Do Animals Go To Heaven?

 

A great deal of debate has gone on over the past two thousand years of the church’s history as to whether or not animals go to heaven (or to hell for that matter).  It is very difficult to give a precise answer “yes” or “no” as to the eternal destination of animals. 

 

Animal lovers in all ages who have had pets (e.g. - dogs, cats, exotic animals, farm animals, etc.) have formed an inseparable bond with them. The dog has even been called, “A man’s best friend.”  It is unquestionable that animals have a personality unique to each individual.

 

People who have owned a dog or cat for many years become emotionally attached to their pets.  But does this attachment to, and affection for animals insure that they will continue on in eternity along with the human spirit, in the place we call heaven?  If so, do all living creatures go to heaven, including snakes, spiders, flies, fish, and other forms of life in the animal kingdom?  Man will continue to ponder such questions for years to come.  In the meantime, here are some passages from scripture that may help resolve the issues in the minds and hearts of some:

 

Ecclesiastes 3:17-22

17        I thought in my heart, “God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed.”

18        I also thought, “As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.

19        “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.

20        All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.

21        Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?"

22        So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

(NIV)

 

The scripture above illustrates our ignorance as to the eternal destiny of the animals on this earth.  Consider each of the points made in the passage above:

 

1.  As for men.....they are like the animals   (NOTE: Men are like animals in the 

     sense that they are both living creatures)

 

2.  Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies,

     so dies the other  (NOTE: Since man & beast alike are living creatures, then both

     man & beast will assuredly die; that is, their fleshly bodies will expire.  But what of  

     the soul, or spirit of an animal?)

 

3.  All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal  (NOTE: Man

     and animal have the same “breath.”  Below is given the meanings and the use of

     the Hebrew word ‘ruach’ used for “breath”)

 

·         The English word used in the Bible for “breath” here comes from the original Hebrew word ruwach (roo'-akh) 7307; from 7306; wind; by resemblance breath, i.e. a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively, life, anger, insubstantiality; by extension, a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions): KJV-- air, anger, blast, breath, X cool, courage, mind, X quarter, X side, spirit ([-ual]), tempest, X vain, ([whirl-]) wind (-y).

 

Since the Hebrew word “ruwach” can be translated several different ways in the English, it is important to note its use in the context of Ecclesiastes 3:19, “All have the same breath.”  Both man and beast have the same life in them, the same breath. 

 

Now let us find out if that “same breath” God put into mankind differs from that of animals.  We will do this by making a comparison of the differences between a human and an animal spirit.  This comparison is done by what we DO know about the human and animal spirit, not by making up things we DON’T KNOW. 

 

In other words, if the scripture mentions an attribute exclusive to the human spirit, but does not list the same attribute with regard to the animal spirit, then the animal spirit would differentiate from human spirit in this regard.

 

COMPARISON BETWEEN THE HUMAN & ANIMAL SPIRIT

 

Ecclesiastes 3:20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.

           

COMPARISON:  Man and animal will both die, and be buried, and their bodies decompose into “dust” or earth.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:21  “Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

 

COMPARISON:  From this verse, it is not known where the spirit of an animal goes after death.  The human spirit rises “upward” (metaphor for proceeding into a direction of the realm called heaven).  It is not known whether the spirit of an animal descends downward to “earth” (a metaphor for Sheol or Hades; the place of departed souls).

 

Genesis 6:16-22

16 “You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.

17 “And behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.

18 “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark-- you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

19 “And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every {kind} into the ark, to keep {them} alive with you; they shall be male and female.

20 “Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every {kind} shall come to you to keep {them} alive.

21 “And as for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather {it} to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them.”

22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  Before the flood, God warned Noah that He was going, “to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven.”  The word “breath” is the Hebrew word “ruwach” and refers to the “life” that keeps all of God’s creatures animated (alive).  This includes, “every living thing of all flesh... birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind.”  We can conclude that animals are more than mere bodies of living flesh without a spirit, or, “breath of life.”  Animals clearly have a spirit which gives life their physical body.

