Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Eco on the animal soul

Umberto Eco reviews an anthology of ancient works devoted to considering the ensoulment of the animals:
On the animal soul

Acording to the ancients, animals possessed rational knowledge. But they also had feelings. And, according to this theology, they can therefore go to Heaven.

Einaudi published a lovely anthology of ancient writings on “The Soul of the Animals” (at 85 euros it is an expensive book but it is a really nice one.) It is not only we of contemporary times who are preoccupied with our dog or decide to go on a vegan diet in order to avoid killing animated beings. The ancients already considered the problem of when an animal possessed reason. In his Historia animalium, Aristotle said that in many animals could be seen traces of the quality of soul, by which animals demonstrated gentleness and courage, timidity, fear, and slyness, and even something that bears some similarities to wisdom.

It is in a stoic form that an argument appears, unanimously attributed to Chrysippus of Soli, that was destined to be of great popularity. It exists in two versions, but we will cite the more notable, that of Sextus Empiricus, in which he recounted a dog that, upon arriving at the meeting point of three paths and recognizing with its sense of smell that the prey had not taken two of them, deduced that it must have gone the third way. He thus proved that the dog knew reason according to the principles of logic.

Another fundamental text is “de sollertia animalium” by Plutarch, in which it is admitted that animal rationality is less perfect than human reason, but also notes that diverse grades of perfection are also found amongst human beings (an elegant way of insinuating that we are beings who reason like the animals.). In another text, “Bruta animalia ratioe uti”, to those who objected that one could not attribute reason to beings that did not have an innate notion of the divine, Plutarch responds by recalling that Sisyphus, too, was an atheist. It is on that basis that he rejects a carnivorous diet, albeit with many exceptions,

We have a radical vegeterian thesis in the “De abstinentia” of Porphyry. For Porphyry, the animals express the ideal interior state and the fact that they don't understand us is no more embarrassing to them than the fact that we don't understand the language or the thought of the Indians or the Scythians.

It is too bad that the Einaudian account ends with Porphyry, although the volume has more than 500 pages as it is. It would have been interesting to have an anthology series in multiple volumes that contained the succeeding discussions, from the beautiful pages of Montaigne refuting Cartesian mechanics to the long and protracted polemics involving Leibniz, Locke, Cudworth, More, Shaftesbury, Cordemoy, Fontenelle, Bayle, Buffon, Rousseau, Condillac and others.
I don't know if all dogs go to Heaven or not. But frankly, it is very, very difficult to imagine a place that could be reasonably called Heaven, or be considered anything even remotely akin to a paradise, without them.

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Anonymous Andy May 13, 2015 4:34 AM  

Really good twilight zone about this. The devil tries to trick a dead man into hell, but won't let his dog in whom he died drying to save from drowning.

The angel meets him down the road and takes him to heaven, which, for this man, was hunting, fishing, country fairs and spending time with his wife.

I don't know what the afterlife will bring, but I certainly believe in good and evil and I've thrown in with who I think is the good guys.

Anonymous The Original Hermit May 13, 2015 4:54 AM  

I consider faeries to be like squirrels of the spirit world. I see no reason to completely preclude the idea of an animal having a simple soul.

Anonymous Jeanne -- Minion #0118 May 13, 2015 4:56 AM  

I've always felt that way about Horses.

Cats on the other hand? Nah. Those little furry ghouls are certainly soulless..... ;)

Anonymous anonymous coward May 13, 2015 5:03 AM  

There's no such thing as 'heaven'. Christ only talked about the Kingdom of God. And yes, the resurrection will be a bodily one.

Blogger S1AL May 13, 2015 5:08 AM  

Anonymous coward:

... Are you serious about that or making some sort of obscure joke?

Anonymous The Original Hermit May 13, 2015 5:11 AM  

He's holding a herring in his hand, trying to see who will give chase.

Blogger S1AL May 13, 2015 5:13 AM  

Hey, after talking with JW's and Mormons and purple who think that Narnia is part of the occult, I'm just not sure anymore.

Anonymous The Original Hermit May 13, 2015 5:19 AM  

I keep it in the area of "I'm not sure, but it's not a salvation issue so I'll throw around ideas but not going to claim any as true or not true"

Anonymous CJ May 13, 2015 5:22 AM  

Ed Feser and David Bentley Hart are currently having an exchange about this. Feser says that their won't be animals in Heaven based on his Thomistic principles. Har's articles are behind the First Things paywall so I only get his position from Feser's rebuttal.

