder. We experience emotions like happiness, love, sorrow, anger, relief, and compassion. And we’re able to resolve, choose, and make decisions.” – Bibles for America Post
Do animals have souls?
- People will often use the term soul and spirit interchangeably, and how you use the word will determine how you answer the question do animals have souls.
- If you are equating the soul with the spirit, then one would say that animals don’t have souls. If you are defining the soul as we did above as the place where your emotions flow out of, where you think, reason, and make decisions, then absolutely animals have souls.
- Animals can think, reason, sense danger, experience happiness, sadness, and all of the things we mentioned in our definition of the soul.
- If you are or have ever been a pet owner, you know the joy that comes over your pet when you come home and they haven’t seen you all day. You also know the look on their face when they have done something they know they should not have.
- These are intentional emotions which flow out of the soul.
- If you have seen an animal hunt for food, protect their young ones in the wild, even mourn loss – these are all emotions that come out of the soul.
- One would argue that these are clear evidence that animals have souls.
What does the Bible say about animals?
- According to Hillel, Natural History, the Bible records over 150 species of animals.
- One of the chapters that has an exhaustive list of animals is Leviticus 11 which I encourage you to read. In addition, God often would use the imagery of an animal in how he would describe other things.
- “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
- “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
- All throughout Scripture you will find this type of imagery and there will be various times where God where God will use animals as part of His plan for sacrifice, for service, even for deliverance.
Do animals go to Heaven?
- To answer this question properly, you have to make the distinction between human life and animal life. This distinction is seen in creation.
- When you read Genesis, there are two great differences between the way God created animals and the way God created humans.
- “And God said. ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.’ And it was so” (Genesis 1:24)
- When God created the animals on the earth, the sky, and the sea, he spoke them into existence. He said let there be and there was.
- “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into His nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7)
- Hopefully you see the difference. Animals were formed by the word of God, and when He spoke they were able to exist and operate I their full capacity.
- Man formed by the hand of God, but it wasn’t until God breathed life or a spirit into man that he became a living being. This is the identifying marker between animals and humans.
- The true life in a human is their spirit. That is why when a person dies, their spirit departs, and their body returns to the form it was in before God breathed life into them.
- Because animals do not have spirits, I don’t believe animals go to heaven when they die.
Will there be any animals in Heaven?
- There is a reason to believe that there will be animals in Heaven.
- Genesis 2 we see that God took Adam and put him in the Garden of Eden to work the garden. Not only were there trees in the garden that were good for food, there were also animals in the garden.
- “Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them: and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. (Genesis 1:19)
- Since Adam existed in the garden it is safe to say that the animals existed there with him.
- When you go to Revelation 22. John sees a picture of God restoring Eden where we now have access to the tree of life, which existed in the original Garden of Eden.
- If God is restoring Eden, then one might say that there is a good possibility that animals will exist in Heaven because God is restoring things back to perfection, like when He first created them.
- If animals existed in the old Eden, then I believe they will exist in heaven as well.