WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REALLY TEACH About Our Animal Pets Being Resurrected?

Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 100 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

Humans were charged with caring for the earth and all its animals. The Bible says: “You have [God has] given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.” The Bible says elsewhere, “The heavens are the heavens of the LordBut the earth He has given to the sons of men.”—Psalm 8:6-8; 115:16.

The obligation and responsibility that we have been given to care for the animals are extremely important. God’s Word says: “The righteous know the life of his animal, but the compassion of the wicked is cruel.” (Proverbs 12:10) Indeed, the Mosaic Law given to Israel repeatedly stressed the need to be kind and thoughtful of animals. (Deuteronomy 22:4, 10; 25:4) Over the thousands of years of human existence, as we have carried out our responsibility of caring for the animals, we have made some domestic animals our pets. Humans have even tamed wild animals (lions, bears, tigers, snakes, spiders), making pets of them too.—Genesis 1:24.

Are any animals resurrected, including our pets? What we must keep in mind is, even though the Bible says, “all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6), the Bible highlights the difference between humans and animals. Luke 3:6 is not a verse that should be used to support universal salvation, nor is it a verse to support the resurrection of animals either. In short, Luke 3:6 is saying that salvation is offered to all humankind, which anyone of us can reject with our free will. Moreover, “all flesh” here is a reference to humankind. Luke is quoting Isaiah 40:5, which reads, “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” “All flesh shall see it” suggests that those receiving salvation are cognizant, that is, having a knowledge or being aware of “the glory of the Lord,” an ability that animals do possess. Animals are incapable being aware of the glory of their Creator. Moreover, Luke had already referred to Isiah 40:5 earlier in his Gospel, where he wrote, “for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples [Gr. λαός (laos)].”

It was humans that were made ‘in the image and likeness of God,’ not animals. (Genesis 1:26) Moreover, animals were created with a limited lifespan, while humans had the prospect of living on earth forever. (Genesis 3:22-23; Psalm 37:29) Jesus Christ said that to enjoy “eternal life,” we must ‘believe [active faith] in the Son’ and “know … the only true God, and Jesus Christ.” Animals are incapable of having active faith in God and knowing the Father and the Son. (John 3:36; 17:3) Moreover, the Bible compares those that are not worthy of a resurrection to the “irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed”—2 Peter 2:9-12.

Some have argued that animals have souls in order to support the argument for their being resurrected. Animals do not have souls, they are souls. Humans do not have souls. they are souls.

THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

Genesis 2:7 American Standard Version (ASV)

And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The Christian apostle Paul, the writer of fourteen books of the Bible, supports Moses’ writings, saying, “So also it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living soul’ … The first man was from the earth, a man of dust.” (1 Cor. 15:45, 47, UASV)

Human soul = body [dust of the ground] + active life force (“spirit”) [Hebrew, ruachwithin the trillions of human cells that make up the human body + breath of life [Hebrew, neshamah] that sustains the life force from God.

Genesis 2:7 tells us that God formed man out of the “dust of the ground.” In other words, he was formed from the elements of the soil. This body needed life, so God caused the trillions of cells to come to life, giving him the force of life. Ruach “spirit” is the active life force that Adam now possessed. However, for this life force to continue to feed these trillions of cells, there needed to be oxygen, sustained by the breathing. Therefore, we all know what God did next: he “breathed into his nostrils the breath [neshamah] of life.” At this point, Adam’s lungs would sustain the breathing the life force into those body cells.

If we are to understand fully what the “soul” is, we must investigate what the Hebrew and Greek words mean. The Hebrew word translated “soul” is nephesh. What does “nephesh” mean? The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary says,

In the Hebrew OT, the word generally translated “soul” is nephesh. The word occurs over 750 times, and it means primarily “life” or “possessing life.” It is used of both animals (Gen. 9:12Ezek. 47:9) and humans (Gen. 2:7). The word sometimes indicates the whole person, as for instance in Gen. 2:7 where God breathes breath (neshamah) into the dust and thus makes a “soul” (nephesh). A similar usage is found in Gen. 12:5 where Abram takes all the “souls” (persons) who were with him in Haran and moves on to Canaan. Similarly in Num. 6:6 it is used as a synonym for the body—the Nazirite is not to go near a dead nephesh (Lev. 7:21Hag. 2:13). (Brand, Draper and Archie 2003, 1523)

The American Standard Version has our literal rendering of nephesh at Genesis 2:7, “and man became living soul.” The English Standard Version offers an interpretation of nephesh, “and the man became living creature.” (LEB same) The Holman Christian Standard Bible offers an interpretation of nephesh, “and the man became living being.” (NASB same) You will notice that Genesis 2:7 makes it all too clear that Adam was not given a soul, he does not have a soul, but that he became a living soul, i.e., a living creature, a living being. Therefore, the “soul” is the person, the creature, the being, not what we have.

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS Young Christians

When we die, what happens to the soul? If you recall from above, the “soul” is the person, the being, the creature, i.e., us, and the life we have. If you recall from above, the Human soul = body [dust of the ground] + active life force (“spirit”) [Hebrew, ruachwithin the trillions of human cells which make up the human body + breath of life [Hebrew, neshamah] that sustains the life force from God. In other words, the “soul” is we as a whole, everything that we are, so the soul or we humans can die. Let us look at a few verses, which make that all too clear.

