Do animals have souls?


What are the views of any denomination?


Yes, just not immortal, rational souls.

For more information on how the Church sees animals in the lives of human beings, check the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2415-2418


There are some religions that believe animals have souls and they do go to heaven. The catholic church says animals have souls but are not immortal so they don’t exist anymore after they die, therefore they don’t go to heaven.

Here is an interesting read:

Sister Mary Martha says this: "In the interest of full disclosure, nowhere in the Catechism of the Catholic Church does it state that “animals do not go to heaven”.

Even though Sister Mary Martha stated the above quote, she also stated that “people have immortal souls. Animals do not. Hence there is no soul to go to heaven”.

So, what I don’t understand is, don’t both of those statements contradict themselves? If nowhere in the Catechism of the Catholic Church does it state that “animals do not go to heaven”, then how do we know they aren’t there?

Im confused.


I am in no way speaking for the Church as I am by no means a theologian. But here is my opinion. I know there are others who disagree with that, and that’s fine. But I picture heaven as a place that is filled with things and people that you love that have gone on before and for me that definitely includes my pets.

The truth of the matter is that none of us know what heaven exactly is. It might be “different” for each of us depending on our joys on earth. I try to spend my time making sure that I’m doing things that will ensure I get to heaven instead of wondering what will be waiting for me when I get there.:smiley:


I believe the general Catholic idea on the subject is based on Aristotle's understanding of the soul (and from there, St. Thomas Aquinas'). According to them, every living thing has a soul, but man's rationality is an additional factor and the source of our soul's immortality-- the image of God in our souls.
On the other hand, brilliant as Aristotle and St. Thomas were, they have been known to be wrong, and especially when talking about heaven we really have no way to know if they are right (which either would readily admit). I think that's why there is some contradiction sometimes when talking about it. According to the way we understand souls, it seems unlikely that animals have immortal souls, but who is to say that God can't have animals in heaven?


Humans, animals and plants have souls. The soul is what animates them.

Only humans have an immortal soul.


[quote="atg2, post:1, topic:213227"]
What are the views of any denomination?


Many religions believe in reincarnation. Basically everything has a soul and goes on and on forever in different forms. You might come back as a dog or a cricket then be reborn into something else again in another life. Christian teaching has always said that only human souls are immortal. I'll miss by animals but maybe I'll have new one in heaven so to speak.;)


All Dogs go to Heaven! :slight_smile:
Perhaps reading up on Saint Hildegard of Bingen will contain an answer for you. Part of it being that all life has a soul, and that nature, animals and humans were separated from Heaven after the Fall, but through Christ humans can deliver nature/creatures to God in Heaven as it was supposed to be.


I acquired the fondest of affections for my pets. I've come to think of the concept of animals in heaven as a property of the soul of the human who loved the animal. God is merciful, God loves us. What I have come to love during the term of my humanity is imprinted on my soul. Perhaps in a theological absolute sense the actual soul of the pet will not obtain eternal life. However my intellectual reason, in tune with my emotional feelings, gives my heart and mind reason to believe that I will carry my pets soul (essence) to heaven through my own soul -- through the imprint my pet's soul left on my soul.

If I'm wrong it truly does not matter because if my soul makes it to heaven it will be face to face with Truth, Love, and ecstatic Joy.

Jesus promised: If you continue in my word... then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. ~ John 8:32


As much as I love them I have to say no.


I love animals, but they do not have an immortal part of themselves. People forget that there are souls and spirits and they are two DIFFERENT things. They are not synonymous. Souls are things that animals and humans have that animate them, then there are spirits (remember scripture says God is spirit) which are the immortal parts of us. Animals don’t have spirits.

Also if animals have spirits it really makes many hard ethical dilemmas for us. We kill them for food and clothing. How can we justify subjugating (either by having as pets, in zoos, or using for labor or raising for food), killing, or eating other creatures with spirits? It really doesn’t make sense to me. If they had spirits then we would have to be vegetarians.

Another issue is where do you draw the line? Are only animals used as pets and such animals that have souls (like dogs, cats, or birds)? What about cows, chickens, or pigs? Do bugs have souls? How about bacteria? How about viruses? Where is the line drawn? The most sensible solution is those with sentience like humans. We are self aware, spiritually able beings that have that sense that there is more to them then just the physical. Animals do not have this.


All dogs go to heaven?


Absolutely not. Why would God want you to eat a soul?


[quote="buffalo, post:6, topic:213227"]
Humans, animals and plants have souls. The soul is what animates them.

Only humans have an immortal soul.


Kinda funny to see the plants-have-souls bit but I get what you mean.


Amimals don't have immortal souls. I've heard people complain that they want their pet in heaven and it's hard for them to imagine God not letting them have their beloved pet. However, when I think of the actual human beings that I love, that have passed away in various states of ungrace, I'm hard pressed to worry about my pug dog. (And he's a really cute dog!) Besides that, when you are standing before the Lord in all His glorious love, do you really think you'll be saying, "Gee, this is okay. Now, if I only had a puppy..."


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