Anonymous zen0 May 13, 2015 5:32 AM  

What about animals that aren't so human-friendly, like rats? They crap all over everything and wreck stuff.

Anonymous The Original Hermit May 13, 2015 5:55 AM  

Besides the gnawing thing, rats agent terrible in and of themselves. They're a disease vector, but that's not their fault. #notallrats

Anonymous The Original Hermit May 13, 2015 5:58 AM  

Yeah, I'm not sure if I even believe that myself.

Anonymous Cinco May 13, 2015 6:03 AM  

Then they came for my steak dinner...

Blogger Rantor May 13, 2015 6:16 AM  

The Bible tells us of a new Heaven and a new earth where the lion lies with the lamb, the child plays over the adder's home. Apocalyptic literature is the hardest to interpret, but I believe that animals will be on the new earth. What I doubt is that our particular animals will be with us. Man was made in the image of God and the animals weren't.

God made animals with great personalities and uniqueness. That is another sign of his love for us and all creation. While I think it would be great if my dog was admitted to heaven, I do not see anything in the Bible to indicate that animals have immortal souls.

Blogger Rantor May 13, 2015 6:24 AM  

The Mohametans clearly showed themselves to be wrong when they declared dogs unclean and not fit to be human companions. What a total lack of understanding God and creation.

Anonymous Lulabelle (68) May 13, 2015 6:27 AM  

Rantor - What do you think of Revelation 5:13? I've heard this interpreted as animals would be in Heaven:

[Rev 5:13 NASB] 13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."

Blogger lubertdas May 13, 2015 6:34 AM  

Vox, the last paragraph of your post reflects my own thoughts on the subject as well.

Add in the fact that Mohammed hated dogs and considered them unclean makes it that much better to imagine them in heaven.

Blogger Sherwood family May 13, 2015 7:01 AM  

As a Mormon, I should say that LDS teachings are clear that God created all things spiritually before He greated them physically. From this, Mormons believe that, indeed, Rover has a spirit and many believe that he will return to the God that gave him life. What that looks like in the eternal scheme of things is not sketched out but if, as has been pointed out above, in Revelation it describes God's creations praising Him who sits on the Throne, then they are sensible to His Holiness at some level and since the Creation was declared good by the Almighty Himself, is seems strange that He would allow His creations, the works of His hands, to end in annihilation. As has also been stated, I am willing to make an exception for cats. There are certainly differences between Man and Beast as Man was made in the image of God and as such differs not only in degree but in kind from beast, despite what our Darwinist friends may think but it seems clear that, prior to the Fall of Man, the creation as it was on the 6th day would not be something unfit for God's presence.

Anonymous TroperA May 13, 2015 7:18 AM  

Why all the hate for cats? They can be pretty heroic:

They kept the rat population down on farms as well. Cats tend to value food security over social relationships, but that doesn't mean they can't feel and show affection.

Blogger John May 13, 2015 7:19 AM  

I had a Priest respond to this in what I thought was a very logical and elegant argument (in response to a debate over whether or not there WOULD be dogs/pets/etc. in Heaven).

God wants us to be happy, in union with Him, in Heaven. If our pets are a necessary spice to that particular dish, they will be there. Otherwise, it wouldn't be Heaven.

Kind of a similar viewpoint to Andy's aforementioned Twilight Zone episode.

Blogger Tom Kratman May 13, 2015 7:25 AM  

While the Athenians were building the Parthenon, they turned loose for free and unrestricted pasturage such mules as were seen to be most persistently laborious. One of these, they say, came back to the works of its own accord, trotted along by the side of its fellows under the yoke, which were dragging the waggons up to the Acropolis, and even led the way for them, as though exhorting and inciting them on. The Athenians passed a decree that the animal be maintained at the public cost as long as it lived. Then there were the mares of Cimon, with which he won three victories at Olympia; their graves are near the tombs of his family. Dogs also that have been close and constant companions of men, have often been buried with honour. Xanthippus, of olden time, gave the dog which swam along by the side of his trireme to Salamis, when the people were abandoning their city, honourable burial on the promontory which is called to this day Cynossema, or Dog's Mound.