 

Genesis 7:13-16

13 On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark,

14 they and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, all sorts of birds.

15 So they went into the ark to Noah, by twos of all flesh in which was the breath of life.

16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the LORD closed {it} behind him.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  Again, both man and beast are lumped into groups of “twos” and they enter the ark.  Both man and animal (collectively) are called, “all flesh in which was the breath of life.”

 

Genesis 7:19-23

19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.

20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:

22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.

23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.  (KJV)

 

COMPARISON:  Here, we see that of all the “living” that were destroyed (i.e. - killed) by the flood, no distinction is made between, “man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven.”  Further emphasis is given to this point in verse 23 by stating, “And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven.”  We can conclude from the account of Noah, the breath of life (i.e. - the spirit), which keeps all living creatures alive, comes from the Almighty.  In this sense then, both man and beast have a spirit.

 

Numbers 16:20-22

20        Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,

21        “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them instantly.”

22        But they fell on their faces, and said, “O God, Thou God of the spirits of all flesh, when one man sins, wilt Thou be angry with the entire congregation?”  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  Animals are not mentioned in this text.  The God of the spirits of all flesh is clearly a reference to the congregation of the Israelites.  By omitting animals from the text, the use of “ruwach” has an application to the human spirit.  We begin to see a difference between the human spirit and the animal through this omission.  God was angry with the humans, not with the animals.  Before the flood, God’s wrath was kindled against both man and animal for destruction.  After the flood, (and the subsequent covenant God made with Noah, that He would never again destroy the earth by flood), more and more distinctions are made in scripture between man’s spirit and animal’s spirit.

 

Numbers 27:15-16

15 And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying,

16 “Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation.”  (KJV)

 

COMPARISON:  This text is nearly identical in content as Num 16:20-22.

 

Job 7:11 “Therefore, I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.”  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:   In this verse, a clear difference between the animal’s spirit and the human spirit is given...the capacity for the human spirit to experience “anguish.”

Job 32:7-8

7 “I thought age should speak, and increased years should teach wisdom.

8 “But it is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.” (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  A human’s spirit differs from an animal’s spirit in that it assists the human in having “understanding” of what he should speak.

 

Job 20:3-4

3 “I listened to the reproof which insults me, and the spirit of my understanding makes me answer.

4 “Do you know this from of old, from the establishment of man on earth.”  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: Again, the animal spirit does not give it “understanding” as a human spirit does.

 

Job 32:7-9

7 “I thought age should speak, and increased years should teach wisdom.

8 “But it is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.

9 “The abundant {in years} may not be wise, nor may elders understand justice.” (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  Again, notice that the “breath of the Almighty” gives the human spirit understanding; this shows a distinctly different relationship to God which only humans have in their spirits.

 

Job 32:17-18

17 “I too will answer my share, I also will tell my opinion.

18 “For I am full of words; the spirit within me constrains me.”  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  A human spirit constrains people from speaking words; animal spirits don’t possess this innate ability within their spirit.

 

Job 33:3-4

3 “My words are {from} the uprightness of my heart; and my lips speak knowledge sincerely.

4 “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: Uprightness of heart, and sincere knowledge spoken... both come from the breath (i.e. - the Hebrew word “ruach”), which the Almighty gives.

 

Job 34:12-20

12 “Surely, God will not act wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice.

13 “Who gave Him authority over the earth?  And who has laid {on Him} the whole world?

14 “If He should determine to do so, if He should gather to himself His spirit and His breath,

15 “All flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.

16 “But if {you have} understanding, hear this; listen to the sound of my words.

17 “Shall one who hates justice rule?  And will you condemn a righteous mighty one,

18 Who says to a king, ‘Worthless one,’ to nobles, ‘Wicked ones’;

19 Who shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich above the poor, for they all are the work of His hands?

