Here’s how to cover the topic. "Do animals have a soul?"Our Orthodox Church:
The soul of the animal is in his blood. And the animal, like man, consists of spirit, soul, and body.
What is the soul? In its simplest form, in animals, it is a complex of organic and sensory perceptions, thoughts and feelings, traces of memories, or only (in lower ones) a complex of organic sensations united by self-consciousness (the mind in higher animals). The primitive animal spirit is only the breath of life (from the lower ones).
As the beings grow, their spirituality grows, and the beginnings of the mind, will, and feelings join the breath of life.
In man, the soul is much higher in essence, for the spirit participating in its activity is incomparable with the spirit of animals. He may possess the highest gifts of the Holy Spirit, who are St. The prophet Isaiah (11, 1-3) calls the spirit of God’s fear, the spirit of knowledge, the spirit of strength and strength, the spirit of light, the spirit of understanding, the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of the Lord, or the gift of piety and inspiration to the highest degree.
The spirit and the soul of a person are inseparably connected in life to a single entity; but you can also see people in different degrees of spirituality. There are spiritual people, according to the apostle Paul (1 Cor. 2, 14).
There are people – cattle, people – grass, there are people – angels. The former are not much different from cattle, for their spirituality is very low, and the latter approach the disembodied spirits, who have neither body nor soul.
So, the soul can be understood as a combination of organic and sensory perceptions, traces of memories, thoughts, feelings and volitional acts, but without the mandatory participation in this complex of higher manifestations of the spirit, not peculiar to animals and some people. The apostle Jude speaks about them: These people are spiritual, not having a spirit (Jude 1, 19).
In self-consciousness during life, the life of the spirit is closely intertwined with those mental acts that are common to man and animals, that is, with organic sensations and sensory perceptions: these latter, in turn, are inextricably linked with the life of the body, especially the brain, and disappear with death body. Therefore, the primitive soul of animals is mortal, as are those elements of human self-consciousness that emanate from the dead body (organic and sensory perceptions).
But those elements of self-consciousness that are associated with the life of the spirit are immortal. Materialists deny the immortality of the soul precisely because they do not want to know anything about the spirit. And we do not speak about the immortality of self-consciousness understood purely physiologically.
Let us now see whether the Holy Scripture gives us the right to understand the spirit and the soul as we have just stated. We think that our understanding of the soul and spirit is completely in accordance with Revelation.
The word is used in various senses in Scripture. "soul". As in common parlance, it simply means the whole person: "Not a soul", "no soul". Not one soul of you will perish, says St.. Apostle Paul to his ship’s companions.
That soul is synonymous with life.
His soul will be his instead of prey (Jer. 21, 9).
The sought after souls of the Infant died (Matt. 2, 20).
Their bread is for their soul (Hos. 9, 4).
Do not care for your soul what you eat and what to drink (Matt. 6, 25).
And here is a series of texts that explicitly talk about what could be called "animal soul".
Their soul fainted in them. He fed the thirsty soul and the hungry soul performed with benefits. From all food their soul was turned away. Their soul fades away in distress (Ps. 106, 5-26).
Will he graze. and his soul shall be filled at Mount Ephraim (Jer. 50,19).
My soul will eat them (spoil) (Ex. 15, 9).
A hungry man dreams of eating. and his soul is skinny. dreams that he drinks. and his soul thirsts (Is. 29, ..
Accustomed to the thought of the immortality of the soul, let not be embarrassed by our words about the immortality of the spirit. This is not an innovation, because in most of the Scriptures, where it is a question of death, it is said that the body is left in the spirit, not in the soul.
As a body without a spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead (James 2: 26). And her spirit returned (the daughter of Jairus) (Luke 8, 55). In my hand I betray my spirit (Ps. 30, 6; Luke . 23, 46). Lord Jesus! Receive my spirit (Acts 7,59). His spirit will expire, and (he) will return to his land: on that day all his thoughts perish (Ps. 145, 4). And the dust will return to the earth, which he was: and the spirit will return to God, Who gave it (Eccles. . 12, 7).
These two last texts are especially important for substantiating our opinion that those elements of mental activity that are connected with the life of the body are mortal: feelings and thought processes that are inseparably connected with brain activity.
On that day all his thoughts will perish, that is, the activity of consciousness will cease, for which all perceptions of the living brain are necessary.
It is not the soul that comes out, but the spirit, and will return to its land, that is, to eternity. The dust will return to the earth, which it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
And the animal spirit, of course, must be immortal, for it also has its beginning in the Spirit of God, the immortal Spirit.
