Click the photo to learn more about the author’s book

This is a guest post by blogger Dan Story. Dan looks at the question, “Do animals have souls”? Dan is well qualified on the topic and has a BA in theology and an MA in Christian apologetics. He is the author of seven books and dozens of articles, and is a contributing writer for the “Christian Research Journal”. Dan has taught apologetic classes in Bible college, spearhead apologetic workshops, and has given presentations on Christian environmental ethics as well as his newest book, Will Dogs Chase Cats in Heaven?: People, Pets, and Wild Animals in the Afterlife (at right). Dan can be contacted at

What Happens to Our Pets

A black, brown and white Shiba Inu mix relaxing on a deck. Do animals have souls?

What happens to animals when they die? Do they have souls? Christian apologist Dan Story examines this issue.

Having loved and lost several dog friends during the past thirty-plus years, like millions of other pet owners, I wondered if I’d see them again in the next life. So I embarked on research journey to learn what the Bible, Christian theologians (past and present) and even science had to say on the subject. I came away convinced that is there is a huge amount of compelling evidence that pets and (at least) sentient wild animals will join God’s people in Heaven. I demonstrate this in my new book,Will Dogs Chase Cats in Heaven?: People, Pets, and Wild Animals in the Afterlife What follows in this blog is an excerpt relevant to that conclusion, which rests on the accumulated evidence of the previous seven chapters.

I demonstrate in my book that many Christian scholars believe that animals have souls and will inhabit Heaven. The question I address here is what is their origin? As I see it there are only three options.

Bull elk in brown grass in Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado. Do wild animals have souls?

Do elk and other wild animals have souls? Will they join us in heaven?

The first option is that the animals inhabiting the New Earth are the same kinds of animals dwelling on Earth today, but recreated anew for Heaven. In other words, the same varieties of animals, but not the same ones actually living today and later resurrected to dwell in Heaven. This view, however, seems inconsistent with God’s righteous judgment. Rather than recreating the same kinds of animals now living on Earth and placing them in Heaven, it seems more likely that God will resurrect existing animals, which for no fault of their own are innocent victims of mankind’s sin (the curse—Gen. 3). Furthermore, nowhere does the Bible suggest that God will recreate the same kinds of animals now living on Earth to populate the restored New Earth.

A second possibility is that the animals destined to inhabit Heaven are different kinds of animals than today’s earthly varieties. God could create entirely new species of animals specifically designed for Heaven. The problem with this theory is that there is no biblical precedent for making such a claim; the animals the Bible mentions that will dwell in the new heaven and earth are the same kinds of animals presently inhabiting Earth today (e.g. Isa.11:6-8). When Jesus returns to make His grand appearance in the last days, He will be riding on a horse—not a unicorn!

We can Logical Conclude Animals have Souls

The third option is the most probable. The animals that will reside in Heaven are those that have died under the curse, redeemed with saved humanity and the rest of creation (Romans 8:19-23), and resurrected at the end of this age. Why else would God give animals’ immortal souls and redeem them alongside save humanity at the end of this present age, if they are not going to be resurrected in imperishable, physical bodies? In other words, if the redemption of God’s people includes resurrected bodies in the age to come, it is consistent with God’s great love for and enjoyment of the animals He created that they too will be blessed with resurrected bodies (see Job 39; Ps. 50:10-11; 104).

You can read a description of Will Dogs Chase Cats in Heaven? at Click on “description” at the bottom of the home page.

Click Will Dogs Chase Cats in Heaven?: People, Pets, and Wild Animals in the Afterlifeto learn more about the book and discover read for yourself if animals have souls.



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Does the Bible Teach that Animals have Souls — 4 Comments

  1. I’ve not done any study on it, but is it possible animals are simply resurrected or recreated and the concept of a soul only applies to humans where either eternal rewards or punishment are concerned?

    • I have read about animals having souls before reading the book mentioned the article. It seems most classic theologians agree that they do. The debate is whether the soul is eternal. Here is what the author had to say to some people who commented on my Facebook page

      “The Bible clearly states that animals do have souls–and I dedicate a chapter demonstrating it. Almost all theologians agree animals have souls. If so, there is no reason not believe they will join us in heaven. Although there is much more evidence than having souls to support that claim, certainly possessing a soul is most important for immortality.”

      “The Bible clearly teaches that animals have souls. J. P Moreland, one of evangelicals foremost scholars, recently wrote a book ( THE SOUL) and plainly states that animals have souls. Most theologians throughout history agree.”

      “Actually the Hebrew word for spirit (ruach) is used for animals (e.g. Gen. 7:22; Ps 104:29; Eccl. 3:19). However, for animals the word is essentially used the same as soul (nephesh). So animals do not have a “spirit” in the sense of humans; the spirit being our personal connectedness with God, which only humans have by virtue of being created in God’s image. Animals do not have this. But this is a separate issue from the immortality of their souls – nor their resurrection into Heaven a part of Jesus’s redemption of all creation (Rom. 8: 19-23).

  2. I have not done a study on this either. But I have always believed our pets will be reunited with us in Heaven.
    I have heard some religious leaders comment that they also believe our pets will be in Heaven. They are God’s creation. I hope I will see all my precious pets again someday.
    Thank you for writing your commentary

    • Hi Jill, Thanks for your comments. I’m with you and hope that we will see our pets in heaven again. In the book mentioned, the author makes a very strong case that they will be in heaven with us.

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