20 “In a moment they die, and at midnight people are shaken and pass away, and the mighty are taken away without a hand.”  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: Here we see that God’s spirit is the source of life for ALL FLESH…humans and animals alike.  So, animals DO have a spirit somewhat similar to a human, yet the characteristics of human and animal spirits differ.

 

Psalm 31:5-6

5 Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

6 I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.  (KJV)

 

COMPARISON: The human has the ability to commit his spirit to God; the animal cannot make that choice (or at least it is not stated in scripture that animals have this ability).

 

Psalm 32:1-9

1 How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!

2 How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!

3 When I kept silent {about my sin}  my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.

4 For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away {as} with the fever heat of summer. Selah.

5 I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"; and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. Selah.

6 Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found; surely in a flood of great waters they shall not reach him.

7 Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost preserve me from trouble; Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

9 Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, {otherwise} they will not come near to you.

(NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  Here we see one of the MOST IMPORTANT DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE HUMAN AND ANIMAL SPIRIT... the ability to choose or reject deceit.   If a man has sinned, he knows about it, and can repent.  For example: “When I kept silent {about my sin} my body wasted away ...I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’; and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.”   The animal kingdom, on the other hand, does not have the capability of sinning, deceit, or the acknowledgement of such.  For example: “Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding.”

 

Psalm 34:18-22

18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the LORD delivers him out of them all.

20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

21 Evil shall slay the wicked; and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.

22 The LORD redeems the soul of His servants; and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: The human spirit can draw near to the LORD, particularly when a human is, “crushed in spirit.”  Scripture does not state that the animal spirit can be “crushed,” nor can the animal draw near to God through its brokenhearted state.

 

Psalm 51:9-13

9 Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me away from Thy presence, and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.

13 {Then} I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee. (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  Other characteristics of the human spirit which are exclusive to mankind are: 1) asking God to create a clean heart, and renew a “right spirit” within them   2) restoring them into a state of salvation, and granting them a willing spirit.  Animals do not sin as mankind does, nor do they have the same privileged position of salvation and relationship with God.

 

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.  (KJV)

 

COMPARISON: The sacrifices of the human to God are a “broken spirit.”  The animals never make such a sacrifice to God.

 

Psalm 77:5-9

5 I have considered the days of old, the years of long ago.

6 I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart; and my spirit ponders.

7 Will the Lord reject forever?  And will He never be favorable again?

8 Has His lovingkindness ceased forever?  Has {His} promise come to an end forever?

9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?  Or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion?  Selah.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  The human heart has the ability to ponder and meditate about the Lord; the animals do not meditate with thoughts about their Creator. 

 

Proverbs 15:3-4

3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good.

4 A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  Since animals cannot speak, they don’t have the ability to speak, “perversion,” as humans do.  Therefore, animals cannot crush the spirits of each other with the perverse tongue (i.e. - speech) as humans do. 

 

Proverbs 15:13 A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  When the human heart is sad, the spirit is broken.  Although the scripture is silent here with regard to animals, I do believe that animals can reveal or manifest a broken spirit through the countenance of their faces (not in all species of course).  For example, if a dog perceives that it’s master is hurt, it’s countenance can become sad and forlorn.  Or if the dog’s master leaves the house without taking it, the animal sulks, and it’s face reveals it’s broken spirit.  Think about it logically and honestly, and I think you will agree.

 

Proverbs 16:2-3

2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits.

3 Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established.  (NKJ)

 

COMPARISON: The spirit of man is weighed, or judged by the LORD.  God does not judge an animal’s spirit, because an animal cannot “commit” its ways to the Lord.  Therefore, it would appear that the spirit of the animal kingdom would go to the place we call heaven, for they bear no guilt for sin.

 

Ecclesiastes 7:7-9

7 For oppression makes a wise man mad, and a bribe corrupts the heart.

8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning; patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.

