The findings in this article are based solely on the Bible. What you and I believe about animals having souls will in no way alter the fact of their having them. One may disbelieve in the Law of Gravity but that does not render the law inoperative. At the time the Bible was written men believed that the world was flat and wrote of 'the Four Corners of the earth'. Nevertheless, the whole time the world was round regardless of their beliefs. At the time the King James version of the Bible was written men had not conceived of the possibility of animals having souls, and all translations resulted in them being referred to as creatures even though the Hebrew word translated was identically the same one that was translated as souls when it referred to mankind. I refer to the word nephesh (Strong's number 5315). Examine the verses given below. They each contain the word nephesh. "God said "Let the earth bring forth every living nepheshaccording to his own nature, cattle, and crawling things, and animals." Genesis 1:24"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 nephesh." Genesis 2:7

"And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living nephesh that was the name thereof." Genesis 2:19

Man was formed from the dust of the ground and out of the ground was formed every beast of the field. They both received the breath of life and it was the same 'breath of life'.

"For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts, even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath: so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place, all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? Ecclesiastes 3:19-21

According to the Bible, God talked both to and with the animals. Otherwise it would have been impossible to establish a covenant with them. A covenant is an agreement between two parties and usually it is written down. In the case of God's promise to mankind and the animals He gave His rainbow as the seal of commitment. Nevertheless, the animals must have been communed with in order for them to understand it. Otherwise it would be simply a document and not a covenant. Examples of God's covenants with animals are given below:

"And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; and with every living nephesh that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.." Genesis 9: 9-10

"And in that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground; and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely." Hosea 2:18

A few years ago I saw a huge billboard that said, "Just what part of Thou shalt not kill don't you understand? __God". One might protest that the killing and eating of animals was under God's authorization. Some scriptures show otherwise:

"For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you." Jeremiah 7:22-23

"Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required." Psalms: 40:6 (see also Isaiah 1:11-15, Hosea 6:6, 8:13, Amos 5:21-25, Micah 6:7-8)

The following verse declares that God regards the killing of an ox as if one had killed a man:

"He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck, he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations." Isaiah 66:3

Reader, we all have to deal with the matter of whether or not animals have souls. Did our parents or grandparents believe that they had souls? Does your preacher believe it? The answer is probably no, but their ignorance cannot be the basis for our own value systems. If indeed they do have souls, then we are forced to rethink the matter of killing them for sport, caging them in zoos to look at them, experimenting on them to enhance our own health, and even killing them for food. I will not clutter up this article with statistics regarding inhumane and cruel practices at slaughterhouses but such information abounds on the Internet. It would be safe to say, though, that if slaughterhouses had glass walls we would all be vegetarians.

The predator and prey food chain cycle has been in effect a long time, but one can elect to no longer be participant in it. One can elect to no longer support the killing of animals by no longer eating beef, pork, poultry, fish, lobsters, crawfish, oysters, or the flesh of any living creature. Additionally one can carry it a step further and withdraw from the consumption of eggs, milk, cheese, etc. In this day and age there is an abundance of nutritious foods that make all of this both feasible and beneficial. I made such a decision and experienced a great peace as though I had suddenly bonded with all living creatures in both love, respect and caring.

Whatever one decides to do is an individual matter. The intent of this article is to give disclosure. If one elected to discontinue eating animal flesh and hated that they were now deprived of such foods, no doubt the animals not slaughtered would benefit, but the abstainer would be missing much. Like all of God's commandments and admonitions, if a man delights in keeping the commandments, then keeping them is fun. If a man keeps commandments from a sense of duty then it's work, distasteful, and frankly disgusting.

We can consider Jesus' statement:

"But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Matthew 9:13

This is an article written by Harry Hebert which is now in the collection of Bible Cocoons found at Harry makes free articles available for download on his site in an attempt to help any who are encumbered with unnecessary spiritual baggage.

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