Bible Stuff That Won't Bore You

Do animals have souls, I bet you didn’t know you will see them in heaven!

I love animals

They have personalities, emotions, and are sometimes smarter than we think (and are sometimes dumber than we want to admit!)

But, have you ever wondered if you will see animals in heaven?

The Connection Between Mankind And Animals

Remember that God created Adam and gave him the responsibility of overseeing all animals in creation, and just as God loves us, he loves all his creation tremendously (that which God called “good”!)

This is an important thing to keep in mind, as it was a tremendous honor for Adam to receive such a kingdom as a gift: a perfect, beautiful, harmonious earth, with no death or disease, only endless abundance

Genesis 1:24-26
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Because of this, there is an undeniable bond between mankind and animals that, in some cases, feels as powerful as the bond between humans

The strong feelings within this connection are because the bonds are based on the same things, ie: friendship, trust, loyalty, and love

But how connected are we really to our animals?

That Bird Just Talked!

Some people really like to dress up their dogs in funny outfits and force them to wear top hats

What is a “top” hat exactly, don’t all  hats go on top? And what does a bottom hat look like?

While others like to take their pets everywhere they go, or teach them how to “speak” on command

But what is really funny, is the way people often interact with animals as if they were people

Oh come on

You know what I am talking about

The people who coo at their animals as if they were six month old babies, or yell and get all excited with their giant dogs as they romp around in the park

The way people communicate with their animals says a lot about how they relate to them, but has there ever been an instance where an animal talked back?


What An Ass!

One of the funniest, and most misinterpreted stories I have read in the Bible is the story of Balaam and his donkey

Sure, almost everyone knows the story of how Balaam repeatedly disobeyed God and allowed himself to be tempted by money, then God responded by speaking through Balaam’s own donkey to rebuke him

Numbers 22:21-33
Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.

Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.

Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”

The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”

“No,” he said.

Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.

The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.”

Funny right?

I mean, since when does God speak through animals to rebuke people, and through a donkey no less, that is equivalent of God giving a mouth to your car so it could tell you how badly you are behaving (wait, that was Knight Rider!)

But, look at what this verse specifically says, this story is very different than what people often think

Genesis 22:28-30
Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”

The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?

Whoa whoa whoa…

If you look at this carefully, it wasn’t that God spoke to Balaam through the donkey, God made it so that the donkey *herself* could talk!

And she was nice enough to not just buck him off or bite him for beating her–a sign of a personality!

Personalities Don’t Equal Souls, Pfff…

One of the most interesting things in the Bible God showed me is just after the flood, where God speaks to Noah of the new covenant that he was putting between the two of them, and the rest of mankind, as it shows very clearly that animals have souls!

Genesis 9:4-5
But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man

So let me get this straight

If animals *don’t* have souls, how could God demand an accounting of their lives like it mentions in the scripture above?

That would be flat out impossible!

Isn’t that amazing?

Do Insects Make The Cut?

The fact that animals have souls then raises some questions that I frankly just don’t have answers for, ie: is there a “cut off” point where some types of animals/bugs/etc… do not have souls?

I think most people would say that a cat or a dog had a soul, but what about a goldfish, or a small lizard, or what about all the tiny insects in the world?

Do these all have souls?

It says that animals both great and small have the same breath of God that Adam was given when he was given life, so does that mean they are all part of God just like we are?

Psalm 104:24-30
How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there

These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth

The word for “breath” and “Spirit” in Hebrew is “ruwach” (H7307), which is the same as the word “Spirit” used in Genesis here:

Genesis 1:2
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters

This is a clear reflection of God’s spirit being within animals themselves, but at what point do things actually have souls?

Hey Bug, You Are Too Dumb To Have a Soul

For humans, knowing the difference between right and wrong is determined by our intellect, not whether or not we are physically mature

With this mind, maybe animals only have souls when they have the mental capacity to know if something is right or wrong

I can’t say for sure, but it seems odd to think God would pass judgment on something that is incapable of cognitive thought

Even Jesus had a period of time before he was able to tell the difference between right and wrong as noted by Isaiah below

Isaiah 7:13-16
Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste

So unless you have a lot of ants or other bugs/insects as pets (or reptiles?), you will see your former pets in heaven, rocking out and praising God right next to us!

Pretty awesome

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  • Yeah, but animals don’t have a “spirit”.

    Heaven and Hell are reserved for spirits – those whose “lightbulbs” have not been turned on (born again) are separated from God – because of their individual and species sin. Animals have souls – but no spirits – and their actions are purely by instinct. Apes and other animals have shown learning ability – but they have no conscience, or desire to worship – key elements of a spirit.

    God is Spirit – and spirit is the key substance that brings intelligent life. No doubt you will see horses and dogs in Heaven, but they are angels in spirit form – yes, they have souls (emotion and logic) – but first and foremost, they are spirits!

    God can talk through Balaam’s ass – nothing is impossible with God, but only spirits have free will to sin – animals don’t.

    • Hi Stanley,

      I am a little confused by your statement that horses and dogs are angels in spirit form, can you explain that a little more?

      Also, God did not talk through Balaam’s donkey, he opened the donkey’s mouth so that it could speak on its own; hilarious!

      Also, a lot of animals learn what is right and wrong, especially pets as they are taught by their owners to not do things that are considered bad. Animals choose to obey or disobey as they clearly display that they have a free will and cognitive abilities when it comes to behavioral choices

      I do not believe that animals are consciously aware of every single one of God’s laws, but they understand emotions just like we experience them as well, ie: fear, love, friendship, anger, jealousy, happiness, depression, etc…

    • I thought the article quite interesting…I have not read those scriptures in that light before. Stanley, I am not sure I understand what you are saying is the difference between a “soul” and a “spirit”. Do you have any scriptures that can be used to back up what you are saying?

