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Short version

If humans remain conscious after death, do animals also remain conscious after death?

Longer version

I'm trying to figure out if there is any fundamental difference between the spirit of a human being (the "breath of life" that makes humans alive) and the spirit of a disembodied (evil/unclean) spirit. The logic is that, if these two types of spirits are not fundamentally different, then it follows that if evil spirits are conscious, then the disembodied spirit of a human (when the spirit departs from the body upon death) also remains conscious. In fact, this insight inspired me to ask the question According to soul sleep adherents, if unclean spirits can be conscious without bodies, why can't human spirits also be conscious without bodies?

However, the implications become interesting when we consider the fact that animals also have a "breath of life". In response to my related question Did Jesus believe in ghosts / disembodied spirits?, user Dottard made a very good point in his answer:

2. Human beings and animals appear to be a body plus the breath of life

Gen 2:7 - Then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being [literally, "soul"]

Animals have exactly the same constitution, see Gen 1:30, 6:17, 7:15, 22, Job 12:10, etc. For example, Eccl 3:19 -

For the fates of both men and beasts are the same: As one dies, so dies the other—they all have the same breath . Man has no advantage over the animals, since everything is futile.

If humans and animals are essentially made of the same basic components (body + breath of life), then it would stand to reason that, if humans remain conscious after death, then animals also remain conscious after death.

Do believers in post-mortal consciousness agree with this conclusion? Do animals also remain conscious after death?


Related question: Is there any fundamental difference between the "spirit" of a human being ("breath of life") and the "spirit" of a disembodied (evil) spirit?

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    Can't believe this hasn't been asked before! Jan 19, 2022 at 6:28
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    @OneGodtheFather With the amount of question SRI asks is statistically likely :) Jan 20, 2022 at 0:57

1 Answer 1

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+50

The short answer is no, animals do not only not remain conscious after death, they are wholly annihilated.

The longer answer is to correct a slight misconception in your question. It is true that mankind and beasts share both material bodies and the "breath of life" (some would call this a soul), but that does not mean that there is no metaphysical difference between man and beast. In particular, man is made in the Image of God (Genesis 1:26), whereas beasts are not. Mankind, therefore, has a moral component and intellectual component to his life and his nature and his soul, which parts beasts lack. Animals do not have intellectual activity (they don't reason as men reason; they can't do abstract logics, mathematics, philosophy, etc. They cannot think about God). Animals also have no moral activity (whatever an animal does is neither right nor wrong, it is only what the animal does by instinct. They cannot choose the good).

This Image of God is the portion of mankind's life which persists after death. This Image is either "dead," if the person is spiritually dead, is not a friend of God, and has not received the salvation offered us by Christ our Savior, or it is "alive" if the person is living a Grace-infused life and following the way of Christ and Christ's Saints.

The Image of God, indeed, is an immaterial soul. God Himself is immaterial, so it is fitting to call this sort of soul the Image of God. He is intellectual, moral, etc, all the aspects of uniquely human life which the immaterial human soul infuses, and which beasts lack.

Both Protestant and Catholic sources would affirm this understanding of the meaning of the phrase from Genesis, "image and likeness of God."

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    This Image of God is the portion of mankind's life which persists after death - is there a biblical basis for this specific claim?
    – user50422
    Jan 19, 2022 at 17:08
  • animals do not only not remain conscious after death, they are wholly annihilated - is there a specific verse that teaches this about animals?
    – user50422
    Jan 19, 2022 at 17:10
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    “some would call this a soul“. Everyone who knows the definition of soul knows at It’s core it means breather. Living creatures are souls when they die they cease to exist.
    – Kris
    Jan 19, 2022 at 19:34
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    @SpiritRealmInvestigator I don't believe so. This idea would come from the scholastic tradition of theology/philosophy. Scripture does not, to my knowledge, say one thing or another regarding the persistence of animal souls after death.
    – jaredad7
    Jan 19, 2022 at 21:35
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    @Kris some, myself included, would call this a soul.
    – jaredad7
    Jan 19, 2022 at 21:36

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