Anonymous Stg58 / Animal Mother May 13, 2015 7:40 AM  

I thought the Twilight Zone episode was switched, where the devil would let his dog in but St Peter wouldn't. As in the devil will take anyone by any trickery just as long as you walk in the door.

Anonymous DissidentRight May 13, 2015 7:43 AM  

Animals in heaven (that is, in the new earth) is consistent with the bodily resurrection.

But it is a bit much to say that animals have souls--let alone that they are rational. It's sure possible that animals *go* to heaven, but I suspect God will populate the new earth with new animals.

OpenID adamalanproverbs May 13, 2015 7:51 AM  

The problem comes in when we conclude that, since animals have souls, we shouldn't eat them.

We forget that we are part of creation and the natural order of omnivores is to eat flesh. It is no more wrong for use to partake of it than the bear or the wolf, so long as we do so with respect and honor for the creature which sustains us.

Blogger Leatherwing May 13, 2015 8:11 AM  

If animals don't go to Heaven, where does Christ get the white horse that he rides out on?

Blogger JaimeInTexas May 13, 2015 8:13 AM  

But, will the owners be required to pickup their dogs' poop when out for a walk?

Anonymous rienzi May 13, 2015 8:42 AM  

Cats were worshiped as gods in ancient Egypt. Cats have never forgotten this.

Blogger Nate May 13, 2015 8:42 AM  

there were animals in the Garden. why shouldn't their be Animals in Heaven?

Blogger Gunnar von Cowtown May 13, 2015 8:59 AM  

This is the third time in the past week that I've seen a similar question posed, and some of it boils down to semantics. What's the theological difference between a "spirit" and a "soul"? I've heard many people use these interchangeably, while others claim animals have "spirits" but not "souls". Did Aquinas or any of the other heavyweights ever make a ruling on that?

Blogger JCclimber May 13, 2015 9:20 AM  

"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."
Flesh + God's breath = living soul. Take away, God's breath, and you have Flesh. None of the rest of creation had that intimate direct contact with God.

The Bible clearly references in both Old and New Testament that animals will be in heaven, and they will be just like we were in the Garden, back to a vegetarian diet. Any one type of animal will be suitable to be pets, depending on your personality, and without death in heaven, you get to have them as a pet forever.

Just imagine the most friendly, loyal, smart, obedient, or playful pet you ever had. Then take all the qualities and put them into one pet.

I have a hard time imagining someone keeping a pet in heaven. Why would you want one? This is a serious question, what elements of life in heaven will leave a gap in your completeness that an animal will fulfill?

Blogger JCclimber May 13, 2015 9:25 AM  

On the question of pets in heaven:

All animals will be loyal to all humans. And friendly. Any animal you encounter will be filled with joy to interact with any person in their own unique way.

We won't need guard dogs.
We won't need hunting dogs.
We won't need someone to comfort us when we are sad.
We won't need someone to warm our feet.
We won't need someone to listen to our problems when no one else understands.
We won't be lonely.
We won't be proud that a particular dog is more attached to us than to other people.

Blogger Stilicho #0066 May 13, 2015 9:40 AM  

purple who think that Narnia is part of the occult

MPAI: Most Purple Are Indigo?

Blogger Kentucky Packrat May 13, 2015 9:40 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger dc.sunsets May 13, 2015 9:49 AM  

I still miss my most recent dog, a mutt who joined our family from a shelter and who displayed unequivocal signs of prior abuse, who enriched our lives for 14 years with truly unconditional love. She left us three years ago and the void in our lives is no smaller today.

If anthropologists are correct, dogs and humans formed a bond before the advent of organized agriculture. We truly are dog-people, and they people-wolves. If there is Divine Inspiration to this condition, then truly is genius visible in the love of a dog.

Blogger Bogey May 13, 2015 9:58 AM  

Isaiah 11:6-9

A metaphor, yet useful for our purposes here. I assume God loves the animals he's created and doesn't want to see them disappear forever. Perhaps even those that have gone extinct will have a place in that world to come.

Anonymous fish May 13, 2015 10:14 AM  

There are three classes of animals. Incests, fish, et. al. don't have the breath of life, and have been (mostly) clean to eat since Adam.....

