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Comments by: Sven Johansson
22 Oct 2001
(Ed. Note) This discussion began with Sven's comments to a letter written by Patricia Zimmer on Feelings of Aloneness. (FLH)
I sure hope that this life is not all there is for animals, because I have the impression that many animals, as well as far too many humans these days, die in pain. As I suppose that the animals are not to be defined as sinners, even though they suffer the consequences of wickedness, it would surprise me if humans are the only beings on earth that have a place in the afterlife. So Patricia, some of your thoughts about animals in the afterlife are shared by me too, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. But to select a Christian congregation primarily depending on what views they hold concerning animal theology might not be the best road to follow.
If we want more compassion for animals among Christians it may be better to work with other issues concerning the practical treatment of animals and its consequences instead of bringing up the matter of animal souls when speaking to pastors who might have a firm and honest belief that animals do not have a life after death.
If animals do have an afterlife that surely can never be changed by Christians who don't believe they have, because that is a matter of how God has created the animals from the beginning of this world. On the other hand, if there is no afterlife for animals, we who hope there is can not change that.
I believe that some supernatural experiences are not from God. The experiences You wrote about might have been telling you the truth, and I hope they did, but regardless of if animals have souls, they might not have been from God. One reason I don't believe that all supernatural experiences are from God is that different people who have had different supernatural experiences end up with so different views and opinions on spiritual matters.
In the Swedish translation of the Bible I think it is said that Satan appears like an "angel of light", in other words like someone with a good and true message of love and compassion who wants to fool us hiding his real intentions.
Sometimes when I look at different Christian congregations I get the impression that the congregations that are most powerful in prayer - where miracles appear to really happen because God listens to them, and where peoples lives are really changed are some of the most conservative when it comes to animals and related issues. Maybe they sometimes are wrong about animal matters but at the same time they are the congregations mostly touched by God.
But sometimes they make me wonder about my self and my choices. They are not often vegetarians and when it comes to animal life the Spirit has not lead them to my position of thought, so I really hope I am right when I choose a vegetarian lifestyle for my self and when I hope for an animal afterlife. Reading Jesus words in Luke for example does not suggest that an animals life is as much a priority for God as the humans are. But that does not exclude love and care for animals and maybe there is an afterlife.
Sven Johansson in Sweden
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