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Your opinion: Do animals have souls?

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Niirewen

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I had a conversation today with a man at my church who strongly believes that animals do not have the capacity to feel love or emotion, and that pets are only attached to their owners because they feed them. I'm not very knowledgable on this subject, but being an animal lover, I disagreed, and continue to disagree with him. I thought this might be a good topic for discussion and I was wondering if some of you would care to give your opinions. So, what do you think?
 

Thorin

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Your question seem to be two fold:

1) Do animals have souls?

2) Do animals show love and emotion.

The answer to # 2 is a definite yes and not just because you feed them (unless they are cats :D ) Anybody who says otherwise might learn from observing, nevermind watching the discovery channel.

The answer to # 1 is a definite no if you are talking about some essence that survives death and floats around to 'doggy heaven'. For that matter, neither does mankind.

The Bible says that all creatures have the breath of life. The essence of life that God gave at creation is in us. It also says that when something dies, the body returns to dust and the breath to God who gave it. This breath is not conscious or immortal, but the life spark that made us alive. All animals and people ARE souls. They do not HAVE them (see Genesis 2:1,2). The immortality of the soul is a Greek dualistic belief, not a Christian or Hebraic belief.

Regardless of that, do I believe that God will resurrect and restore our beloved pets in heaven? We can only assume, but I would say yes. For some people, the only loved ones they've had were their pets. Pets who loved them unconditionally and stayed by their side loyally for 10-20 years. I would think that God loves us enough that he would want us to be happy with any sort of 'loved one' in heaven. Of course it is all speculation.
 

Barliman Butterbur

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Niirewen said:
I had a conversation today with a man at my church who strongly believes that animals do not have the capacity to feel love or emotion, and that pets are only attached to their owners because they feed them. I'm not very knowledgable on this subject, but being an animal lover, I disagreed, and continue to disagree with him. I thought this might be a good topic for discussion and I was wondering if some of you would care to give your opinions. So, what do you think?
I think that the first thing to be decided is what a soul is. Western religion defines a soul as the "essential you" that lives in your body and that goes to heaven or hell, depending. Eastern religion says that there is only one soul, and that's God, and we're all of us God, just as each wave is the ocean.

As for animals. I posted this elsewhere, but I think it fits here: I once saw, on a TV show, a mother harp seal weeping for her child as she saw it being bludgeoned and then skinned alive so that its fur could be used as a coat for some rich lady. I have seen dogs leap with love for their owner, and/or for their children. So as far as I'm concerned, animals have more than just "live bodies." By the way, some Eastern religions say that people reincarnate as animals if they screwed up, and that animals can eventually evolve into humans, to say nothing of American Indian beliefs in the powers of animals.

I think what's important is to treat both animals and ourselves and each other well, and the rest will take care of itself.

Lotho
 

Niirewen

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You're right, Thorin, my question is sort of two-fold, it's just that he thought of the two as almost the same (animals do not feel emotion, therefore they have no souls, and vice versa), but they probably should be approached as two different questions. Anyway, I appreciate both of your opinions, and your informaion is very helpful, especially your references to the Bible, Thorin. If the same discussion ever comes up again I will be well prepared. Thank you!

:)
 
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celebdraug

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animals are just the same ah humans in most ways. they move and eat and sleep and all, so they have sould too (if you believe humans have souls too).
All living beings have souls!
 

Merry

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Definition: In the Bible, "soul" is translated from the Hebrew ne´phesh and the Greek psy·khe´. Bible usage shows the soul to be a person or an animal or the life that a person or an animal enjoys. To many persons, however, "soul" means the immaterial or spirit part of a human being that survives the death of the physical body. Others understand it to be the principle of life. But these latter views are not Bible teachings.

Where does the Bible say that animals are souls?

Gen. 1:20, 21, 24, 25: "God went on to say: 'Let the waters swarm forth a swarm of living souls* . . . ' And God proceeded to create the great sea monsters and every living soul that moves about, which the waters swarmed forth according to their kinds, and every winged flying creature according to its kind. . . . And God went on to say: 'Let the earth put forth living souls according to their kinds . . . ' And God proceeded to make the wild beast of the earth according to its kind and the domestic animal according to its kind and every moving animal of the ground according to its kind." (*In Hebrew the word here is ne´phesh. Ro reads "soul." Some translations use the rendering "creature.")

