Soul and spirit


It was a wise man that once introduced me to the term 'Gods little people'. He referred to humans as Gods big people and animals and plants as Gods little people. He went on to teach something truly beautiful about how to think about human dealings with animals. He explained that humans have both a soul and a spirit but animals only have a soul - and that it is only through a spirit one can connect to God. Animals therefore, only having a soul, can only feel and experience God through humans. This understanding made the whole difference for me. I've always abhorred animal cruelty, but now it's with a profound understanding. Can you possibly imagine what it must be like for an animal only feeling and experiencing God through humans... and then imagine humans being cruel to them??? This means that their experience of God will be a cruel one. Well, it's not just what we consider a direct act of cruelty - think about animals being bred into a life of exploitation for its fur, caged chickens or animals testing. 

Whether you're religious or not, spiritual, philosophical, theosophical or something else... most humans can relate to the concept of there being a greater intelligence - and imagine if our experience of that was that it was cruel to us. How unthinkable. How painful. How excruciating would existence be? I found these quotes which seem to point to the same: 

"Men and animals alike possess a soul in the sense of breath (nephesh/soul). However, in the sense of possessing a part or element that lives forever, as man possesses, animals do not possess an eternal spirit (cp. Matt. 25: 46). The animal simply and totally returns to the dust, the spirit of man continues to exist (Eccl. 3: 21, cp. 12: 7)."

"The fact that animals do not possess an eternal soul in the sense that man does, does not de-emphasize their value as companions to man. Pets can and do become an important part in the lives of millions. Also, in man's charge over the animal kingdom, it behooves man to protect and not abuse the animals (Gen. 1: 26-28)."


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