Do beloved animals also go to heaven and do they have a soul? Many pet owners may have asked themselves this question. An interested party approached a clergyman with this request, but of all people a Catholic pastor.
Inhalt / Content
- 1 When a questioner turns to the Catholic Church
- 2 A Catholic response to the “animal soul”
- 3 A purely Catholic mix of partial truths
- 4 The Bible defines the soul crystal clear
- 5 The difference between humans and animals
- 6 Job verse taken a bit out of context
- 7 The Bible contradicts the pastor
- 8 Was Noah a Jew?
- 9 Pantheism comes through repeatedly
- 10 The all-salvation theory?
- 11 It stands or falls with the truth
- 12 Summary of the Bible statements:
- 13 Only the Bible itself gives all the right answers
When a questioner turns to the Catholic Church
There are, and this is understandable, people who worry about whether animals also go “to heaven”. This mainly affects the owners of their beloved pets. This in turn is often linked to the question of whether animals also have souls. The magazine “katholisch.de” has a section where people can ask their questions about various theological topics. In a recent post, an interested person asked exactly this constellation, whether animals go “to heaven” and whether they also have souls. Catholic pastor Christian Olding gave an answer to this question asked via video (Source ).
A Catholic response to the “animal soul”
Right at the beginning of the answer, Olding states that “Catholic theology” cannot give a conclusive answer to this question of whether animals will also come to heaven. However, it is very difficult to answer such questions because people already have a disturbed relationship with animals, the environment and creation in general. This is shown “all too clearly” by the “climate crisis” and the general ecological debates about it.
His personal opinion on the question of whether animals also go to heaven is the spontaneous answer “yes, where else?”.
A pair of each animal species
But immediately afterwards, the pastor emphasizes that although this question should be made larger, a question mark should actually be raised regarding the appropriateness of the fundamental question of whether animals go to heaven. After all, this is a purely human perspective. In Olding’s opinion, the animals have their own value. You can find confirmation of this in the Bible, namely in the book of Genesis. Noah was commissioned to bring a pair of each animal species into the ark. This applies not only to the clean animals that the “Jews were allowed to eat,” but also to the unclean animals. Even with these, there is a “deep knowledge that humans need animals in order to survive in this way.” The pastor then describes a statement in the book of Job that one only needs to ask the animals to get an answer. The hidden message behind it is that God wants all of creation and has also brought it into existence.
Hellenistic wisdom as evidence
Olding then quotes from the “Book of Wisdom”. This is a written work that is not present in every Bible, but is still present in the variants of the Catholic Bibles. A “collection of wisdom” from the Hellenistic Judeans of the time. This “Book of Wisdom” can be found, among other things, in the Septuagint. A Bible from the Old Testament that was once translated into Greek and with sometimes strange modifications to the original text in such a way that the Septuagint even contradicts itself(more Info).
The quote is as follows: “Everything you’ve done, God, you love. And if you hated it, you wouldn’t have done it.”
For the Catholic pastor, this contains a fundamental statement: “Love means: I want you to exist.” Since God loves all of his creation, there is a legitimate hope that the four-legged friends will be with us in heaven, said the pastor.
The “saints” have to serve
The pastor answers the interested party’s question as to whether animals also have souls by pointing out that this is not clearly answered in theology. However, Thomas Aquinas and Augustine spoke out against this. However, things are completely different with “Saint” Francis of Assisi. He referred to the animals as siblings. From this point of view things look completely different. According to the pastor, the difference between lives with a soul and without a soul is foreign to the Bible. There are many reasons to keep our hopes high that our four-legged friends will also be in heaven with us.
In conclusion, Olding urged that the animals, which are ultimately God’s creatures and have a permanent place here, should be treated with respect and ethical considerations.
A purely Catholic mix of partial truths
If the pastor had stuck to the line that it was a purely Catholic point of view, then this answer could have been recognized as purely the Roman Church’s own creation and then thrown into the shredder. But the questioner wanted to know what was actually going on and not the view and dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church.
Here it becomes clear once again how immensely important it is to answer these questions yourself using the Bible. Better yet, let the Bible answer these questions and not the personal opinion of a pastor whose theology is based on the Catholic catechism anyway. Once again, a person is relying on the statements of a person who, according to his position, “ultimately must know” the answer.
However, this pastor did not only refer to the Catholic perspective, but also used the Bible to explain things. And as was to be expected, he did not represent the biblical statements entirely correctly. Just not to put the accusation of “blatant lies” directly into the context.
The Bible defines the soul crystal clear
The Bible provides very clear information about the soul, the nature of the soul and who “has” or “does not have” it. Neither man nor animals “have” a soul, but as living beings made of flesh and blood, they “are” a soul. The body and the so-called life breath of God together make up the soul. This is already the case in Genesis 2:7:
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
This clearly describes: Man became a living soul and has no “separate” soul. The living person is the soul itself.
The difference between humans and animals
The “great difference” between man and beast is described in Ecclesiastes 3:19:
“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.”
Clearly described: Humans and animals are equal in nature when it comes to the soul. Both are living beings and therefore also souls. If the person or animal dies, the breath of life returns to God and the body decays back into dust and earth.
This clear heresy that humans have a separate and immortal soul is a Catholic specialty that does not agree with the Gospel in any single point (more Info). This is also clear in Job 14:12:
“So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.”
The Bible provides further information for the completely mortal human being, i.e. the soul – here.
Job verse taken a bit out of context
The passage from the book of Job (Job 12:7-9), justifiably highlighted by the pastor, reads as follows:
“But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?”
