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Subject: Do dogs go to Heaven? A question about evolution for Christians rss

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C Bazler
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It has always been my understanding that the theory of evolution is seen as a threat to some evangelical Christians because it blatantly contradicts a literal interpretation of the Creation story as related in Genesis. But it occurs to me that there might be more at stake, particularly due to the way Christianity privileges humankind in the hierarchy of things.

Now, as far as I know, every one of my Christian friends believes in evolution, and most agree that not every event in the Bible happened exactly the way it is described: so, the world was not created in 6 days, Methuselah was not over 900 years old, and Noah didn't actually house two of every animal species on his ark, etc.

But how do modern science-friendly Christians reconcile their acceptance of evolution with notions of the afterlife? If human beings are special, made in the image of God and worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven, what about their immediate ancestors?

Did Jesus die for the sins of homo erectus? Can Neanderthals go to Heaven? Is Australopithecus in Limbo, waiting to be judged at Christ's Second Coming? What about Chimps? Dogs? Insects? Amoebas? At what point on the vast continuity of life and intelligence does God draw the line and say, "No, you are not eligible to be saved?"
 
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cbazler wrote:
It has always been my understanding that the theory of evolution is seen as a threat to some evangelical Christians because it blatantly contradicts a literal interpretation of the Creation story as related in Genesis. But it occurs to me that there might be more at stake, particularly due to the way Christianity privileges humankind in the hierarchy of things.

Now, as far as I know, every one of my Christian friends believes in evolution, and most agree that not every event in the Bible happened exactly the way it is described: so, the world was not created in 6 days, Methuselah was not over 900 years old, and Noah didn't actually house two of every animal species on his ark, etc.

But how do modern science-friendly Christians reconcile their acceptance of evolution with notions of the afterlife? If human beings are special, made in the image of God and worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven, what about their immediate ancestors?

Did Jesus die for the sins of homo erectus? Can Neanderthals go to Heaven? Is Australopithecus in Limbo, waiting to be judged at Christ's Second Coming? What about Chimps? Dogs? Insects? Amoebas? At what point on the vast continuity of life and intelligence does God draw the line and say, "No, you are not eligible to be saved?"


Well, an obvious answer would be "Nobody knows", but I think you can boil it down to a couple of scenarios:

Do animals have "souls"? Or is our personification of domesticated animals one of the things that makes us like them so much?

I think you can make an argument that there's a clear distinction between animals and man (Both scientific and biblically-supported).

But, hey, for all we know, Earth is actually purgatory and we're all fallen angels and we have to learn the errors of our ways through multiple lifetimes. For all we know, Jesus already returned, and we were the ones who were not saved, and now we have to live multiple lives until we make the "right" decisions.
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CapNClassic wrote:
pretty sure most Christians do not extend the afterlife to animals.
As for Neanderthal, with hoaxes like the Piltdown man, many Christians don't believe that Neanderthal's existed millions of years ago. I would wager a significant percentage feel that archeologists have placed ape skulls with other human skeletons. (kind of like T-Rex having the wrong head for decades)
Quote:
the way Christianity privileges humankind in the hierarchy of things.
Evolutionists similarly privilege humans. we differentiate from selective breeding and SotF.


shake

You idea of significant percentage is way different than mine.

Just Sayin...
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C Bazler
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jageroxorz wrote:
Do animals have "souls"? Or is our personification of domesticated animals one of the things that makes us like them so much?

I think you can make an argument that there's a clear distinction between animals and man (Both scientific and biblically-supported).


Some animals. If you subscribe to the theory of evolution, then you also acknowledge that humans are another kind of mammalian animal. That's why I find the question of evolution interesting.

Neanderthals, for example, spoke a language, built dwellings, and likely had familial and social structures that very closely resembled those of early homo sapiens. There is evidence that Neanderthals played music, and even interbred with humans (many of whose descendants still live today).

If Neanderthals might have had a soul, at what point did "the soul" first appear in the evolutionary chain? (And no, I'm not trying to play "gotcha." This is just my geeky curiosity talking).
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cbazler wrote:
jageroxorz wrote:
Do animals have "souls"? Or is our personification of domesticated animals one of the things that makes us like them so much?

I think you can make an argument that there's a clear distinction between animals and man (Both scientific and biblically-supported).


Some animals. If you subscribe to the theory of evolution, then you also acknowledge that humans are another kind of mammalian animal. That's why I find the question of evolution interesting.


You can agree that something is a part of something, while also being an elevated "more".

I mean, humans do it all the time. You can't eat dogs, but Pigs are fine. They're both domesticated animals. Why are dogs elevated higher?
 
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jageroxorz wrote:
cbazler wrote:
jageroxorz wrote:
Do animals have "souls"? Or is our personification of domesticated animals one of the things that makes us like them so much?

I think you can make an argument that there's a clear distinction between animals and man (Both scientific and biblically-supported).


Some animals. If you subscribe to the theory of evolution, then you also acknowledge that humans are another kind of mammalian animal. That's why I find the question of evolution interesting.