9 Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools. (NAS)

 

Proverbs 29:22-23

22 An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.

23 A man's pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.  (NAS)

 

Proverbs 16:18-21

18 Pride {goes} before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.

19 It is better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

20 He who gives attention to the word shall find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.

21 The wise in heart will be called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: The human spirit has the possibility of being in two different states, or conditions: “a haughty spirit “ or “a humble spirit.”  Again, animals do not have the type of spirit, which can become “haughty.”  The Hebrew word for “haughty” is “gobahh” meaning “arrogance, pride.”

 

Proverbs 16:32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  Humans have the ability to rule their spirit, and keep their anger in subjection.  Animals do not possess this ability, nor do they need to. 

 

Proverbs 18:14 The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but a broken spirit who can bear?  (NAS)

 

Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: Here a broken spirit is contrasted with a joyful heart.  These are contrasts that only the human spirit is said to have.  I do believe, however, that animals of certain types can experience a joyful heart, and a broken spirit.  Nevertheless, these qualities are not those that would exclude animals from the realm called heaven.

 

Proverbs 25:28 Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.  (NAS)

 

Proverbs 17:27-28

27 He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

28 Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is {counted} prudent.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: Since animals cannot speak a language of “words,” they do not qualify for the characteristics of a “cool spirit.”  Animals do not possess the type of “understanding” God has given to man and therefore cannot have the same “control” over the spirit.

 

Ecclesiastes 8:8 No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, and no one has power in the day of death. There is no release from that war, and wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it.  (NKJ)

 

COMPARISON:  Even though the context here says that a man cannot determine the day of his death, nor can he retain the human spirit within the body, the same principle would apply to animals.  The spirit is that which gives life to the body.  As it says in James 2:26, “...the body without {the} spirit is dead...” 

 

Ecclesiastes 12:5-7

5 Furthermore, men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags himself along, and the caperberry is ineffective. For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street.

6 Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed;

7 then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: Here mankind is said to have an “eternal home” to which, “the spirit will return to God who gave it.”  This implies a relationship with God that is unique to humans.  Jesus used similar language in describing His disciples’ eternal dwelling:

 

·         John 14:1-3  “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, {there} you may be also.  (NAS)

 

Isaiah 11:1-10

1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.

2 And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

3 And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear;

4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.

5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist.

6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them.

7 Also the cow and the bear will graze; their young will lie down together; and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

8 And the nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den.

9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

10 Then it will come about in that day that the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious. (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: This OT prophecy of Jesus demonstrates how the Spirit of the LORD gives humans important qualities:  the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.  All of the attributes relate to the personal relationship which man can have with God, and with one another.

 

Isaiah 26:8-9

8 Indeed, {while following} the way of Thy judgments, O LORD, we have waited for Thee eagerly; Thy name, even Thy memory, is the desire of {our} souls.

9 At night my soul longs for Thee, indeed, my spirit within me seeks Thee diligently; for when the earth experiences Thy judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  We humans alone have as the, “desire of our soul,” the name and the memory of the LORD.  Only the human soul can long for God, and only the human spirit can seek Him diligently.  Animals do not seek the LORD diligently, because they are not made in His image, or in His likeness.  Animals are more instinctive by nature, although their instinct can be affected directly by the manner in which man interacts with God.  An example of this is seen clearly in the Millennium when Jesus Christ and His body of followers rule the earth in righteousness.  At that time, the very instinctive nature of animals seems to be affected:

 

·         Isaiah 11:1-10  And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:  And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.  And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.  The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.  And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.  And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.  (KJV)

 

Isaiah 29:24  “Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding; those who complain will accept instruction.”  (NIV)

 

COMPARISON: A “wayward spirit” implies that someone has deviated from the right path.  Only mankind can stray from God in his/her spirit.  By returning to God, the human spirit then gains, “understanding.”

 

Isaiah 42:5 Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and its offspring, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit (ruwach) to those who walk in it.  (NOTE: the Hebrew word for “breath” is ‘neshamah’  and means, “vital breath, divine inspiration, intellect.”)