This weeks winner in the unfortunate autocorrect sweepstakes!

Blogger Miguel D'Anconia May 13, 2015 10:33 AM  

We just lost our dog of almost 12 years and I agree with Vox. There's nothing in Scripture that says pets don't go to heaven. I also can't imagine a place called heaven without being reunited with him and the other dogs that I've loved who've gone as well.

Blogger luagha May 13, 2015 10:34 AM  

Experiments with animal domestication indicate that it takes very few generations, comparatively, to domesticate a breed of animal, and it changes them in interesting ways. If you google 'Russian silver foxes' (no no no, don't think of it like that) the Russians did a 40-year experiment where they chose and bred foxes simply on a subjective idea of which appeared to like humans more. At the end, their subjects have "distinct differences in physiology and morphology' to the foxes they started with. Now the 'silver foxes' are sold as pets.

Similar experiments have been done in rats, with similar results, except that they also bred for human-hating. At the end of eight generations, they had a breed of human-loving pet-style rats, and a breed of rats that would go crazy on the attack whenever a human entered the room - techs had to wear bodysuits and thick gloves to handle and feed them.

To me, this has interesting implications for man's designed place in a deity-defined universe.

Anonymous BigGaySteve May 13, 2015 10:39 AM  

There are even animals smart enough not to share their medical knowledge with Sub Sahara Africans. It turns out Chimps knew of a native anti malaria drug, but didn't tell their neighbors. When Whitey brought knowledge the population exploded.

Anonymous MendoScot May 13, 2015 10:45 AM  

Did Aquinas or any of the other heavyweights ever make a ruling on that?

Yes, they have perceptions as we do but not our rationality, that is the ability to abstract or conceptualize. This is why we have immortality - when reunited with a body after our death - but animals do not.

Blogger Chiva May 13, 2015 10:47 AM  

In CS Lewis's book 'The Great Divorce' is a scene:

'“And how...but hullo! What are all these animals? A cat-two cats-dozens of cats. And all those dogs...why, I can't count them. And the birds. And the horses.”
“They are her beasts.”
“Did she keep a sort of zoo? I mean, this is a bit too much.”
“Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them.”

This gives me hope that I will see my loved pets again.

Anonymous Jack Amok May 13, 2015 11:03 AM  

But more importantly, do elves have souls?

Blogger Gunnar von Cowtown May 13, 2015 11:07 AM  

@ MendoScot
Much obliged.

Blogger Josh May 13, 2015 11:08 AM  

But more importantly, do elves have souls?

Do they like collards and blues?

Blogger Zeke OF Confettii May 13, 2015 11:23 AM  

An obscure Native American writer attempted to deal with that one. Title as a vaguely Latin flavor.

Blogger Aeoli Pera May 13, 2015 11:26 AM  

>Yes, they have perceptions as we do but not our rationality, that is the ability to abstract or conceptualize. This is why we have immortality - when reunited with a body after our death - but animals do not.

Don't go too far down that road, around the bend it'll start to smell like piles of decomposing "subhumans".

Anonymous Wild Bill May 13, 2015 11:32 AM  

Training my dog and teaching her tricks/obedience is perfectly consistent with the dominion mandate of Genesis. If the New Heaven and New Earth are to be a restoration to that which God called "very good," then I have a lot of confidence that I will see my Shiba and Huskies again because God is a God of the impossible.

For a good read about what constitutes the "breath of life" (nephesh), read this creation article:

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 13, 2015 11:36 AM  

But frankly, it is very, very difficult to imagine a place that could be reasonably called Heaven, or be considered anything even remotely akin to a paradise, without them.

To which I'd reply that that doesn't mean too much. Heaven is going to be greater than we ever imagine.


Not really. I would say it's patently ovbvious that even a dumb human is rational in the Thomistic sense when an animal is not.

(Retards are a non-issue, in the same way that men born with no limbs aren't subhuman. They're just men defective in some aspect.)

This, by the way, is why I'm, always careful with language when talking about men overcoming disabilities. The fact that you've accomplished remarkable things and that you're very capable in your own right doesn't make you not disabled. And "differently abled" is just dumb.

