One of the books in the "Let's Study God's Word Together" series
with: Frank L. Hoffman
This Biblical study book seeks to answer the question, "Do animals have souls and spirits?"
Probably one of the hardest things for mankind to come to grips with, in his understanding of God's creation, is that other forms of life might also have souls and intelligence. Man will generally take any option that tends to elevate his ego. When a person makes that all important decision to give himself (herself), body, soul, and spirit to God, and accept the fact that he or she is a sinner, that his or her only salvation is in the acceptance of Jesus Christ, and that he or she is totally unable to save himself (herself), that person must give up his or her pride and ego. At that point in time, we are open to the truth, that is, if we don't block it.
Our problem is, that once we realize that we may not be correct in the eyes of others who do not understand, we tend to appease them. This conscious act tends to close our reception to the true meaning of God's plan. We must constantly remind ourselves to look at all sides of the question, as thoroughly as possible. We must then filter that information through God's Word. What is in agreement is usually correct. What is in conflict with God's Word should be let go of. Remember, nothing in God's Word is in conflict. And there is a second test to run. Is that which we have come to understand also loving and compassionate? If it is both loving and compassionate, and is in harmony with God's Word, we can be almost certain it is from God, and in accordance with His will.
This study has been a typical example of what we are now discussing. As soon as I let others know what type of study I was doing, I got all kinds of reactions. Some were really excited and expressed that they also had similar feelings. Others thought I had gone off the "deep end", and was approaching on heresy. Yet others didn't seem to either care or understand what I was doing.
The interesting thing about these reactions is that those who were most against the direction I was heading gave me some of my best help by quoting Scripture in supposed support of their position. Many of these quotations I had not yet considered. As I started to incorporate their comments, I found that they were building in the direction in which you see this study going.
One thing I have had to constantly remind myself, is that I can not afford to have any pre-conclusions that are so strong that I will not let the real message come forth. Likewise, I also had to make sure that I didn't omit something that may be counter to any preconceived notion that I may have had. And most importantly, that nothing would lead to an alteration of the truth.
The reason for this dissertation is that now we are going to discuss intelligence and knowledge and where it comes from. We are also going to discuss how it all relates to God. I just believe if we all are going to truly see God's original intent we must keep an open mind.
Many people who don't believe that animals also have souls state their reasons on the "fact" that animals are not "intelligent". Animals can't make an automobile or a computer or the like. Until only recently, neither could man. Nevertheless, we are not going to argue the point. Let's just see what answers God gives us.
Since any controversy that may arise among the readers of this study will be centered around animals, we will start by looking at man's intelligence and where, and when, he gets his knowledge.
In Exodus 31:1-6 we see the Lord speaking to Moses about the skilled craftsmen who are to work on the tabernacle:
1. Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
2. "See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Un, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.
3. "And I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship,
4. to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze,
5. and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.
6. "And behold, I myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you:
Note specifically verse 3 where God says, "And I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship". Note also verse 6, "and in the hearts of all who are skillful I put skill". Literally verse 6 means, in all who are wise of heart, I have put wisdom.
Nowhere here in these verses does God indicate that when these people became "living souls" that they also had that wisdom and knowledge. With specific clarity, God does, however, let us know that in the case of Bezalel that wisdom, understanding, and knowledge came from the Spirit of God. This is again repeated in Exodus 35:30-35, and with no change in meaning.
Also remember that God created man with the capacity for this kind of infilling of the Spirit, and the physical ability to perform the tasks. We are able to walk, and have hands and fingers that enable us to do many things. We also have a large brain with which to analyze and retain much. It is also probably the reason we so often get "swelled heads".
God's design for each of His creatures is specific for their intended needs. All of which is according to the pleasure and plan of our Creator. But a body so designed can do nothing until it becomes a "living soul", and then as we see here, that those special skills and items of specific knowledge are given by the Spirit of God. How about those everyday skills and reason, are they also of the Spirit?
Previously to this God gave power to Moses. In this accounting, Moses does not seem reluctant to perform the miracles, yet he is afraid to speak. What does God say? Note Exodus 4:12:
12. "Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say".
Moses was already alive. He had his soul. Yet he must learn to speak properly. Only Moses' fear can keep him from it, for the Lord will be with Moses' mouth and will teach him what he is to say.
In 1 Samuel 10:6, 9-10, we see the change in Saul brought about by the Spirit of God, and he was filled with the "word of knowledge", so that he prophesied:
6. "Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you will prophesy with them and be changed into another man.
9. Then it happened when he turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all these signs came about on that day.
10. When they came to the hill there, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them.
Is not this change in one's heart what also occurs when we allow the Lord to come into our lives? We are born again. And is not that change also brought about by the Holy Spirit?
Also look at the change God brought about in Solomon's heart as recorded in 1 Kings 3:9, 12. In verse 9 we read part of Solomon's prayer, and in verse12, God answers him:
9. "So give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Thine?"
12. behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you.
In 2 Kings 2:9, Elisha asks Elijah before he is taken up, "Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me". And in verse 15 we see that it came to pass, for the son of the prophets said, "The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha"
Here again in these verses from 1 and 2 Kings, we see that the wisdom and knowledge is in the spirit, whether of the Spirit of God, or of the spirit of man, which is really of God also.
Are not almost all the prophecies of God brought forth through man by the gift of the Holy Spirit? Read Acts 2 for additional insight.
Let's take a little side journey to help us expand our thinking process as we relate to man and animals, life and soul, and breath and spirit.
We have just read portions of Scripture, and there are many more, in which it says that when the Spirit of God comes upon man his heart is changed. Now the heart also pumps the blood. And, the life (soul) is in the blood. And, the breathing process rejuvenates the blood. It gives the blood its "power" to do its job. And, the Hebrew word for spirit (roo-akh) also means breath, wind, or mind. Let's ponder this relationship a little while before moving on in our study.