More and more people today consider their dogs as members of their families. This is the reason why it is not a surprise that a lot of dog owners think about not only the physical health of their pets but also their spiritual existence in a religious context. Do dogs have souls just like humans?
Do Dogs Have Souls According to the Bible?
The Bible is not very vocal as to whether dogs have souls or not. However, in Revelations, the Bible’s last book, the vision of heaven of Apostle John also included animals that show Christ and heaven’s armies riding on the white horses. But, while the Bible doesn’t give any definite answer to the question about dogs having souls and if you will see your pets in heaven, it still says that everything is possible with God.
It also says that God’s great wisdom and love have made heaven a place of perfect happiness. This means that if your beloved dog is the one that you need to complete your happiness in heaven, you can expect to find him there.
It is also stated in Ecclesiastes 3:19 that a similar fate awaits both animals and human beings in the end. Both can die and they are also the same type of creature. Human beings are not better off than animals since life doesn’t have meaning for either. Humans and animals also go to just the same place and that is the dust. Both come from dust and both will also go back to dust. No one can be sure that human spirits can go upward while spirits of animals go to the ground.
Do Catholics Believe Dogs Have Souls?
Until several years ago, many churchgoers and the Catholic Church as a whole mistakenly thought that animals as a whole don’t have souls. But, this perception was changed by Francisco I and John Paul II, two of the last three popes. According to them, since animals are living beings, they also have a reserved spot in heaven.
Many priests and vicars encourage the Roman Catholic Church followers to attend the mass together with their pets and this is not only because dogs have now started to be regarded as members of the family. It is because the clergy is now claiming that pets like dogs also have souls like people.
It is already recognized by the Catholic Church that such living things offer help to sick, depressed, or lonely people, which makes them deserving of a spot in heaven. But as expected, not everyone thinks the same when it comes to whether or not dogs have souls.
Do Jews Believe Dogs Have Souls?
Judaism’s mainstream view is that animals including dogs don’t have immortal souls. It is asserted in Ecclesiastes Rabbah (3:18) doesn’t have an afterlife. The view of Maimonides (Guide to the Perplexed 3:17) was that animals don’t receive rewards in the afterlife. This is based on the fact that such a view doesn’t have support in the Talmud.
One leading mystic in the 16th century Safed, Rabbi Moses Cordovero, recognized that animals have spiritual energy that he referred to as Nefesh heyuni that is responsible for animating them. However, this is not a soul in a conventional sense. After the animal has died and its body has decomposed, that energy or what he called the light of Nefesh hiyuni will go out.
Moses Cordovero’s Rabbi Isaac Luria, the founder of Kabbalah’s new system, was the one who could have contributed more than anyone else to that notion of animals having souls. It is the result of his idea of the soul’s transmigration called gilgul neshamot. He taught that the soul of a human can be re-birthed several times in various bodies.
Having said all of these, it is safe to say that the Jews believed that dogs don’t have a soul in a similar way that the term is applied to humans. But, its existence is still part of life’s miracles so it would be better to lay a dog to rest with dignity.
Why Do People Say Dogs Don’t Have Souls?
To analyze the claims that dogs don’t have souls, the behavior of the animal should be taken into consideration. You have surely heard it so many times before that dogs lack the ability to distinguish between bad and good.
It is true that they might seem to show some sense of guilt when they are naughty, especially if they are scolded. However, when they do so, they don’t really consider moral implications. Dogs behave this way since they are being guided by their habits, experience, or instinct and not by their reasoning or much less their soul.
Conversely, it is good to listen to what dog owners have to say. Many of them claim that dogs have souls just like children do. It is because of the ingenuity, kindness, and unconditional love of dogs.
If dogs have souls, then, does it mean that they also go to heaven once they die? A children’s film says so and this might offer great comfort to owners who lost their loyal furry friends.
If Dogs Don’t Have Souls, Why Do They Have Personality?
Personality is that one thing that is often attributed to human beings. A person can be funny, smart, mean, sad, or caring. There are a lot of personalities just like there are also billions of people all over the world. Personality is how you describe the specific ways that people often behave.
Many scientists have discovered that a lot of animals that include common pets such as dogs can exhibit some traits of personality just like humans do. For instance, a pet owner may see a sense of happiness in the eyes and even tails of their dog every time they come home from work or school. On the other hand, they may also notice disappointment in their pet’s eyes if they don’t get to go for a walk outside because of the heavy rains.
However, pets can be more than just sad or happy. Like humans, dogs can display different personality traits. Have you ever met a happy-go-lucky or an adventurous dog?
Scientists studying the personality of animals had to overcome a lot of doubters and skeptics in the scientific community. Dogs, after all, cannot tell you how they feel or explain why they behave that way. This is why scientists should rely on more detailed observations after some time.
The good news is that their work is now starting to gain acceptance. There is also more than enough anecdotal evidence coming from pet owners who might be the ones who are most qualified in discussing their personal detailed observations through the years spent with their pets.