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 13, 2015 11:39 AM  

Basically, I agree with Dr. Feser:

Blogger Kentucky Packrat May 13, 2015 11:44 AM  

The best way I've heard this put: Death was not supposed to exist on Earth, and didn't until Adam and Eve tasted the fruit. Animals weren't supposed to be food either, and weren't given to people to eat until Noah came off the Ark with the genes that require us to eat meat or animal products ourselves (lack of B12 production, etc.).

Jesus will start the process of renewing the earth at his return, and all of creation will be made new when the New Jerusalem comes to Earth. If ALL of creation is restored, that includes at least the dead species, and may well include each dead animal.

There are three classes of animals. Insects, fish, et. al. don't have the breath of life, and have been (mostly) clean to eat since Adam. Most animals were described as having the breath of life, and they are closer in nature to God and to man, but not the same nature. Then we have man, and we have both the breath of life and are made in God's image. That's why man is special, and why we are both at risk of Hell and have the potential of eternal life with Christ.

Blogger Tiny Tim May 13, 2015 11:44 AM  

Being scentient beings, dogs are connected to the universal consciousness of God, as are all animals.

There is no other way to explain the dominion man exerts over all animals. We have a 20 or so varied species of animals at our home and they all get along if the human master is present.

If the human is not present, they kill and maim each other rather quickly.

Our dominion over them only needs to be exercised. It is spiritual in it's application, that cannot be denied.

As for whether or not they are present in heaven, why not?

Blogger Kentucky Packrat May 13, 2015 11:47 AM  

This weeks winner in the unfortunate autocorrect sweepstakes!

I did not type that. You cannot prove it. The screenshots are Photoshopped, I tell you, Photoshopped.

*hits head on desk* Terribly annoying typo. Sorry about that.

Blogger Tiny Tim May 13, 2015 11:53 AM  

I trained a spider when I was young. I had a neighbor who had a wild tortoise they fed return each year in the spring and scratch on their backdoor for food. This went on for several years.

They are spiritually connected to humans. The source is God of course. Their life has value and meaning. What that equates to for eternity I have no idea but I would think when God creates any life it is special and not a throw away.

Blogger Russell (106) May 13, 2015 12:02 PM  

But more importantly, do elves have souls?

Only if they pass the Voight-Kampff test.

Anonymous Jack Amok May 13, 2015 12:09 PM  

An obscure Native American writer attempted to deal with that one. Title as a vaguely Latin flavor.

I think I've heard of that guy. Didn't he get kicked out of some minor-league writer's guild by it's semi-cis-male white President for getting too uppity?

Blogger IM2L844 May 13, 2015 12:15 PM  

...scentient beings...

Intentional or not, I like it.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera May 13, 2015 12:33 PM  

>(Retards are a non-issue, in the same way that men born with no limbs aren't subhuman. They're just men defective in some aspect.)

We can't just wave our hands at this distinction. People are evil and they will grasp at any excuse to mistreat one another.

Ensoulment is either implied by rational capacity, or it isn't. If it is, this suggests one of the following: 1) ensoulment indicates the potential for ratio, which can become retarded (your position, above), 2) ensoulment is a matter of degree, and proportional to ratio, 3) ensoulment is binary, and implied by ratio which is also binary, or 4) the relationship is nontrivial and counterintuitive. This isn't an exhaustive list.

In case number one, we have zero basis to claim that any individual animal is not ensouled, with the potential to develop rational thought and communicate with us, and eating them would therefore potentially be murder. Case number two leads to slavery and oligarchy because MPAI. Case number three leads to piles of bodies because MPAI.

We also have to account for the fact that the most abstract subjects (math, philosophy) turn out to be the most g-loaded and heritable. This implies a physical basis for the capacity for rational thinking, and has been a stick in my craw for a while.

I'm primarily an intuitive person these days, rather than rational, so I won't be eating any soylent green soon because this would violate my intuition, but if we're talking categorically about souls and subhumans we can't be too careful. Like I said, people will use any excuse to ignore their consciences.

Anonymous HardReturn¶ (30) May 13, 2015 1:25 PM  

I've had pedigree and shelter mutts over the years, all grateful and each with its own quirks. They heed their master's voice, mostly. They know what to do but sometimes fail. They have given me great joy and the disappointments are eventually forgotten. I see their unconditional love for me as a totemic metaphor for how I'm to love God. Whether or not they are part of heaven, whatever the answer, I won't be disappointed.

