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On whether animals have souls / spirits

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  • On whether animals have souls / spirits

    I've heard it taught that animals do not have souls (or, depending on the teacher, that they do have souls, but not spirits). That can't be proven from Scripture. About the most one can say is that Scripture applies the "image of God" only to humans, not animals.

    My quick bit of research:

    Animals are called "living souls" (chay nephesh) before humans -- Gen. 1:21 vs. Gen. 2:7

    "Ruach" (spirit) is ascribed to God first and to animals at exactly the same time as humans -- Gen. 1:2; 6:3 (God); 6:17 (animals and -- presumably -- humans), 7:15 (animals only), 7:22 (animals and humans).

    The first occurrence of "breath of life" is in regard to humans, and it uses "neshamah" for "breath." The other two OT occurrences use "ruach," and they seem to include both humans and animals. The single NT reference (Rev. 11:11) uses "pneuma," which is usually the preferred Greek equivalent of "ruach"; it is in regard to humans. Gen. 7:22 is interesting and possibly unique, in that it apparently refers to both humans and animals, and uses both "neshamah" and "ruach" combined -- "the breath of the spirit of life." Several places in Job and Isaiah, "ruach" and "neshamah" are placed as poetic parallels. In Gen. 2:7, "neshamah" and "nephesh" are used in the same verse -- one of only two such instances.

    In summary, the words for "soul," "spirit," and "breath (of life)" are used in regard to both humans and animals.

    "Image of God" is never used in regard to animals.
    Fundygelicostalmatic SemiPelagiaGeislArminian Antinomian gender-egalitarian / mutualist.

    "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

  • #2
    Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post
    I've heard it taught that animals do not have souls (or, depending on the teacher, that they do have souls, but not spirits). That can't be proven from Scripture. About the most one can say is that Scripture applies the "image of God" only to humans, not animals.

    My quick bit of research:

    Animals are called "living souls" (chay nephesh) before humans -- Gen. 1:21 vs. Gen. 2:7

    "Ruach" (spirit) is ascribed to God first and to animals at exactly the same time as humans -- Gen. 1:2; 6:3 (God); 6:17 (animals and -- presumably -- humans), 7:15 (animals only), 7:22 (animals and humans).

    The first occurrence of "breath of life" is in regard to humans, and it uses "neshamah" for "breath." The other two OT occurrences use "ruach," and they seem to include both humans and animals. The single NT reference (Rev. 11:11) uses "pneuma," which is usually the preferred Greek equivalent of "ruach"; it is in regard to humans. Gen. 7:22 is interesting and possibly unique, in that it apparently refers to both humans and animals, and uses both "neshamah" and "ruach" combined -- "the breath of the spirit of life." Several places in Job and Isaiah, "ruach" and "neshamah" are placed as poetic parallels. In Gen. 2:7, "neshamah" and "nephesh" are used in the same verse -- one of only two such instances.

    In summary, the words for "soul," "spirit," and "breath (of life)" are used in regard to both humans and animals.

    "Image of God" is never used in regard to animals.
    Animals dont have souls, they ARE souls, just as you ARE a soul, soul = person, the being, and God IS a soul he is a being.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by adams off ox View Post
      Animals dont have souls, they ARE souls, just as you ARE a soul, soul = person, the being, and God IS a soul he is a being.
      I think that is probably easier to support in the OT.

      In Greek, the word translated "soul" is "psuche" or "psyche." In the NT, it is in some cases a very integral "thing" that can be "lost" or "laid down" by the person -- e.g. Matt. 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; John 10:11, 15, 17; 12:25. Many places in the NT, "soul" is viewed as something the person "has."
      Fundygelicostalmatic SemiPelagiaGeislArminian Antinomian gender-egalitarian / mutualist.

      "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

      Comment


      • #4
        Norrin/Surfer, you expressed it well in your OP. A person or animal has a nepesh / soul while animated and alive, and dies physically when the soul is absent from the physical body. Think of the soul as breath and the spirit as (ambient) wind. John 3 indicates that a human soul that is born anew from above in God's Spirit becomes eternal.

        Respectfully,
        -Theophilus

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        • #5
          i love my pets.
          People misinterpret my passion for anger. -Charlie Sheen

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          • #6
            Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post
            I've heard it taught that animals do not have souls (or, depending on the teacher, that they do have souls, but not spirits). That can't be proven from Scripture. About the most one can say is that Scripture applies the "image of God" only to humans, not animals.

            My quick bit of research:

            Animals are called "living souls" (chay nephesh) before humans -- Gen. 1:21 vs. Gen. 2:7

            "Ruach" (spirit) is ascribed to God first and to animals at exactly the same time as humans -- Gen. 1:2; 6:3 (God); 6:17 (animals and -- presumably -- humans), 7:15 (animals only), 7:22 (animals and humans).