 

COMPARISON: The difference between the two Hebrew words used here adds more evidence to the difference between human and animal spirits.  The word  “neshamah” means, “divine inspiration” as it is applied only to “people.”  Only humans have intellect that needs divine inspiration.  However, the more generic Hebrew word for “spirit” is “ruwach” and is used for those who merely “walk” on the earth.  This could include both humans and animals that walk.  

 

Isaiah 57:14-16

14 And it shall be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove {every} obstacle out of the way of My people.”

15 For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell {on} a high and holy place, and {also} with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.

16 “For I will not contend forever, neither will I always be angry; for the spirit would grow faint before me, and the breath {of those whom} I have made.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: Here God talks about the relationship He has with, “My people,” not, “My animals.”  In this setting and context, the LORD mentions the characteristics of the human spirit which He dwells together with in a unique relationship with mankind:  “I dwell {on} a high and holy place, and {also} with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly.”  

 

Isaiah 66:1-2

1 Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool.  Where then is a house you could build for Me?  And where is a place that I may rest?

2 “For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD.  “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  Man’s unique relationship with God is again seen.  God says that only the human spirit can be, “a place that I may rest.”  He then states the condition in which the human spirit and heart must be in order for Him to dwell there:  “to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”

 

Ezekiel 2:1-2

1 Then He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet that I may speak with you!”

2 And as He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet; and I heard {Him} speaking to me.

 

Ezekiel 3:14 So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away; and I went embittered in the rage of my spirit, and the hand of the LORD was strong on me.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: Only humans can have the Spirit of God enter them for prophetic vision.  The prophet Ezekiel, grieved and enraged in spirit at the condition of Israel, went forth to prophesy with the hand of the LORD upon his human spirit.  Animals do not experience this type of interaction with God (at least this is not mentioned of animals as such in scripture).

 

Ezekiel 11:5 Then the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and He said to me, “Say, ‘Thus says the LORD, “So you think, house of Israel, for I know your thoughts (“thoughts”= Hebrew word “ruach”).”  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  Here, a unique use of the Hebrew word “ruwach” is translated as “thoughts.”  Since “ruwach” is the primary word used for the spirit (either of humans or animals), we see a very distinct difference between the two.  Animals do not have “thoughts” in their spirit as men do.  Mankind is therefore more responsible for his actions because God knows their “thoughts” and judges them accordingly.  This is why animals are said to be more creatures of instinct, even though they have a spirit and personality, they don’t have “thoughts.”

 

Ezekiel 11:17-20

17 “Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “I shall gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries among which you have been scattered, and I shall give you the land of Israel.”’

18 “When they come there, they will remove all its detestable things and all its abominations from it.

19 “And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them.  And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,

20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.”  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  These verses are very clear, stating how the spirit of man interacts with the Spirit of God.  First, God says He will, “gather you from the peoples.”  Therefore, we know it speaks of humans, not animals.  And of these peoples, God says, “And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them.”  Why does God put a new spirit within the hearts of humans who have repented of their abominations?  The answer is:  “that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.”  Since when have animals ever been required to walk according to God’s statutes and ordinances?  Only mankind has this responsibility amongst all living creatures.

 

Ezekiel 13:3-8

3 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Woe to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing.

4 “O Israel, your prophets have been like foxes among ruins.

5 “You have not gone up into the breaches, nor did you build the wall around the house of Israel to stand in the battle on the day of the LORD.

6 “They see falsehood and lying divination who are saying, 'The LORD declares,’ when the LORD has not sent them; yet they hope for the fulfillment of {their} word.

7 “Did you not see a false vision and speak a lying divination when you said, ‘The LORD declares,’ but it is not I who have spoken?”’”