Ecclesiastes 3:19-20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

19 For the fate of the sons of men [humans or people] and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. 20 All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust.

In other words, when we breathe our last breath, our cells begin to die. Death is ending all vital functions or processes in an organism or cell. When our heart stops beating, our blood is no longer circulating, carrying nourishment and oxygen (by breathing) to the trillions of cells in our body; we are what are termed, clinically dead. However, somatic death has yet to occur, meaning we can be revived, after many minutes of being clinically dead, if the heart and lungs can be restarted again, which gives the cells the oxygen they need.

After about three minutes of clinical death, the brain cells begin to die, meaning the chances of reviving the person is less likely as each second passes. We know that it is vital that the breathing and blood flow be maintained for the life force (ruach chaiyim) in the cells. Nevertheless, it is not the lack of breathing or the failure of the heart beating alone, but rather the active life force (“spirit”) [Hebrew, ruach] within the trillions of human cells which make up the human body + breath of life [Hebrew, neshamah] that sustains the life force from God.

APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot
Psalm 104:29 (ESV)

29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.

Psalm 146:4 (ESV)

When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.

Ecclesiastes 8:8 (ESV)No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it.

Again, …

Ezekiel 18:4(ESV)

Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

Leviticus 21:1(ASV)

21  And Jehovah said to Moses, Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them, There shall none defile himself for the dead [Or “for a soul.”] among his people;

Numbers 6:6(ASV)

All the days that he separates himself unto Jehovah he shall not come near to a dead body [Or “soul.”].

Again, the death of a “soul” means the death of a person …

1 Kings 19:4(ASV)

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper-tree: and he requested for himself that he [Or “his soul.] ”might die, and said, It is enough; now, O Jehovah, take away my life [soul]; for I am not better than my fathers.

Jonah 4:8(ASV)

And it came to pass, when the sun arose, that God prepared a sultry east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and requested for himself that he might die [Or “that his soul might die.”], and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

Mark 3:4(ASV)

And he said to them, Is it lawful on the sabbath day to do good, or to do harm? to save a life [Or “soul.”], or to kill? But they held their peace.

 

As you can see from the above texts, a “soul,” or person can die. However, how are we to understand those texts that say the “soul” went out of a person or came back into a person?

When we look at the Greek New Testament using a literal rendering, “soul,” the basic idea inherent in the word as the Bible writers used it, namely, that it is a living person, a living creature, or a living being; or, the life that a person or an animal has as a soul.

John 12:27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

27 “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.

Acts 2:43 American Standard Version (ASV)

43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

Romans 13:1 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

13  Every person [psuchesoul] is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 Lexham English Bible (LEB)

14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the disorderly, console the discouraged[oligopsuche, literally “those of little soul,” i.e., “discouraged.”], help the sick, be patient toward all people.

1 Peter 3:20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons [psuchaisouls], were brought safely through the water.

We notice here in the above verses that a soul can become troubled, fear can come upon a soul, a soul is to be in subjection to the governmental authorities, a soul can get discouraged, and souls can be delivered through a flood. These things happen to a person, a creature, a being, not an inanimate object within the human body, which supposed lives on after death. We note to from our quote of The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, animals are “souls” too.

Genesis 1:24 American Standard Version (ASV)

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures [nephesh, soul] after their kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind: and it was so.

 

Numbers 31:28 American Standard Version (ASV)

28 And levy a tribute unto Jehovah of the men of war that went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the oxen, and of the asses, and of the flocks:

 

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4 thoughts on “WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REALLY TEACH About Our Animal Pets Being Resurrected?

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  1. I’ve read far more detailed articles explaining that the scriptures do say that animals are resurrected.This article says that animals can’t comprehend the glory of God, yet the bible itself says that all creatures will praise God in the future in Revelations. As a Christian that has had loving and loyal pets, who has read other articles about this issue, I have to say that the other articles make a lot more sense and seem to be more detailed and more scripturally based that say that animals do have eternal life. Man is made in the image of God, yet angels are not, yet both are in heaven. Animals suffer, love, have emotions, feel pain, feel anxiety, feel depression, grieve, have loyalty and even have nervous systems made the same as humans.Not even a sparrow falls to the ground apart from the Father. As a Christian I find it terrible that someone would write that animals don’t have eternal life. It’s not true and could really repel a non-believer and give even a believer spiritual problems. Very wrong.

    1. Sorry, your Scriptures have no place in the discussion and are taken out of context. The Bible meaning is what the author meant by the words that they use. Because humans were created “in God’s image,” we are unique in how we display godly qualities, such as wisdom, justice, and love. Humans also have an innate capacity for morality and spirituality. Animals lack such human abilities because they were not created “in God’s image.” They are inferior and not intended to be treated in the same way as humans are. Does this mean that humans have the right to mistreat animals? No. In his Law to the Israelites, God ensured that animals would be given rest, food, help when distressed, and protection from injury.​—Exodus 23:4, 5; Deuteronomy 22:10; 25:4.

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