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Dec 21 2009

Soul of an animal

And God made the beasts of the earth according to its kind, and cattle according to its kind, and all creepers of the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Gen 1:25)

Today I wanted to blog on something completely different and on something that is very dear to me – that is God’s other sentient creation – the animals that He created and declared to be good.  I came across the following photos.  I wanted to share these photos on my blog  as many Christians teach that animals have no eternal soul and after death, they cease to exist.  Some Christians teach that animals have no soul.  Rubbish!  The bible is replete with animals having a soul but the Bible is relatively silent on the eternity of the animals.  This is not a surprise for the Bible was written for man and his redemption.  Animals are not in need of redemption.  It was man that sinned and fell and needed redemption.  We have to look to before the fall to see God’s intent towards His creation and can gain understanding from there.

When God created, He declared His creation to be good.  There was no death and that included animals.  Animals were not created to die, they were created and declared to be good.  If animals were not created to die and they were created with souls, I do not understand why it is taught that after the fall, that they either do not have souls or that their souls changed and will cease to exist upon death.  There is nothing in scripture to suggest that the essence of their souls, designed to live forever before the fall, changed to die with them when they died here on earth.

The Bible is silent on this matter and should not be a surprise.  The Bible is for us and our redemption; the animals are not in need of redemption. We alone are made in the image of God.  Yet, the Bible uses the word soul interchangeably when describing the soul of man or the soul of an animal.

Again, while the bible is silent animals after they die, we can understand what God intended before the fall in regards to the animals that He created and declared to be very good (in reference to all of His creation).

After looking at these photos and reading what God has to say about His animal kingdom both before the fall and after the fall, I find it very difficult to come to the conclusion that God will annihilate His creation that He has declared to be good.  He created these sentient beings and they obviously have an ability to feel emotion.  Doctrine cannot be developed out of silence.  We can only develop doctrine out of what is available in the Word of God.  He created them to live forever just like us.  We are the ones that messed everything up, not them.

I saw these photos and wept.

Here are the photos of a bird that lost his mate in a car accident.  The bird had swooped too low across a road and was struck by a car.

Hit by car - 1

In this photo, the injured bird is still alive but her injuries will prove to be fatal.

Bringing mate food - 2

In this photo, the injured bird’s mate is bringing food. You can see the injured bird’s mouth open as her mate flies to her. He eventually flew away to bring her more food.

Bringing mate food but found dead - 3

This photo shows the the mate brought yet more food but finds his mate had died. He attempts to move his mate but is unable. It is heartbreaking to see this photo where he feebly attempts to move her.

Crying over mate - 4

This photo shows the mate “crying” (I don’t know of another word to describe a bird’s mourning) over the loss of his mate. This was very difficult to view for the anguish of the bird is evident.

Standing by her crying - 5

Here he is standing mourning the loss of of his mate. Also very difficult to look at this bird's sorrow over the loss of his mate.

Mourning - 6

Finally, in this last photo before eventually flying off, he stands by her. He has probably accepted that she is gone. I wonder what he must have been thinking. I do not wonder what he must have felt for it is clear that there is sadness and loss. He did what he could do. There is nothing left. He stands there before finally flying off. There is nothing left for him to do. Her soul, created never to die when God created the animals, can only be with her Creator. She is innocent.

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  1. Liz

    Wow, thanks for sharing this, because just yesterday as i was letting the dogs i sit for out, these birds came flying out of the tree by the house and one hit the window and fell to the ground in the snow, shaking before it died. it broke my heart.

    i was thinking about that verse, about the sparrow. I was also thinking does not the other bird realize what just happened to their fellow friend.

    God cares though.

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Liz, actually that’s the scripture that came to mind as I looked at these photos.

      Yes, God cares about His creatures. That really comforts me — a LOT.

  2. Tami

    Genesis 9:4-5 says, “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.”

    While I agree with the perspective of your post, I don’t pretend to “understand” the whole issue – or the whats and hows of it. However, this verse gives an additional dimension to the issue that I hadn’t considered before — If God will demand an accounting (hold an animal accountable for killing a human) there’s definitely something more than “temporary” at work!

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Tami,

      Well, you sent me back to my bible (a good thing :) )

      I just looked at a lot of different scriptures regarding critters. This is how I understand it. These animals are property and are worth something to the owners so to lose the animal is a punishment to the owner.

      What I do know about animals is they have no moral compass like us human beings do. It is not an immoral act for animals to do certain things that is clearly immoral and wrong for us.

      I’m understanding these scriptures to be a punishment to the owner who has a duty and responsibility to keep his animals (property) from hurting someone. In fact, if the owner knows of his animal’s aggression and does not do anything about it and the animal kills another human being, both the animal and the owner are to be put to death.

      I’ll probably be back here or start a whole new post — you just opened a question for me that I would like to understand more clearly.