Blogger haus frau May 13, 2015 1:35 PM  

I certainly hope to our animals again. We put down my first dog, a GSD, last fall at 13 yrs old. My 5 yr old, who gardens with me, asked if we buried her in the dirt so she'd grow back. Still not sure how to answer that one but I would think God commanded us to to be good stewards of his creation because he cares deeply about it not just for our own good. If God cares deeply about his animals its hard to imagine they disappear completely on their physical deaths.

Blogger collisioncat67 May 13, 2015 1:57 PM  

Considering the wanton cruelty and prolonged Hell that some animals are forced to suffer at the abominable hands of (some) humans.....

There has to be some compensation from a God of justice and love..

OpenID eidolon1109 May 13, 2015 2:01 PM  

My thoughts, for what they're worth. First, animals can have such a strong influence on people, our relationships with them can be so meaningful, they play a significant part in shaping an immortal soul whether they have souls or not. That part of us that's different than it would've been without them will live on regardless of their status; there will always be a sort of picture or statue of them in us. It's hard for me to believe that they would simply cease to be. Nature herself is supposed to continue in some form; even the waterfalls and landscapes that mean a lot to people may continue in some way.

I think C.S. Lewis's theory (stated more fully in another book, I think it was The Problem of Pain) is that animals may share in eternity in a sort of analog of the way we do. We offer our souls to Christ, and as we are in Him and He is eternal, we share in a small part of His life. Animals don't have souls, but they can offer the lesser nature they have to humans, and by being "in" their human, perhaps share in some small way in his soul, and perhaps being to gain the hint of a soul themselves. Anyone who's had a really great dog has seen that their nature seems to elevate itself into being almost conscious, and almost rational at times.

I find this idea plausible, though of course we don't really know, and I wouldn't insist on it or make it dogma (heh). I hope that with God's blessing, all of us will find out.

Blogger JaimeInTexas May 13, 2015 2:13 PM  

The Bible is silent on the issue. It will all be conjecture and guessing on our part.

In our creation/cosmos (if there are others and, what is their ontology?) we have animals and men, humankind, if you rather use that terminology. The Bible is explicit that humans inherit Adam's, Eve included, kind and are a duality: spiritual and physical. Sometimes the term spirit and soul are used interchangeably, not in others. But, a soul is not separate ontologically. Physical-spiritual.

Animals do not have that duality.

And the animals, like all in our creation suffered, somehow, fro the Fall.

Blogger Chris Ritchie May 13, 2015 2:15 PM  

Dreamed about petting and hanging out with our wonderful dog. They definitely have an influence on us.

Anonymous redsash May 13, 2015 2:34 PM  

While driving around my beautiful Robertson County, I've observed many breed of cattle peacefully grazing; and thought each of them more complying with God's will than I. I often wonder if the sheep lying down with the lion is more than just metaphor.

Then, I also wonder why when washing my hands water runs uphill to my elbows. And sadly why God did not allow me to be 18 for a longer while.

Blogger Dan in Tx May 13, 2015 2:40 PM  

What makes your ever loyal dog different from a rat, a wild rabbit, a boar or the deer you shot last week? My personal belief in this (and yes, it's just me I don't have anything I can cite for this belief) is that this is yet another way in which God teaches us about himself. God gives us a soul and through Christ places a small piece of himself within us via the Holy Spirit. When you truly bond with say your dog, I like to believe that you wind up placing a small bit of your spirit within them (I sometimes refer to my Doxie as my familiar spirit). This also accounts for the noticeable pattern of pets taking up mannerisms and such that actually resemble those of their masters and the reason you feel a grief as though something is missing from within you when they're gone.

Blogger Dan in Tx May 13, 2015 2:40 PM  

P.S. The new captcha doesn't work.

Anonymous Blume May 13, 2015 3:04 PM  

This explains Vox's love of parliament of beasts.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza May 13, 2015 3:16 PM  

Someday I'll be swimming with the heavenly aquatic life. fly to the tops of trees and skip trees forever and evermore. Then I hope to meet the dinos.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza May 13, 2015 3:26 PM  

Kratmans post is such good reading, what an author.

