The war of the church signs–whose side is right?

I received an email from my friend that had a series of signs of two churches discussing (debating?) the question of whether dogs go to Heaven.

My friend asked me this: What do you think, do animals have souls?

I took a stab at putting some thoughts together, and just for fun thought I would share them here.

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What a great question.  I don’t claim to know exactly how this works, but I will give you some of my thoughts.

I think that God made man in a manner that made people a totally different type of being than the animals.

Only on man did He breathe His own breath, only man was created in His image, and only man has the capacity to choose to repent of sin and follow God.

To me, it makes sense that the Breath of God  (and thus the image of God) is our human spirit.  The same word is used for breath as for Spirit in both Hebrew and Greek, so it shows a picture of God breathing His Spirit into Adam at creation (Gen 2:7)

The way I understand, the spirit of man was totally alive and in face to face communion with God until Adam and Eve sinned.  They were told that if they ate the fruit, they would die.  Their bodies didn’t die for several hundred years, but the spirit–the image of God–died immediately.  This is the part of us that needs to be born again for us to be saved — the human spirit, and this is the part that will live eternally.  We will have some kind of physical body in heaven, but it will a different sort.

Animals are not in need of redemption since they don’t have a God-breathed spirit, and can not make that choice.  True, there are bad animals, but I suspect they have been trained to be mean.  In the same way, animals can be trained to behave well.  (I am mainly talking about domestic animals.  Wild animals in their natural state can of course be very aggressive.)  Outside of movies and animations, I doubt that animals ever repent in the way that we understand.

So in that sense, I don’t think animals have a spirit that can fellowship with God.  However, I see a difference between a soul and spirit, and the Scriptures use different words for these.  The soul for people is the personality, thoughts, feelings, passions, talents etc.  I think this will be part of us still in heaven.  Animals certainly have these attributes, and absolutely are able to sense spiritual activity more readily than most humans.

Would that be the same as a SOUL when used of an animal?  I am not sure. Maybe.  Is there a spirit part of animals?  I tend to think not for the above reasons, at least not an “image of God” spirit.  Many religions talk of animal spirits–but then some also talk about spirits of trees and rocks.

Will animals be in Heaven?  I think there is a good possibility.  There are several scriptures that talk about animals living peacefully in the millenial Kingdom (I couldn’t find the verses–something about the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and a child shall play with a snake.)

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If you want to see the full series of signs and what appears to be true about them, check here.

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Another friend sent me this note:

The verse you are looking for is Isaiah 11: 6-8 NIV or King James
Thank you! My son is always in a dilemma about this and I am going to use this article to try and explain it better to him.
Blessings,
Jami Kling

 

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