  • Interesting article, but i disagree on your key point, the verse from Genesis about animals giving an account. Verse 6 explains what he means by saying, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.”

    God isnt referring to men and animals giving an account of their souls on judgement day, but giving an account of spilling the blood of man, an offense that man could ordain a punishment over. A good cross reference to this is found in Exodus 21:28 “If a bull gores a man or woman to death, the bull is to be stoned to death, and its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will not be held responsible. 

    Here we can see that animals are to be punished for the death of a human, and as for humans spilling each others blood..eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth at this point of the Bible.

    I’m not going to say that there wont be animals in Heaven, but i will say that i don’t believe there will be, so its a good thing this is just a trivial matter and doesn’t interfere with the Gospel of Christ  ^_^

    • Hi Colby,

      Thank you for writing!

      The key to the passage in Genesis 9:6, is that in the verses before, God gives the lives of all creation into the hands of mankind, but he also stated that taking a human life was looked at very differently

      But one other point, is that even though animals and mankind were sometimes killed for taking the lives of people, I would consider this an additive point to the original concept, as worldly judgment doesn’t mean anything beyond that, it doesn’t negate the other verses noted in the article

      Also, to that point, and given the other scriptural references in the article, what scriptures would you cite to support your idea that animals won’t be in heaven?

  • I have been thinking of this topic recently and wondered how it correlates with Ephesians 3:21:

    21 Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth?

    How do you think it would then relate to that, as it seems that it is saying that animals and men have two different kinds of a soul and do not have the same eternal life?

    • Hello Cheyenne,

      Yes, that is in Ecclesiastes 3:21, and is a great relevant verse!

      I read through this though and there are a number of different interpretations that don’t match what you are referencing in your quote, check out the different translations:

      NIV (1984)
      Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?

      New Living Translation
      For who can prove that the human spirit goes up and the spirit of animals goes down into the earth?

      New King James
      Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth

      New American Standard Version
      Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth

      In reading through the Hebrew, it seems that the English words in the NKJ version don’t accurately match the original meaning, as it is asking “who knows” whether the spirits go up or down

      Kind of makes you wonder what else is mistranslated!

      Anyways, the answer for whether animals and humans go to the same place when they die is in the verses before the one you mentioned:

      Ecclesiastes 3:18-20
      I also thought, “As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return

  • The problem is that none of this is true. (Not the donkey stuff–I just mean, God didn’t create all the animals the way it’s written in Genesis).

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed at all, but Ecclesiastes is written by someone who doubts the existence of an afterlife, calls life meaningless, and is just generally confused. Referencing him as an absolute truth just because he’s in the Bible is not a good idea.

    Since we’re made out of exactly the same parts as animals (and, if you accept science, descended from them), it stands to reason that something similar will happen to, say, chimpanzees as will happen to us when we die. However, this fact doesn’t make it seem more likely that we’re going to be praising God in an eternal state. This observation casts doubt on the idea of a “place” type of heaven more than it raises the possibility of animals going to that place.

    Nobody who has commented seems to appreciate just how many animals have lived and died (and were more or less indistinguishable from each other). A heaven full of all those would be an absurd and pointless spectacle. If you start including insects, you don’t even have the capacity to imagine what *that* would look like.

    Not to mention (!) that unlike us, lots of animals are specifically adapted to only a few functions (mostly eating, surviving, storing energy). They don’t sing praise songs. They just do their specialties. In order for those animals to exist in heaven, all their biological attributes would have to completely cease–they wouldn’t be able to BE what they are. All the teeth, stripes, spots and hunting skills exist to do things on earth that presumably no animal would be doing in an afterlife. Lots of animals exist specifically to prey on weaknesses that exist in other animals–it’s the purpose of their whole physical structure. Yet there would presumably be no need for eating, hunting, hibernating–no need for fur, even, since it wouldn’t be freezing cold. Nonetheless, we have people here just thinking about how fur is fluffy and fulfills our need for cuteness… so there’ll be pets with fur in heaven. What about dinosaurs? Are we going to have dinosaurs? What about trilobytes? I’ve always wanted to pet a big trilobyte. Lurking along at the bottom of… well, are there going to be oceans for the afterlife fish? This is sounding a lot like earth.

    I think these ideas will disintegrate if you give them any sort of proper reflection whatsoever, as you’ve begun to do (but not carried to the full conclusion) in your post.

    • Hi Steve,

      A couple of things that I do not understand in your points:

      1) You do not address the scripture used in the article that says animals will have to give account for shedding the blood of man

      2) Your discussion revolves around the assumption you know what heaven is going to be like (devoid of animals), calling a heaven with animals a “pointless and absurd spectacle”, but no one knows what heaven will be like exactly or what beings will be like in heaven at all–what is your basis for claiming you know these things?

      1 Corinthians 2:9
      No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him

      3) Regarding your point about Ecclesiastes, it is true that the writer did not understand there is an afterlife, though I do not agree that renders the entire book invalid as there is no substantiating evidence to support a statement like that, but I agree caution should be used which is why I referenced more than one scripture on the topic

      In closing your points, which are based on conjecture and have no Biblical foundation, appear logical until they are dug into, though you seem entirely sure of their accuracy, which leads me to wonder what your inspiration for opening a dialog is

      Are you a Christian seeking answers, someone who is on the fence about God/Christianity, etc…?

      I am happy to answer questions and have a conversation, I just want to understand where you are coming from

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