The idea of the immortality of the spirit of animals is clearly contained in the well-known words of Pavlovs about the hope of all creatures (Rom. 8, 20-21):. in the hope that the creature itself will be freed from slavery to decay into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
In the few places of the Holy Scripture, death is defined as the emanation of the soul (and not the spirit) from the body (Gen. 35, 18; Acts 20, 10; Ps. 15, 10). This is easily explained by the fact that in general in the Bible, especially in psalms, the word soul is often used in the generally accepted sense, that is, as the sum total of all mental and spiritual activity. But we say that during life, the spirit and soul of a person are united in one essence, which can be called just a soul.
In this sense, it is necessary to understand the texts in which it is a question of the soul of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When his soul shall offer the sacrifice of propitiation. (Is. 53, 10). His soul was not left in hell (Acts 2, 31). My soul is grieving mortally (Matt. 26, 38). My soul is now indignant (John 12, 27).
The Lord suffered and died by His human nature, and therefore these texts are understandable.
But the soul of God Himself is spoken of in the following texts: And my soul will turn away from them, just as their soul turns away from Me (Zech. 11, 8). The soul did not suffer His sufferings of Israel (Judg. 10, 16). He who loves violence hates His soul (Ps. 10: 5).
But, of course, this is not only a metaphor. One cannot speak of the soul of the absolute Spirit, as of the soul of man, of a spirit limited and embodied. Here we can talk only about the analogy with the human spirit, according to which we attribute to God the mind, thinking, will and feelings. So we understand the image of God in man.
A person’s consciousness of his personality is made up of a person from organic sensations derived from his body, from perceptions received by his senses, from the totality of memories, from an understanding of his spirit, character, moods.
Where is the self-consciousness of these elements, who is its subject? Not the mind, as usually understood, but the spirit. For the mind is only a part of the spirit, not the whole spirit. But a part cannot embrace the whole. This is an important conclusion. not arbitrarily, but based on the words of the Apostle Paul: For who among men knows what is in man, besides the spirit of man, who lives in him? Nobody knows the same thing about God except the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2, 11-12).
The deepest essence of our being we know not with the mind, but with the spirit. Self-consciousness is a function of the spirit, not of the mind. The action of the grace of God, given to us from God, we know not by the spirit of this world, but by our spirit, which is given to us from God.
The same thought is in the words of the wise Solomon: The lamp of the Lord is the spirit of man, experiencing all the depths of the heart (Prov. 20, 27).
About spirit, as the highest power of our spiritual activity, much can be found in the Holy Scripture. Here are examples: He who sows in his flesh of flesh will reap corruption, and he who sows in spirit from spirit will reap eternal life (Gal. 6, 8). But not spiritual first, but spiritual, then spiritual (1 Cor. 15, 46). This means that spirituality is the highest achievement of the human soul.
The fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, mercy, faith, meekness, temperance (Gal. 5, 22-23). Fire the Spirit (Rom. 12, 11). He speaks secrets in spirit (1 Cor. 14, 2). The spirit in man and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding (Job 32, 8). The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26, 41). And my word and my sermon are not in the convincing words of human wisdom, but in the manifestation of spirit and power (1 Cor. 2, 4). Cast away from you all your sins with which you have sinned, and make for yourself a new heart and a new spirit (Ezek. 18, 31).
Here is the idea of a close connection between the heart and the spirit, confirming what we have said about the primacy of the heart in consciousness.
And rejoice in My spirit about My God the Savior (Luke 1, 47).
Oh God rejoices. He worships God, strives towards God and approaches the human spirit. And this, of course, is the highest capacity of our soul.
Of course, such a perfect manifestation of the spirituality of the human soul can only be the gift of the Holy Spirit. Revelation testifies to this very clearly: I will put My spirit within you (Ezek. 36, 27).
And as you are sons, God sent into your hearts the Spirit of His Son, crying: "Abba, Father!" (Gal. 4, 6).
What do we say about the spirit of animals? They, like people, are by nature carriers of a certain spirit.
Animals of the same breed are bold and cowardly, angry and sullen, affectionate and cheerful. They are not peculiar to the highest properties of spirituality – religiosity, moral feeling, philosophical and scientific thinking, subtle artistic and musical susceptibility. But love and the beginnings of altruism, as well as aesthetic feelings, are also characteristic of animals.
Not the highest form of love, not Divine love, but only family love; but in this love, swans and pigeons, perhaps, even surpass people. The facts of the suicide of a swan who lost his girlfriend are known: he flies high, folds his wings and falls like a stone to the ground.
The degree of spirituality in animals is the lower they are at the lower level of the zoological ladder of perfection of forms. The exception to this rule is love in birds. In parallel with this, one can, to some extent, put the fact that the highest forms of love and religiosity are often found by simple, uneducated people.
Higher animals, carriers of at least limited spirituality, must possess self-consciousness in a primitive form.
Could a dog not say: I am cold, I am ill, my master treats me badly. The degree of self-awareness of animals is determined by the development of their mind and the degree of spirituality available to them.
Used materials from the site "Orthodoxy in Tatarstan"