Lev. 24:17, 18: "In case a man strikes any soul [Hebrew, ne´phesh] of mankind fatally, he should be put to death without fail. And the fatal striker of the soul [Hebrew, ne´phesh] of a domestic animal should make compensation for it, soul for soul." (Notice that the same Hebrew word for soul is applied to both mankind and animals.)

Rev. 16:3: "It became blood as of a dead man, and every living soul* died, yes, the things in the sea." (Thus the Christian Greek Scriptures also show animals to be souls.) (*In Greek the word here is psy·khe´. KJ, AS, and Dy render it "soul." Some translators use the term "creature" or "thing.")
 

Beleg

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Lotho what's your defination of eastern religion?
 

Barliman Butterbur

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celebdraug said:
animals are just the same ah humans in most ways. they move and eat and sleep and all, so they have sould too (if you believe humans have souls too).
All living beings have souls!
As you said: IF you believe humans have souls too. I think what we're getting at is, does our essential "I-ness" survive death? This, for me, is something neither provable nor disprovable, although it sure would be nice to finally get to an eternal realm akin to heaven!

Lotho
 

Barliman Butterbur

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Beleg said:
Lotho what's your definition of eastern religion?
Well, basically Hinduism and Buddhism. In one of my posts I outlined the basic tenets of Hinduism (which was appreciated by some of the readers here, I suggest looking it up by doing that search thingie), and the main difference between the two is that one postulates the existence of God and the other (Buddhism) doesn't. I float between the two, that's why I consider myself an agnostic.

Lotho

AFTERPOST EDIT: Have we finally gotten rid of those quotebox scrollbars? Yippee!:D
 

Thorin

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Merry said:
Definition: In the Bible, "soul" is translated from the Hebrew ne´phesh and the Greek psy·khe´. Bible usage shows the soul to be a person or an animal or the life that a person or an animal enjoys. To many persons, however, "soul" means the immaterial or spirit part of a human being that survives the death of the physical body. Others understand it to be the principle of life. But these latter views are not Bible teachings.
:eek: Wow! I thought I was the only member on this forum who believed this! Another Bible following believer! Who-hoo! There aren't many of them, that's for sure! (I'm probably going to get my hands slapped for that comment!)
 

Eriol

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Thorin said:
:eek: Wow! I thought I was the only member on this forum who believed this! Another Bible following believer! Who-hoo! There aren't many of them, that's for sure! (I'm probably going to get my hands slapped for that comment!)
:D

*slaps Thorin's hands*

When this thread was opened I thought I'd wait a while to see the problems of ambiguous usage of the word "soul" sorted out. It was a good move, and the discussion was very good as regards that.

If "soul" is to be taken in the "Bible sense" espoused by Merry and Thorin, I think that animals have souls. One question, though, for Merry: what is the difference between "the life that a person or an animal enjoys" (the Bible teaching) and "the principle of life" (a non-Biblical teaching according to you)?

However, I see no linkage between soul in the Biblical (Genesis) sense and the expression of emotions. Can animals feel love? Heck, I know people who can't :D. But "emotion" is also an ambiguous word. Most of us include things such as fear and sexual drive under "emotion", and there is no doubt that higher animals feel this. When we discuss love, however, I think we have gone beyond the animal ability.

Finally, I see no linkage between soul in the Biblical sense and the belief in a part of the self that survives death. One does not contradict the other, or to state it more clearly, humans can have a soul and a spirit, while animals have only a soul.

My opinion is: we don't have enough data for any firm opinion ;). I think animals and plants have "souls" in the biblical sense; I believe that humans have an immortal spirit; I think that animals can't feel love.
 

Celebthôl

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Eriol said:
My opinion is: we don't have enough data for any firm opinion ;). I think animals and plants have "souls" in the biblical sense; I believe that humans have an immortal spirit; I think that animals can't feel love.
Ahhh, but if it comes to that, how do we (humans) know that we have souls? We don't have "enough data for any firm opinion" there either ;) we can have faith and all, but theres not really anything to suggest either way of it ;)
 

Thorin

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Eriol said:
:DFinally, I see no linkage between soul in the Biblical sense and the belief in a part of the self that survives death. One does not contradict the other, or to state it more clearly, humans can have a soul and a spirit, while animals have only a soul.