8 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, “Because you have spoken falsehood and seen a lie, therefore behold, I am against you,” declares the Lord GOD.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: Here, false prophets follow their own spirit to speak lies through divination (occult witchcraft & communication with demon spirits).  Although these false prophets are compared to the crafty fox, they are much worse, for they pretend to speak on behalf of the LORD, only to further their own selfish motives.  God says He is “against” such false prophets.  This shows another key difference between animal spirits and human...the ability to speak falsehood.

 

Ezekiel 18:30-32

30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,” declares the Lord GOD.  “Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you.

31 “Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!  For why will you die, O house of Israel?

32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.”  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: Here we see the most important difference between the human and animal spirit.  God will judge men who sin, “each according to his conduct.”  God commands men to “repent” or else they will die a death in which the LORD finds, “no pleasure” (i.e. - meaning they will go to hell, separated from God without true repentance).  Animals are never given the command to, “Repent and live.”  Animals do not have the capacity to discern good from evil with regard to their conduct, and therefore are not judged by God as such.  Thus, animals would automatically go to heaven (using proper logic and what we see clearly from scripture).  Their existence would most certainly differ from humans, in that they would not share the same relationship with God.  After all, animals were not created in the “image and likeness” of God:

 

·         Genesis 1:27-28 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  (NAS)

 

·         Genesis 5:1-2 This is the book of the generations of Adam.  In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.  He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.  (NAS)

 

Daniel 2:1 Now in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: Nebuchadnezzar was troubled in his spirit because of the manner in which he had insulted the Spirit of God.  His troubled spirit even interrupted his sleep.  Mankind alone has this characteristic existing in his spirit.  Animals don’t intentionally insult the LORD with their thoughts and actions.

 

Joel 2:27-29

27 “Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is no other; and My people will never be put to shame.

28 “And it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.

29 “And even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”

(NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  Again, something unique to humans...the personal relationship with God, and having the Spirit of God poured out upon them.  God does not speak this of the animal kingdom.  God pours His Spirit upon humans to create a special communication between God and man.  For example, “And it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”

 

Zechariah 12:1 The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. {Thus} declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON: Here, God is said to “form” the “spirit of man within him.”  This is different language than that used of the “breath” or “spirit” put into all flesh.  The Hebrew word for “form” is “yatsar” and means, “to mould into a form; especially as a potter; figuratively, to determine (i.e. form a resolution).”  The Hebrew word yatsar is the same word that was used when God formed both man and beast from the dust of the earth.  However, yatsar is used exclusively of shaping the spirit of mankind.  Only mankind can express the willingness to allow God to mold or form his or her spirit (like a Potter forms soft clay).

 

Malachi 2:15-16

15 “But not one has done {so} who has a remnant of the Spirit.  And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring?  Take heed then, to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth.

16 “For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the LORD of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”  (NAS)

 

COMPARISON:  Animals do not deal treacherously with a “wife.”  Marriage is an institution exclusive to the human species, complete with certificates, ceremonies, and social recognition.  Of course animals mate with one another, but do not perform marriage ceremonies as humans do.  Therefore, animals cannot be said to deal “treacherously” against their spouse, as they don’t have the same commitment as humans.  That is why God commands man to, “Take heed then, to your spirit.”

 

CONCLUSION

 

Ecclesiastes 3:21  “Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

 

No one can say with an absolute that animals do or don’t go to heaven.  The majority of scriptures dealing with the topic lend credibility to the assertion the animal spirit enjoys some sort of eternality, although there are very distinct differences between the human and animal spirit.  The main and most essential difference is that mankind has the ability to control his spirit to a degree, particularly with regard to behavior that is either good or bad, sinful or righteous. 

 

Therefore mankind, who was made in God’s image and likeness enjoys a unique relationship with God.  Conversely, mankind can reject God, and be separated from God’s Spirit at death.  Animals, on the other hand, do not enjoy the personal relationship with God, yet neither are they judged by God for their behavior.  Therefore, animals would not logically have their life (i.e. - their spirit) separated from God’s Spirit at death.

 

Selah

 


 

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