How Is Our Spirit Different Than Animals?

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Have You Ever Considered How Our Spirit is Different Than Animals?

Our spirit is different than animals, in at least one regard. “God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27 NASB)

God made men and women to be a spiritual being like Him. Respected Bible scholars explain that this basically means that humans are made with a built in desire in their spirit to have meaningful fellowship with their Creator. It means that the human spirit is meant to be connected with God’s Holy Spirit. We all know that not everyone chooses to make that connection, nevertheless, we are cable ready, so to speak. That is the most significant difference in our spirits.

Humans are capable of complex thoughts, but this cable ready spirit that men and women have make us the only living beings on earth, at least that we are aware of, who have the ability to relate to God intimately.

The Bible tells us that God took a handful of dust (which speaks of the earth), and He breathed life into it (which speaks of the spirit), and “man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7, KJV). Thus, the merger of the spiritual with the physical elements of the earth created a human soul, made in the image of God.

The human spirit was made with the natural inclination to fellowship with God’s Holy Spirit, but a few have mistakenly confused the human spirit with God’s Spirit. These are not the same. God provided a way to bridge the gap between man and His creation through Jesus. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, His gift to us for our salvation, the Holy Spirit connects with our spirit. It is by this grace from God that we are saved, not by works, so that no one can boast as stated in Eph 2:8. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we are then perfect people as we still battle the flesh (body) with the different senses interacting with this fallen world. So, when Paul was explaining in the Book of Romans how he did what he did not want to do and what he did not want to do he did, he speaks of this battle between the earthly flesh we live in and the spiritual being we are that wants to please God. That is also what it means to work out our salvation or the renewing of our mind as we must rely on God, asking Him to help us make decisions that please Him.

There is no “spiritual” battle within an animal because their spirit does not have this same “cable ready hook-up” connection with God’s Holy Spirit. God created the animals, but their spirit is not made in God’s image, so they cannot make moral decisions. Their spirit can choose right and wrong though, based on what they have been taught by us or what their environment has taught them. Our pets may choose to obey or be willfully disobedient. Our human spirit makes those kinds of decisions all day long, doesn’t it?

So, although humans and animals have a conscience, humans have the additional moral conscience that relates to our Creator. The human spirit can very effectively squelch its moral conscience to point of apparent non-existence. Unfortunately, this is happening way too much these days.

In summary, our spirit is different than animals in that we can accept our Savior and receive the Holy Spirit, which comes to live in us with our spirit. Our dogs do not receive the Holy Spirit in this way.

The Holy Spirit is a deposit into our human spirit. Ephesians 1:13-14 says it guarantees salvation to all who believe. This is why a few claim this is the reason animals do not go to heaven, but this is applying the human redemption plan to animals, which is just not relevant.

It is important to understand that the Bible is like an instructional manual for human redemption as God made man in His image. He wants to fellowship with us, at least those of us who want to have a relationship with Him. He made animals to be part of this world and for man to take care of them, but we do not have a specific animal redemption manual. Technically, with what we know about human redemption, animals don’t need redemption, at least not in the same way as us. Animals are not sinners. They don’t know what sin is or isn’t. They are not built with the cable ready hook-up connection to God’s Holy Spirit. Yes, some might know what is right and wrong based on what we taught them, but that is not the same.

People used animals for sacrifices to cleanse them of sins in the old testament. They did this because animals were considered sinless and were thought to be able to symbolically cleanse people of their sins, at least temporarily.

God created the whole universe with all the millions of animal species, plants and wonders, He can bring into heaven whatever He wants. We cannot impose our humanness on the animals because it just doesn’t fit. What we know has to be from what truths God has revealed to us in His word. And God’s word clearly mentions animals in heaven.

Knowing animals are in heaven is nice, but if you’d like to learn more about the scripture evidence that extends this reassurance to your beloved dog, check out Until Heaven Then My Friend.


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