Anonymous Ain May 13, 2015 4:09 PM  

Anyone that's had a dog knows them to be very loving towards their owners, and even grateful.

Anonymous JI May 13, 2015 5:00 PM  

Well, someone may have already posted this, but here's one of my favorites from Will Rogers:
“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”

Blogger Cail Corishev May 13, 2015 5:06 PM  

St. Paul said that no man can conceive of what heaven is like, so we can't imagine it with or without dogs. The question may not be whether there are dogs in heaven, but whether we will care about things like dogs when we're face-to-face with God.

The fact that marriage ends at death is an interesting related point. Many people look forward to seeing their deceased spouses in heaven, but they won't be married anymore, so then what? Will they actually care? Can we get our mortal minds around the question?

For what it's worth, Catholic teaching (as I understand it) is that we simply don't know whether dogs go to heaven, and opinions from theologians vary. Their souls are material rather than immortal, so there's no guarantee that they have an afterlife; but there's also nothing to say God couldn't resurrect them if they're part of the heavenly kingdom.

Anonymous Sir Wilshire (#320) May 13, 2015 6:54 PM  

I do think there will be animals on the new earth. Many passages that speak of it give the impression that it will be better than the garden. It seems diversity in the animal kingdom adds to the grandeur of nature, and the promises of the glory of God filling the earth in a more palpable way makes me think the grandeur of nature will not be less than it is in this fallen world.

As a Thomist, I do agree with Dr. Feser that animal souls are completely material and do not have an immaterial power of intellect like humans. However, I see no reason why it isn't theoretically possible for God to recreate animals on the new earth that lived here with the same material souls they had. But I do think it might be incoherent to say there is a persisting identity in individual animals since there is no immaterial aspect in their natures.

Also, C.S. Lewis has written some interesting things about the domesticated animals being "uplifted" with us because of our positive influence that makes them less wild. Can't remember the book right now though.

Blogger Cee May 13, 2015 8:05 PM  

Also, C.S. Lewis has written some interesting things about the domesticated animals being "uplifted" with us because of our positive influence that makes them less wild. Can't remember the book right now though.
See the comment upthread about the breeding of Russian foxes. The human influence on dogs has been going on for even longer, and it's bred into them things like responding to pointing (instinctively--even chimps and dolphins need to be trained on that one) and developing considerable "vocabularies".

Blogger JCclimber May 13, 2015 9:44 PM  

Considering that the dogs created at the beginning, and pretty much every other species of animal and humans too, are vastly different than that original species....
How are you going to recognize your pet in heaven?

Blogger Rantor May 13, 2015 10:20 PM  

@Lulabelle(68). I said that I believe that there will be animals in heaven. I also believe that the verse in Revelation you reference talks of all creation praising God. It does not imply that dead animals are praising God.

The Bible is not final on the issue, i believe that animals are part of the new earth, or Heaven. I find no support for the idea that our animals today are the animals that we shall see in heaven. We fallen humans attach ourselves to things of this earth and fail to see that in Heaven, in the presence of the Great Almighty, Lord God Creator of the Universe, all of this existence will pale into insignificance. Jesus told us that we will no longer be married in Heaven. I love my wife dearly, but I accept that in Heaven, she is God's and I am God's and we are no longer each other's. If the bond made with a vow to God is gone, my wife no longer mine, how can I worry whether Zack the Gerbil is going to be with me? I loved Zack as a child. I Loved Dusty the German Shepard. Emotionally, I even think I would love to see them again, but rationally I can not justify such a thought.

There will be a Tenple, the River of Life, the Tree or perhaps Trees of Life and the glorious presence of God. It will be a perfect place and The Almighty will wipe the tears from our eyes. Will that be remorse for our sins? Sad for those we could not convince of the gospel? A spouse or child that was lost? All that and more comes to mind before I can imagine thinking about my dogs, cats, or Zack.

Anonymous Didas Kalos May 13, 2015 11:03 PM  

Heaven will be Heaven because the Prince of Peace, The Saviour of Mankind, The Son of Man, The Son of God, The Great Physician, The Messiah, The Lamb of God, Jesus is going to be there. :)

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 13, 2015 11:10 PM  


In case number one, we have zero basis to claim that any individual animal is not ensouled, with the potential to develop rational thought and communicate with us, and eating them would therefore potentially be murder.