            The first occurrence of "breath of life" is in regard to humans, and it uses "neshamah" for "breath." The other two OT occurrences use "ruach," and they seem to include both humans and animals. The single NT reference (Rev. 11:11) uses "pneuma," which is usually the preferred Greek equivalent of "ruach"; it is in regard to humans. Gen. 7:22 is interesting and possibly unique, in that it apparently refers to both humans and animals, and uses both "neshamah" and "ruach" combined -- "the breath of the spirit of life." Several places in Job and Isaiah, "ruach" and "neshamah" are placed as poetic parallels. In Gen. 2:7, "neshamah" and "nephesh" are used in the same verse -- one of only two such instances.

            In summary, the words for "soul," "spirit," and "breath (of life)" are used in regard to both humans and animals.

            "Image of God" is never used in regard to animals.

            We know that we have a soul because there are characteristics of our experience that are not shared with the characteristics of matter. We have freewill, and can choose our path of action, whilst matter follows fixed paths of causation. We have purposes and preferences, whilst matter has no preferences.

            Unfortunately, all of the characteristics of human experience from which we infer a soul, are also shared by at least some animals. Therefore it is most probable that animals also have souls.

            Whatsmore, those who have had near death experiences testify that heaven is a dimension or world that contains more than just human souls. It has trees, animals and plants. It is a paradise that contains all living things.

            It therefore seems apparent that animals do have souls, and that we should treat them with consideration, making sure our farms afford them pleasant living conditions and a minimum of suffering where possible.

            It is also most likely true that our complicity as consumers in the treatment of factory farmed animals, will be taken into account when we are judged by God. People may have good excuses, but nevertheless our contribution to their suffering will be taken into account.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post
              Animals are called "living souls" (chay nephesh) before humans -- Gen. 1:21 vs. Gen. 2:7
              Right, a soul no spirit (Ge 9:6). I'm sure my little Bar' Bar' will go in the rapture because heaven wouldn't be heaven without him. He's gone to prepare a dog house for us (Jn 14:2).
              Last edited by serpentdove; 07-27-17, 03:40 PM.
              "Being a square keeps you from going around in circles." ~ J. Vernon McGee
              Ro 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 10:9, 10:13

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post

                I think that is probably easier to support in the OT.

                In Greek, the word translated "soul" is "psuche" or "psyche." In the NT, it is in some cases a very integral "thing" that can be "lost" or "laid down" by the person -- e.g. Matt. 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; John 10:11, 15, 17; 12:25. Many places in the NT, "soul" is viewed as something the person "has."
                There are only two verses that I know of that support the position that a person has a soul, rather than is a soul.

                In regards to animals they have a spirit, just as man does, and a body, just as man does, which I think most animal lovers would agree is a unique "individual" distinct from other's of the same species.

                Apart from this...


                Ecclesiastes 3:21 King James Version (KJV)

                21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?


                ...we don't have much to go on in regards to the fate of the spirit of animals. This is spoken in a context where his point is that all die physically, both man and beast. It may well be that the "going up" and going down" simply distinguishes the difference between man and beast, rather than a statement that the spirits of animals dissipate. I would also point out that Hebrews makes the case that entrance to Heaven was made possible through the Work of Christ, so it is unlikely that the writer (who has a habit of complaining, lol) is making a doctrinal statement concerning the disposition of the spirit of men (and beasts).

                I know most people embrace the view that man is a trichotomy, body, spirit, and soul, but, when God created man he made a body, breathed the breath of life into him, and he became a living soul, just as the animals created were living souls. Not that he received one. And I think that if we understand this we can better understand a number of passages which can be used to promote unsound doctrines. A good example is Ezekiel 18, where if we make "The soul that sinneth shall die" refer to an immaterial aspect of man, we interject an eternal context into what is clearly temporal. In view is the "person," the soul dying physically...for failure to keep the Law. We would have to equally conclude, if life is granted for keeping the Law, that salvation comes by the works of the Law, which Paul makes clear is not the case.

                It's a great topic of study, though, so you might think about taking a look at some of the passages where "soul" is used.

                Here are a few examples:


                Genesis 46:27 King James Version (KJV)

                27 And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.


                Exodus 1:5 King James Version (KJV)

                5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.


                Acts 7:14 King James Version (KJV)

                14 Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.


                Acts 27:37 King James Version (KJV)

                37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.



                I take a literal view of Revelation, and Christ returns on a horse, which tells me there are animals in Heaven. So I like to think that those special animals in our lives will be there when we get there. It would not surprise me to find Balaam's mount there, lol. Or the colt Christ rode on. Perhaps even the dogs which licked Lazarus' sores.


                God bless.
                The Holiness of God is traumatic to unholy people (R.C. Sproul).

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