My opinion is: we don't have enough data for any firm opinion ;). I think animals and plants have "souls" in the biblical sense; I believe that humans have an immortal spirit; I think that animals can't feel love.
Ah, my dear Eriol. When are you going to start putting more validity to what is in the Bible? There is ample enough resource to show that there is no such thing as a difference between "mortal soul" and "immortal spirit". There is nothing at ALL to suggest one lives on and the other doesn't. Interesting that your view seems to differ on the typical Catholic belief that the 'soul' survives death (i.e. man has an immortal soul, animals do not) Now it is not the soul, but the 'spirit' that is immortal? On the contrary the spirit is nothing more than the spark(breath) that creates life (soul). When one ceases to exist, so does the other. The spirit returns to God who gave it (as given evidence by Job, Solomon, Stephen being stoned and Christ on the cross) but it is not immortal, nor is it translated or used in the scriptures as being immortal. It is the life principle (probably more metaphoric). You cannot look at the word for 'spirit' used in these instances and interpret it as immortal.

We've been through this before.

I can guarantee that you are going to have to rely on your "sacred tradition" to back up your views, because it isn't in the Bible (from which your church is supposed to have derived their beliefs from). Of course Paul and all the other disciples believed in resurrection, not immortality so you're going to have to rely on 'church tradition' not apostolic tradition.

Conclusion: both animals and humans do not have souls, but are souls. Mankind will be resurrected to immortality at the second coming of Christ and all life will be restored in the New World at the end of time (maybe even including our beloved pets).
 

omnipotent_elf

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This may come as a sock to most people, BUT WE ARE NOT THE ONLY THING LIVING ON THE PLANET. AS SUCH, NOT EVERYTHING IS BASED ON US.
additionally, whether animals have a soul or not shouldn't be determined on christian beliefs- nor any religious beliefs, cause as far as we all know, they dont have any religion.

now as you seem intent on presenting the widely practiced (on this forum anyways) christian belief - for an alternative view : look at buddhist
- if they are to be believed than animals do have a soul. They gain it through reincarnation. One of the things I love about buddhism, is that it is possible that the humans only gained their "soul" through reincarnation. It is possible that the animal orignally contained the sould, and that through re-incarnation a human gained what was once an animals soul. (but dont get me wrong, i myself am not a firm believer in re-incarnation, just putting froward a belief system which i happen to understand and i think is more feasible....juts my humble opinion)


Conclusion: both animals and humans do not have souls, but are souls. Mankind will be resurrected to immortality at the second coming of Christ and all life will be restored in the New World at the end of time (maybe even including our beloved pets).
.

Human beings will almost ensure that the world is uninhabitable anyways, but what makes you think that humans will be the ones who will be resurrected?. Hmm? They have done nothing to the world, except kill, enslave and destroy. They even overpopulate. To me, this idea that humans will be resurrected is highly foolish. Humans have done nothing to warrent a resurrection.... but this is getting of topic
 

Barliman Butterbur

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Celebthôl said:
Ahhh, but if it comes to that, how do we (humans) know that we have souls? We don't have "enough data for any firm opinion" there either ;) we can have faith and all, but theres not really anything to suggest either way of it ;)
My kinda guy!:D

Lotho
 

Eriol

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Celebthôl said:
Ahhh, but if it comes to that, how do we (humans) know that we have souls? We don't have "enough data for any firm opinion" there either ;) we can have faith and all, but theres not really anything to suggest either way of it ;)
I have immediate data about my own self; more immediate than any other kind of data. There's plenty of data there. I have no access to data about animals' selves. Also, "soul" in the Biblical sense (used - so far - in this thread) is obviously present in humans. I think you are referring to an immortal self :).

Thorin said:
We've been through this before.
Yep :D. I don't have any qualms about relying on sacred tradition. My Church is not supposed to have "derived" its beliefs from the Bible; my Church wrote the Bible, and had beliefs before there was any Christian Bible. It's the other way around, the Bible is supposed to have derived from my Church ;). And I never said that my views on "spirit" are Biblical. I said they don't contradict the Bible. We have also been through this before :).

I simply call the immortal self "spirit" to avoid confusion with the word "soul". The more technical term would be "intellectual soul", but I hope (hehe) that what I mean by "soul" and "spirit" in this thread is clear.