      Thanks for pointing out that scripture for me :)

  3. Margaret

    Oh Tishrei,

    This is such a busy time of year to start this conversation of love for God’s creatures…… God truly loves each and every one of us, even though we are sinners, and yet, even we have to go through the process of suffering and dying.

    I think of all creation that goes through death — plants, animals, and mankind….. Sin brought awful consequences….. We need to think about how God allowed animals to be eaten for food in Genesis….. The animal does need to be killed before being eaten and we know that Jesus also ate meat because He took part in the Passover.

    Romans 8:19-22 says, “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”

    With that, we remember the flood that killed everything except the animals Noah had on the ark….. Those passages need to be thought of. Then in Exodus 21:28-32 an ox that is in the habit of goring people is to be destroyed and not eaten….. What is God saying there?

    1 Timothy 4:3-5 says, “men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

    Then, in talking about Christians who blatantly lived in sin, 2 Peter 2:12 says, “But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed.”

    Right along with all of this, Jesus talks to us in Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

    God deeply loves all of His creation….. But, even amongst animals and insects, they kill and eat one another…..

    In living on a sheep and cattle ranch for years, I have witnessed good and not so good….. I’ve seen ewes try to kill off one of their offspring for various reasons — maybe she didn’t like the way the little one suckled — or maybe she gave birth to twins or triplets and didn’t think she could feed all of them….. I have seen chickens start picking on one in the flock — just because it was smaller or weaker — they would have picked it to death if I had not rescued it, nursed it back to health, and made sure it was big enough and strong enough to protect itself before letting it go.

    I love you for taking care of all God’s critters that have needed your tender, loving care….. It brings out in me the same tendencies to nurse all the animals in my life….. I also love the beauty God has given us in all sorts of plants and enjoy caring for my garden….. But, in all this is a love and wisdom of God that is far beyond our ability to figure out.

    All I know is that those who wantonly abuse or destroy God’s creation will face God’s judgment for their cruelty….. And yet, in the same breath, we are allowed to respectfully kill and eat things in the animal kingdom….. If they had the kind of souls you are thinking of, I don’t think that would be approved of by our Lord.

    Now I won’t have time to get all my Christmas baking done!….. :) I’m sure you will search out more references to help every one out.


    1. Tishrei

      Hi Margaret,

      Like Tami pointed out and you did, I’m not so sure that the animal is being put to death because of its sin –

      We are viewed differently by God than He views the animals. They don’t have a moral compass and are not made in His image like we are. He may destroy the animal because it killed a human but the animal is not acting in a sinful way — I think we are the only ones that can act in a sinful way. It is us that has the knowledge of good & evil — something that we would not have had if Adam & Eve did not eat from that fruit.

      I had bunnies — and they too will eat their young. I think it’s the younger bunnies that do that — usually their first litter. It’s really gross and disgusting but that’s the animal kingdom. They can do that and then in their next litter, they could be the best of bunny mommies. With us humans, if a woman is so warped that she does horrible things to her young, she does not change to be an explementary mother with her next child. For that to happen, she has to have a total change of heart that comes with the change of nature through Christ’s redemption.

  4. amber dover

    You have brought up some interesting point and I will not debate. I do believe animals have souls but they do not have spirits. I believe humans are composed of 3 parts (body, soul, and spirit). Humans were created in the image of God and we already know God is Spirit. I believe we are the only creation given a Spirit. I believe the soul is the center of our emotions and thought processes. I believe our spirit is what connects us to God. It is what lives on.

    Biblically, there isn’t much about what happens to animals. I truly believe animals have souls and they do experience emotions etc and they do think. But I believe we are the only beings created in God’s image and I know that’s not physical because He is Spirit. I see alot of people combine the soul and spirit and I’m not sure how the words are in the Greek etc….but it just seems they are different and there are 3 parts.

    Anywho, I’m loving your blog and your testimony was awesome. I really wonder if the original bodies were created to live forever……had the fall not occurred then the physical bodies of animals would still be intact. It is a mystery……makes me wonder about procreation etc…..it seems like without death the earth would fill up pretty quick. It’s alot to ponder for sure…… God bless! :)

  5. Tishrei

    Hi Amber, I completely agree with you. Only humans are created in His image, not the animals. We are a triune being, they are not. I agree, there is not much in the Bible regarding what happens to animals. But then Scripture is for us, our redemption for we need it, they do not. Even if I am wrong, our eternity before Him will be absolute perfection.

    As to whether or not the original bodies were created to live forever, I believe God was clear that nothing was to die. It does seem like the earth would fill up quickly if there was no death but that would have happened if there were only human beings and no animals. Human beings would have filled up this earth if nobody ever died and procreated. I don’t know how it would have worked out but I know it would have.

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