This statement from the Bible applies especially to those who do not want to believe in creation by God. One need only look at His entire creation to see that it could not have been a mere coincidence according to the theory of evolution. There is even scientific evidence to support the truth of the Bible’s creation account (here).
The Bible contradicts the pastor
Therefore, contrary to the pastor’s claim, the Bible does make a distinction between inanimate and animate beings. As the verses listed above prove, everything that has received the breath of life from God is the living and therefore also the soul. So, for example, people and animals. Plants are not included because they were intended at creation as food for humans and animals, and only plants. This was true until the flood. After the flood, due to the lack of plant diversity, humans were also allowed to eat animals. And at this point the pastor allowed himself to be caught telling the next untruth. Noah was supposed to bring one pair of unclean animals and seven pairs of clean animals onto the ark. If the pastor is referring to the Bible, it would be easy to quote the relevant verse. So in Genesis 7:2-3:
“Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.”
Was Noah a Jew?
But that’s not enough. In this context, the Catholic “cleric” again used the narrative that everything in the Old Testament was aimed at the Jews. However, clean and unclean applies to all people and this is also shown by God’s call to Noah to distinguish between clean and unclean animals. Were there already Jews back then? No. According to “Catholic logic,” if Noah and his family had been Jews, then everyone today would have to be Jews. After all, apart from Noah and his family (8 people in total), there were no other people on this earth. With the pastor’s conclusion that the unclean animals were also released for necessary consumption, he is once again mistaken. It was not for nothing that Noah was supposed to bring seven pairs of clean animals onto the ark, since the unclean animals were not intended for consumption. Whether it was grossly negligent or intentional remains to be seen, but the deception of eating unclean animals is a direct violation of God’s statutes.
Such representations like this one from the pastor suggest that these “old rules” ultimately only applied to Jews and are completely irrelevant to all Christians today. However, this accusation also applies to the large Protestant churches.
Pantheism comes through repeatedly
The fact that the pastor swings back and forth between the opinions of Augustine, Aquinas and Assisi is due to his Catholicism. But here it becomes clear again that, in addition to the Bible, people’s different teaching opinions are fished out in the way that fits them most comfortably. It is completely irrelevant what a “saint” declared by the Catholic Church once had to say, especially if these statements contradict the Gospel. Francis V. Assisi has recently become very popular in this regard because his overt pantheism forms the basis for the visions of the upcoming “alternative religion”. Preservation of creation is the motto, including the glorification, if not worship, of nature. The “prayer formulas” of the Catholic and Protestant churches on the occasion of the ecumenically held “Jubilee Year of the Earth” in 2020 also matched this. There was talk of “Brother Sun, Sister Water”.
The all-salvation theory?
The pastor’s derived message from the “Hellenistic wisdom” he quotes has a special character. For him, love means the result “that you exist”. The Catholic pastor is certainly right about creation, but not about what still lies ahead for humanity. Namely the court. This judgment has apparently been erased from the memory of the churches and the sheep they need to protect. “All-reconciliation” has long been one of the standards of the Protestant churches. This thesis tells people that a loving God will never destroy His creatures. This despite the fact that the opposite is unmistakably and often found in the Bible. With his thesis, “Love means: I want you to exist,” the pastor conveys exactly this version of a God who will “somehow” reconcile himself with all people and all of them will go to heaven. Is this deception a mistake or even intentional?
It stands or falls with the truth
After their earthly death, animals do not go to heaven (or hell) any more than humans do. They are simply dead. The breath of life returns to God and the bodies decay. After the resurrection at Jesus Christ’s return there will be no immediate earthly existence. This ominous thesis of a 1000-year earthly empire (more Info) belongs just as much to the realm of fantasy as the fables about an immortal soul. This 1000-year kingdom takes place in heaven, after which there will be the final judgment and only then will God recreate heaven and earth, including all animals and plants. While the redeemed people definitely go to the kingdom of heaven, animals are not mentioned in the Bible for this phase until the new earth. There are also no descriptions of the “resurrection” of animals for the ascension before the earth and its remaining inhabitants are completely destroyed. Details and processes about the kingdom of heaven and the new earth after 1000 years are all clearly described in the Bible. In this case in the book of Revelation in chapters 20 and 21(here is the start!).
Summary of the Bible statements:
Animals have no soul, just like humans. They are alive as one soul
That’s why there can’t be an “immortal soul”
There is no immediate ascension after (earthly death)
When Jesus Christ returns, the redeemed people will be resurrected
There is a 1000-year kingdom of heaven. Meanwhile the earth is inanimate
After the 1000-year kingdom, God recreates heaven and earth, as well as all animals and plants.
There is no law for animals, nor can animals sin as a result, nor is there a plan of salvation for them to be resurrected to eternal life. On the new earth there will be neither sin, nor suffering, nor death
Whether God will create new animals on the new earth that have a quasi-memory of their old owners is completely open to debate. At least there is nothing like that in the Bible
The bottom line is that most of this pastor’s statements are contrary to the teachings of the Bible.
Only the Bible itself gives all the right answers
If you seriously want to know what the Bible says about certain topics, the only place to look for is the Bible. Certainly not in the Catholic Church and no longer in the (supposedly) Protestant Church either. If they made it clear that this was their own individual view that differed from the Bible, then the questioner could freely decide to accept it or not. But these imaginative statements from these churches and their representatives are sold as biblical and therein lies the insidiousness. You can get suggestions, but the only true authority is and remains the Bible itself. No matter how gentle a pastor may deliver his sermons and explanations with folded hands, all that remains is the Bible and his own active mind.
Bible verses from King James Version