pets02I received the following question:

Do animals have a spirit? And if they do is it the same spirit? Would them make them be in heaven?

Most definitely yes, as can be seen clearly my study on “Spirits and Souls,” here: . We never even got out of the first book of the Bible to learn this! If you have the time and want to, though, you can really solidify it in your mind by continuing the study I began and looking at ALL the occurrences of these two words. In Greek, spirit = pneuma and soul = psuche.

Asking if it is the same spirit is another good question! Ecclesiastes 3:18-22 says,

18. I said in my heart, “Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals.” 19. For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. 20. All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. 21. Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth? 22. So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

This passage insists that men are just like animals, in that they die just like animals. Verse 19 uses the word for spirit, “ruach,” translated here “breath,” telling us they all have one breath, one spirit. So the spirit of animals is not different than the spirit of men. Verse 21, in the ancient translations from Hebrew into other languages (the Septuagint, Syriac, Targum, and Vulgate) reads, “Who knows whether the spirit of the sons of men goes upward, and whether the spirit of the animal goes downward to the earth?” So even this verse might be suggesting that we don’t really know of any difference between animals and people when it comes to death. Now some try to discredit these verses, saying they are in Ecclesiastes, a book written from the perspective of “under the sun.” Yet if these things aren’t true, where in God’s Word is what IS true stated? When is it ever stated that people ARE different from animals in their death? Where is it ever written that their spirits ARE different? If there is no passage contradicting this, what evidence then is there that this is wrong? No, I believe this passage clearly teaches that, short of resurrection, a human being has no advantage over an animal in death.

As for your next question, I assume you mean, “Would that make them be in heaven?” I do not believe that death ushers either men or animals into heaven. The Bible teaches death as a return, not as a transition into another state. God warned Adam about death in Genesis 2:16-17:

16. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17. but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Adam did not listen, as we know, and once he had eaten the fruit, God explained what was going to happen to him this way, in Genesis 3:19.

19. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”

God explains to Adam that he was made of dust, and when he died he would return to dust. We know, too, that the breath of life returns to God when the person dies. Thus, death is a return. One who is dead has gone back to like he was before he lived. His body is dust, and his breath is gone. When you are dead, then, you are as you were before you were born. You know nothing, and are nowhere.

Ecclesiastes 9:5. For the living know that they will die;
But the dead know nothing,
And they have no more reward,
For the memory of them is forgotten.

Ecclesiastes 9:10. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.

Psalm 88:10. Will You work wonders for the dead?
Shall the dead arise and praise You?  Selah  
11. Shall Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave?
Or Your faithfulness in the place of destruction?
12. Shall Your wonders be known in the dark?
And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

Psalm 115:17. The dead do not praise the LORD,
Nor any who go down into silence.

Isaiah 38:18. For Sheol cannot thank You,
Death cannot praise You;
Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth.
19. The living, the living man, he shall praise You,
As I do this day;
The father shall make known Your truth to the children.

All these verses indicate that the dead don’t know anything, that the dead cannot do anything, and that it is only the living who can know and remember God. It is not through death that we enter the presence of God, but resurrection. So, neither men nor animals are in the presence of God at death. The only way we will ever live again after we die (or that animals will ever live again, if they do live again,) is by resurrection. But this has nothing to do with what kind of spirits or souls we have. Our spirits are as subject to death as our bodies are.