What the what?

We have EXCELLENT basis for this: No species regularly produces animals with rational thoughts that can communicate with us. None. Not one, at least that we know of.

My response wasn't a handwave, it was a critical distinction. A man born without limbs is a crippled man. A man born without the ability to reason abstractly is similarly a mentally crippled man.

Anonymous redsash May 13, 2015 11:44 PM  

I do know there will be at least one horse in heaven. Jesus comes back here riding it.

Blogger Doom May 14, 2015 5:22 AM  

I beg to differ on one point, but agree wholeheartedly on another. Animals do not, in themselves, posses anything that might lead them to heaven. It is only when man imbues them with the love that God has freely given to us. Not just pets, though, I suspect. I absolutely LOVE ribeye. My bet is that even this transactional love will see some beasts to heaven. However, the love I give my cats, and dog if I should get one, through care, feeding, mastery, and through what they often tender back, will see some animals to a much greater glory. After all, it is Christ's love through sacrifice that even allows for us to be saved, and we were meant to pass that on.

I'm just hoping, for dogs, no more poop bags will be needed? And for cats, I am surely hoping they won't vomit everywhere. Gah! Love the little beasts, but... annoying. Hmm, though cleanup might be a minor hell for animal haters? :p

Blogger Tom Kratman May 14, 2015 1:46 PM  

Indeed, Plutarch was, Eliza.

Anonymous Fran May 14, 2015 4:30 PM  

Rainbow Ridge is a very big place.

Anonymous meh May 15, 2015 7:53 AM  

Animals aren't humans but are more rational than we, in our pride, want to admit. Watch some video of that African gray parrot they did a study on, answering simple questions in English indicating a knowledge of size, shape, color, number, etc. and how these interact. Or watch videos of crows and ravens solving complex problems. Or gorillas taught sign language able to carry on very simple conversations.

Rationality is a continuum, not an either/or. Animals definitely have minds, and emotions, and can think to varying degrees. There's no one point where you can step in and say that an animal is rational or not; it has more of it or less of it, to varying degrees. But it does have some rationality or it wouldn't survive. If they have souls, that is a theological question I can't answer.

Anyway if animals have no compunction about eating other animals than neither do I, if it is done with respect and without unnecessary cruelty. But I have no quarrel with vegetarians or vegans who make the choice not to eat meat, provided they do not attempt to force their choice on others.

So much hate from the cat haters here. It is quite bizarre.

Consider some history. The Egyptians revered cats; very useful animal, kept the pests down and thus protected the food supply. And in spite of what the cat haters here say, very affectionate and loving animals (if they don't like you, in particular, maybe they are seeing something in you that they have good reason not to like); you just can't order a cat about like you would a dog. Some people confuse obedience with love.

Now consider the Persians. Originally a nomadic people they revered dogs, before settling down, and continued the habit afterwards. Zoroaster is said to have held the dog in high regard, and to have considered cats as vermin, same as rats and mice. Not very rational; obviously Zoroaster was not a farmer who had to deal with rats and mice raiding his granaries. The Persians behaved badly when they conquered Egypt and are said to have abused cats as a way of upsetting the native Egyptians.

Well, what comes around goes around. The Persians were eventually conquered by the Arabs and had Islam imposed on them, a religion which considers the dog unclean and which is fairly neutral or positive about cats. I have read that in Iran the dogs could tell if a human, unknown to them, was a Muslim or a Zoroastrian, on sight alone. The dogs would avoid the Muslims and stick with the Zoroastrians. The Zoroastrians treated dogs well, while the Muslims made a point of being as cruel as possible to dogs in order to upset the Zoroastrians.

My advice to the cat haters is not to indulge in their dislike as you never know when that sort of thing can come back to bite you in the ass.

Cats are their own thing, they aren't dogs. If you want a dog, get a dog. People like cats for precisely the reasons that cat haters don't: a cat is its own master and doesn't take orders like a dog. Cats are still a bit wild and have self-respect. That's why we like them.

This is a bit over the top/tongue-in-cheek, but makes the case for cats from a cat-person's perspective. Don't dismiss HPL out of hand just because he wasn't religious.

Cats and Dogs
By H. P. Lovecraft

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