Here is a question I received recently: “I was just curious as to what the Bible says on if animals have souls or not? (:
Good question! Do animals have souls like people do? Well, yes and no. Let me explain. Animals can think (intellect), love (emotion), and make independent decisions (volition). The ability to do these things was given to mankind and to many of the animals, including kittens, puppies, and ponies. These attributes reside in the soul and constitute personhood. So, in this sense, animals have souls. Animals have their own unique personalities and temperaments and can think, love, and make decisions, much like we do.
However, the soul of man is different from that of animals in one very important aspect. When God created man He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and he became a living creature” (Genesis 1:7). This step gave the soul of man an eternal dimension. This means that after death the soul of man continues to live on forever. This is not the case with the other animals God created. He did not breath into them “the breath of life” as he had done to man. So, the soul of the animal, because it does not have the eternal dimension, dies with the animal and ceases to exist, in my way of understanding.
However, after saying all that, I am sure if you need one of your favorite kitties, puppies, ponies, to be with you in heaven, the Lord will have it there for you…. 😉 I should add that there is good indication in the Bible that there will be animals in the life to come, especially in the millennial kingdom when Christ returns to earth at the Second Coming. God made the animals and He surely thinks animals are cool, so I think animals will always be a part of our lives, in the here-and-now as well as in the hereafter.