Where Ecclesiastes 12:7 says that when a human being dies with God, his soul returns to God, and the physical body returns to dust--does this also happen with animals?

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

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    – Lesley
    Mar 26, 2021 at 12:16
  • @Lesley Yet, im sorry Mar 26, 2021 at 12:20
  • Thank you, Nicolas.
    – Lesley
    Mar 26, 2021 at 12:21
  • Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? Ecclesiastes 3:21.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 26, 2021 at 13:18
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    The translation you have for Eccl 12:7 is quite interpretive and misleading - the word "soul": does NOT occur - it is the word for "spirit" or "breath" - Ruach.
    – Dottard
    Mar 26, 2021 at 19:25

2 Answers 2


The Teacher does not distinguish between humans who believe in God or the godless. ALL humans will die and their bodies go into the ground where "the dust returns to the ground it came from."

Likewise, all animals will die and go into the ground.

The difference between what happens to humans and to animals after physical death lies in the fact that only humans are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:2). Animals are not.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 informs us that God has set eternity in the hearts of men. God has not set eternity in the hearts of animals.

The Teacher has this to say about it in Ecclesiastes 3:19-20:

Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All got to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.

This refers to the body and the breath of life. But what about the spirit of man?

Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth? (Ecclesiastes 3:21)

The Conclusion of the Matter is that

God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

No mention anywhere of animals continuing to exist after physical death. No mention of God judging the actions of animals to discover if they were good or evil. No mention of a resurrection for animals anywhere in the Bible. That is because animals are not made in God's image (Genesis 1:2).

The last book in the Bible describes how God will judge humanity "according to what they had done" (Revelation 20:11-15). There is to be a resurrection of humanity - of all who have lived and died, both the righteous and the unrighteous, but there is no resurrection of animals.

The body of animals returns to the dust but they do not have a soul that returns to God.

  • But if animals have a breath of life, they can also return to God, right? At first man was not rational and was not destined to die, but when he took from the forbidden fruit this changed. The animals have the breath of life and have not "tasted the forbidden fruit." So spiritually they are not supposed to die, right? Furthermore, God is supposed to redeem his entire creation... Mar 26, 2021 at 13:36
  • The breath of life is not the soul. Neither is there any suggestion anywhere in the Bible that animals are not supposed to die "spiritually". Redemption comes through saving faith in Christ Jesus. I don't see how animals figure in the Christian teachings of sin, salvation, redemption, resurrection and eternal life. Do you have some Bible verses to support your view?
    – Lesley
    Mar 26, 2021 at 14:09
  • No, but that means that in the other life wont be animals? And the smart animals like dogs, that are very good like friends, wont be in the other life? Mar 26, 2021 at 14:32
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    Nicolas, I have not found anything in my Bible to suggest that dead animals go to heaven. However, there may be animals on the NEW earth, sometime future: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more"(Revelation 21:1). gotquestions.org/pets-heaven.html
    – Lesley
    Mar 26, 2021 at 16:08
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    I would argue the correct conclusion should be "the Bible doesn't tell us", not "That is because animals are not made in God's image" - which would indicate the Bible does say something. Your answer says there is no mention of animals continuing to exist after physical death. Does this omission really mean we can conclude the negative? How can we distinguish between omission and assertion of the negative through omission?
    – kutschkem
    Mar 26, 2021 at 16:20

God will redeem his whole creation. Paradise would not be paradise without all of creation.A new earth will be just as it is but with God as our creator and no evil.That is my belief.

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