Omnipotent_elf said:
additionally, whether animals have a soul or not shouldn't be determined on christian beliefs- nor any religious beliefs, cause as far as we all know, they dont have any religion.
Does this means that atheists and agnostics (without any religion) don't have a soul? hehe, just a joke. I agree, Christian beliefs do not determine anything. They are either right or wrong. Reality is the real thing (an interesting turn of phrase).

The inquiry is about reality, not about Christian beliefs. Nonetheless, Christians have beliefs, and have reasons behind the beliefs. Just as Buddhists ;). We have to decide what is more likely to be true. Christians are sometimes considered "blind believers", but we have very good reasons to believe... you'd be surprised ;).
 
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celebdraug

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The Soul is the essential to all living beings, wether them being humans or animals!

The soul is something that cant be touched, smelt, sely, IT IS JUST THERE!
 

Merry

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Eriol said:
:D

If "soul" is to be taken in the "Bible sense" espoused by Merry and Thorin, I think that animals have souls. One question, though, for Merry: what is the difference between "the life that a person or an animal enjoys" (the Bible teaching) and "the principle of life" (a non-Biblical teaching according to you)?
I agree with the statement that humans and animals are souls rather than we have souls.

Not at any point do I suggest that humans and animals share the same standard of mental and emotional thoughts. God clearly made animals to be in subjection to us and Jesus Christ came to the earth and died on our behalf and not for pets (or else he could have come to save the earth in the form of a lion or horse which is a rediculus idea).

The Bible account shows that, of all earth's creatures, only man was made in God's image and likeness. He was given dominion over all others of earth's creatures. (Gen. 1:26-28) Though interested in the animal creation and in naming its many members, Adam "found no helper as a complement of him" among them. (Gen. 2:19, 20) They were all subhuman, well described by Jesus' disciples Peter and Jude as "unreasoning animals."-2 Pet. 2:12; Jude 10.

True, animals play, they display emotions such as pleasure, depression, affection, fear, anger and anxiety. They also differ from one another as individuals, showing distinctive characteristics between kinds and within kinds. Yet, as Hans Bauer, on the basis of much evidence and research, points out in his book Animals Are Quite Different (translated from German by James Cleugh): "However much [an animal's] actions may resemble, in their effects, those of human beings . . . it is never upon abstract ideas that an animal bases its career or even the separate acts of which that career is composed. . . . Nothing an animal does or omits to do ever happens anywhere in consequence of a train of ideas, deliberate consideration or belief." Rather, he concludes, "It is a result of the environmental conditions with which the animal has to cope."-Page 34; compare Psalm 32:9.

Humans, by contrast, can form ideas, they can use deductive and inductive reasoning, reaching conclusions that require going from a specific case or incident to the formation of a general rule, or they can reason from cause to effect or effect to cause. Man can therefore use knowledge and understanding gained from past experiences to solve new problems that arise. He can thus consciously and of his own will build on his knowledge and understanding. He can also comprehend, believe in and hold to standards of right and wrong, good and bad, justice and injustice. Animals can do none of these things.
 

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omnipotent_elf said:
Human beings will almost ensure that the world is uninhabitable anyways, but what makes you think that humans will be the ones who will be resurrected?. Hmm? They have done nothing to the world, except kill, enslave and destroy. They even overpopulate. To me, this idea that humans will be resurrected is highly foolish. Humans have done nothing to warrent a resurrection.... but this is getting of topic
Maybe you should start a thread as you have some interesting points here. If you would be good enough to tolerate my use of the christian bible one more time you will read at Revelation 11:18:

18 But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time for the dead to be judged, and to give [their] reward to your slaves the prophets and to the holy ones and to those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth."

Mankind has a lot to answer for and the bible talks about their future but notice the scripture at Psalm 37:29:

The righteous themselves will possess the earth,
And they will reside forever upon it.

Not all humans are destined for the chop!!
 

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additionally, whether animals have a soul or not shouldn't be determined on christian beliefs- nor any religious beliefs, cause as far as we all know, they dont have any religion.
This is like saying that whether animals have thyroid glands or not shouldn't be determined by medicine because animals don't practice medicine.

They either have it or they don't. It doesn't matter whether they know they have it or not. If I don't know I have a thyroid gland, I still have one. . .unless you stole it. Who has my thyroid gland!
 
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