The Souls of Animals - Author Gary Kurz
About The Author
The author, Gary Kurz, helps those grieving the loss of a pet to understand the Biblical evidence that proves they live on. His most popular book, "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates" delivers the promised comfort and hope in a gentle, yet convincing way. Visit www.coldnosesbook.com (where a monthly "bonus gift" is offered) or write to Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summary: A scripturally-based look at the probability of animal afterlife.
Title of Article: "The Souls of Animals"
By Gary Kurz
We have all lost precious and dear pets. Their passing is often as painful as when we lose human loved ones, sometimes even more so. When they leave us, we like to think that there is a place for them in eternity…that somehow, someway, provision has been made for them. However, when we seek validation for these hopes, it seems many of those we look to in spiritual matters hold to the view that animals are for this world only, that they do not possess souls, and when they pass, that is the end of the road for them.
I find this view to be both presumptuous and theologically immature. Presumptuous, because the Bible is clear that God valued the creatures he formed with his own hands and called them "very good", indicating that their existence pleased him. The Bible gives record that God, motivated by this pleasure and his love, personally and purposely protects and provides for his creatures from Eden past through Millennium future.
Indeed, his original plan in Eden was that animals (like humans) would live forever. His immutability precludes variance from that plan; irrespective of the temporary setback caused by the fall of mankind. It is presumptuous to think that God would change his mind on this matter, for his thoughts and plans are perfect and never in need of correction or change.
Continuing, I find the idea that animals have no souls theologically immature and lacking. The evidence found in scripture specifically supports that animals do indeed have souls just like people, but unlike people, do not need regeneration. It seems many ministers are content to accept (and pass on to others) what they heard from their Seminary Professor rather than study the topic out for themselves, and voids both their credibility and position.
The problem with this is that God warns us to "search out a thing whether it be so" and to "study to show thyself approved…". A shortcut around God's method of "knowing a thing" will often lead one to an erroneous view.
Such is the case with animals and the question of whether they are eternal or temporal creatures. Let us follow God's advice and see what his word has to say on the topic. Following is only a glimpse of the overall picture, but it will serve our purpose. Job 12:10, says: "In whose hand is the soul of every living thing”.
The word "soul" is used in over twenty different ways in the Bible. Invariably, when people come across this word in scripture, they automatically associate it with redemption, so much so that no matter what context it is used, the connection to salvation is always present in their minds and applied to the interpretation. In most cases, this is right and acceptable, but there are times when it is not.
Clearly, the gospel message is not for animals. It is exclusively for people. It is a reconciliatory outreach from God to those in need of salvation. However, to allow this truth to cause one to draw the conclusion that animals therefore cannot have souls, is to visit a gross injustice on scripture. In fact, the Hebrew word "nephesh" (soul), appears many times in scripture and is used interchangeably to describe both the essence of man and animals. It does not make a distinction between the two and it does not delve into salvation in its application. Rather, it addresses the consciousness of that soul.
This passage in Job is a good example of this point. The word soul is not used in relation to redemption, but rather addresses providential care. A better rendering of its meaning in this verse would be "the life or essence of every living thing…". God is speaking of that part of people and animals that contains or houses the "life" he has given to them.
When we mesh this thought in Job with Romans chapter 8 and Revelation 5:9-13, the meaning is clear, the life or essence of every living thing is in the hand of God. Undoubtedly this means that they are eternally provided for and protected, because there is no more secure place to be than in the almighty and eternal hands of God.
However, this word in Job indicates an even deeper thought for us to consider. We often refer to man as a flesh and blood body with a soul, but in truth, in keeping with the absolute intent of this word, man is a soul that has been placed in a flesh and blood body. The distinction is subtle, but it is immense in effect. This is our essence, that we are a soul, not a body. The body is temporal, but the soul eternal.
This truth applies to animals as well…they are not creatures with souls, but are eternal souls (or essences) given temporary bodies. The difference is, unlike humans, and much like the angels, animals need no redemption. So when we refer to their souls, we are merely acknowledging that they have essence and that this essence is eternal in nature, not that they need redemption like humans. They are innocent creatures whose souls are safe in the hand of their creator. The overwhelming evidence is that the soul of an animal is as eternal as the soul of man.
A special thank you to Gary Kurz for granting re print rights. Please visit his website at: http://www.coldnosesbook.com
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