Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Do Animals have Souls?

"A tool in your hands I am dear God, the sweetest instrument you have shaped my being into. What makes me now complete-
feeling the soul of every creature against my heart. Does every creature have a soul? Surely they do; for everything God has touched will have life forever. And all creatures he has held." - St. Francis of Assisi

When I came across this quote from St. Francis it reminded me of the loss of our dear dog, Rocky,  about a year ago. He had only been with our family for two years when he was taken suddenly from us due to an undiagnosed congenital condition. It was a tragedy for, as with many, our pets are very much part of our family.

I remember afterwards posting a poll on my facebook page, asking whether or not people thought animals had souls. I didn't get too many responses, but would love to maybe get some of my reader's thoughts here on this blog. I'm no expert in theology, as the intro of my blog mentions, but I do have my own thoughts towards this subject...before sharing them, I'd like to share some quotes from a site I found. Most sites I went to flat out denied the reality of animals having souls, but this one did provide some interesting verses to ponder and a slightly different perspective.:
Most interpreters of the Bible assume that man’s likeness to God and animals’ subservience to man implies that animals may have the "breath of life," nephesh in Hebrew, but not an immortal soul in the same sense as man’s.

Even so, the prophet Isaiah says God will include animals in the new heavens and new earth:
"The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD." (Isaiah 65: 25, NIV)
In the last book of the Bible, Revelation, the Apostle John’s vision of heaven also included animals, showing Christ and the armies of heaven "riding on white horses." (Revelation 19:14, NIV)


I remember attending a law conference at Pace University several years ago where I was blessed with the opportunity to hear Jane Goodall speak. She shared many of her personal experiences she had living with and studying chimpanzees. It is no longer a mystery that animals are sentient-they experience feelings very similar to ours. Sadness, joy, fear even depression.  For this reason I have been demonstrating against circuses that use animals for over twelve years. I'm also a vegetarian.I don't feel that man has any right to inflict any unnecessary suffering on animals...they have the right to live out their natural lives without any unnecessary fear or suffering or pain inflicted on them by man. So animals have emotions like us...they experience loss, some of them have been recorded to mourn their dead and actually shed tears...but do they have souls?

One thing that meditation has really provided me with is a deep sense of the interconnectedness that we share with all of life. When I meditate I feel God all around me, in everything, sustaining life, breathing life into the world. As God is eternal, I believe His breath is as well...and the breath of life that sustains the lives of creatures does not die when the physical creature does, but goes on into eternity. Does that mean pets or other animals have a place in heaven? I'm not sure...but I do believe that means they have souls that are, indeed, eternal.

Heavenly Father,

We thank You for the wonders of creation that You have blessed us with that fill us with awe and reverence for You. Thank you for the diversity of creatures and life that surround us in the world that You made for us. That oftentimes enrich our lives, bringing us joy and blessed memories. Forgive us for sometimes taking for granted the blessings You've given us and at times, abusing them. Mankind has not proven to be the best of stewards of creation that You called us to be. Help plant the seeds of compassion in mankind so that we might extend compassion and love to all of life, human and nonhuman.

We give you all honor, glory and praise. Thank you for Your mercy and Your great love.

In Jesus' precious name,


  1. Really a great and provoking question. Would be interesting to see other view points or input.
    The animals breathe, eat, move, a beating heart so why not a soul.

  2. They don't as they don't know the word! Yet they do as they are living creatures as we are who do know the word...Soul!

    Every creature needs to eat to survive Jessica and their stomachs have evolved to appreciate whether it be grass or meat yet, man is primarily a carnivore so don't pretend otherwise! You will lose! respect them, but to survive as they do eat them!

  3. Man can exist quite effectively without consuming animal flesh...or byproducts for that matter! There have been many prominent vegan atheletes that have debunked the myths that man needs meat. Today, with more access than ever to vegetarian products and info on how to eat a healthy vegetarian diet...eating meat is an option, not a necessity.

  4. I will find the answer, for me the answer is yes,I can feel it, in me and in the animal I have met. I can feel yours. I feel for those that cannot.

  5. Hello:

    My first time here. Came over from Blogplicity. Hinduism believes that every living creature has a soul. I am not very sure of Christianity.Though there are many references to animals in the Bible, I wonder if anything talks of animals having a soul. But irrespective of them having a soul or not, I believe that each living being has an intrinsic value. The philosophy of Deep Ecology by Arne Naess says that every being has an intrinsic value and has to be valued for that. But that again does not lead me to be a vegetarian. Even by being a vegetarian, I kill plants. Well, the debate can go on. I will stay with the topic of animals having a soul and not veg vs non-veg.

    Thanks for this thought provoking post. I will have to discuss on this with people now on.

    Have a lovely week ahead.

    Joy always,

  6. Jessica, I’m with you and St. Francis. I believe that animals do have souls and a place in God’s eternal kingdom. The scriptures you cite here indicate that this is so. But apart from these scriptures, we who have beloved pets intuitively know this to be true. This knowledge is ingrained in our hearts. And those of us who have loved and lost our precious pets are consoled by our faith that their souls live on.

  7. Jessica, whether it is referred to as a 'soul' or not, I do believe that each individual animal has a place in Heaven with it's Maker. Our 'soul' going to Heaven is determined by how we live our lives. God gave us the capacity to make choices and decisions. Animals, for the most part cannot. We do it for them. God put animals on earth and I believe He brings them back home to Him when their time on earth is done.

  8. My son was researching this not long ago and one of the quotes he found was "The soul, in some religions, spiritual traditions, and philosophies, is the eternal part of a living being, commonly held to be separable in existence from the body--the metaphysical part as distinct from the physical part"

    It doesn't mention 'man' it mentions a living being, therefore in my eyes yes I believe animals as living beings have souls.

    People have said that spirits are earth bound souls, I know many people who have sworn to have seen the spirit of an animal they loved after it has passed and I have momentarily seen flashes of what I believe to be a beloved pet that has long gone - so yes I believe they do.

  9. This is not based on theology, just my own opinion. but I think that everything that is alive has a soul, so I guess that would include plants. Anyone who has ever had a pet and have seen them dead; to me it's not just the life that leaves but also the spirit that made them unique.

  10. After Erin's passing, I've found myself questioning her destination and examining my own mortality in the afterlife. Many species of animals possess a wide range of emotions and human qualities that shows they certainly have a soul. It all comes down to faith and I believe my creator will have Erin waiting for me when it's my time to make the journey. God will not seperate us from the creatures who brought so much love to this world. I've also read near death experience stories and they recall their beloved animals being amongst the first to greet them on the other side. Our pets will welcome us to the heavenly kingdom!!


  11. I am not sure if they have a soul but I know in my heart that there will be a place for them in heaven. I enjoyed reading this blog as well as the comments and views of other readers.

  12. Yes, animals do indeed have souls. Over the past couple of years I have developed a website devoted to that very topic. It also offers support to anyone upset at the recent passing over of a beloved pet. Anyone interested in researching the topic, or seeking support is welcome to contact us via our site, http://do-animals-have-souls.info