You can agree that something is a part of something, while also being an elevated "more".

I mean, humans do it all the time. You can't eat dogs, but Pigs are fine. They're both domesticated animals. Why are dogs elevated higher?
Some do eat dogs. It is mainly (I suspect) the simple fact that dogs in the west have lived in our homes for so long.
 
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cbazler wrote:
jageroxorz wrote:
Do animals have "souls"? Or is our personification of domesticated animals one of the things that makes us like them so much?

I think you can make an argument that there's a clear distinction between animals and man (Both scientific and biblically-supported).


Some animals. If you subscribe to the theory of evolution, then you also acknowledge that humans are another kind of mammalian animal. That's why I find the question of evolution interesting.

Neanderthals, for example, spoke a language, built dwellings, and likely had familial and social structures that very closely resembled those of early homo sapiens. There is evidence that Neanderthals played music, and even interbred with humans (many of whose descendants still live today).

If Neanderthals might have had a soul, at what point did "the soul" first appear in the evolutionary chain? (And no, I'm not trying to play "gotcha." This is just my geeky curiosity talking).


Who's to say that God would view them differently or not? Science is man's attempt to explain natural laws. We create arbitrary "species" in an attempt to categorize everything.

If a species is merely a group of individuals that can interbreed with humans, why are Neanderthals who could interbreed with humans a different species?

Does the idea of separate species even have meaning when removed thousands of years?

If, for example, at some point modern humans changed enough that if time travel was possible and we went back in time to Ancient Rome and interbreeding was impossible, would you say that Ancient Romans didn't have souls/weren't human because they were a different species?


I think often the human desire to quantify/qualify everything into specific categories can create issues when dealing with the extranatural implications of a deity.
 
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slatersteven wrote:
jageroxorz wrote:
cbazler wrote:
jageroxorz wrote:
Do animals have "souls"? Or is our personification of domesticated animals one of the things that makes us like them so much?

I think you can make an argument that there's a clear distinction between animals and man (Both scientific and biblically-supported).


Some animals. If you subscribe to the theory of evolution, then you also acknowledge that humans are another kind of mammalian animal. That's why I find the question of evolution interesting.


You can agree that something is a part of something, while also being an elevated "more".

I mean, humans do it all the time. You can't eat dogs, but Pigs are fine. They're both domesticated animals. Why are dogs elevated higher?
Some do eat dogs. It is mainly (I suspect) the simple fact that dogs in the west have lived in our homes for so long.


And thus in many societies have been elevated to a higher social position than pigs and cows.
 
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jageroxorz wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
jageroxorz wrote:
cbazler wrote:
jageroxorz wrote:
Do animals have "souls"? Or is our personification of domesticated animals one of the things that makes us like them so much?

I think you can make an argument that there's a clear distinction between animals and man (Both scientific and biblically-supported).


Some animals. If you subscribe to the theory of evolution, then you also acknowledge that humans are another kind of mammalian animal. That's why I find the question of evolution interesting.


You can agree that something is a part of something, while also being an elevated "more".

I mean, humans do it all the time. You can't eat dogs, but Pigs are fine. They're both domesticated animals. Why are dogs elevated higher?
Some do eat dogs. It is mainly (I suspect) the simple fact that dogs in the west have lived in our homes for so long.


And thus in many societies have been elevated to a higher social position than pigs and cows.
Yo asked why, I suggested an answer. The fact that in the west we have taken the dog into our homes (and even crafted special breeds for that purpose). Also (and here I would also draw in horses) in the Anglo Saxon countries there is a clear line between food animals and "working" animals.
 
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I am going to try something here, and give it my best shot. I will try to explain it from my positional thinking, and this in no way to should be conveyed to explain the feelings or thoughts of anyone else on this board, or even individual Christians that you may know. So here goes.

I don't think that theory of evolution is seen as a threat to evangelical Christians because it blatantly contradicts a literal interpretation of the Creation story as related in Genesis. In my view, the theory of evolution is not compatible with the Christian teachings on the sin issue. Let me explain - by using the Bible (three verses in particular that I would like to point out).


Genesis 1:27 says "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

So, Genesis teaches that man and woman (humans) were created in God's image. That doesn't mean that we are a mirror image of Him, but that we share some qualities with him. Those qualities include holiness (defined as "set apart"), free will, and the ability to love. No other species was given this distinction - only humans. And with that distinction came the choice of free will - that's important.

Man, despite being made in the image of God, decided to make a "bad decision" by using his free will to go against the one commandment that God gave - that of not eating the tree of good an evil. But Satan/Lucifer tempted Man (Eve specifically, who was abandoned by Adam at her most vulnerable time) and said that "surely you will not die". But that is what God said would happen. Man chose to use their "free will" to go directly against a directive given by God. Because we are created in God's image, we are the only creature capable of such a decision - that's important when it comes to explaining the theory of evolution. And that decision had drastic consequences for mankind.

Romans 3:23 says that "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

Through this one act of Adam and Eve in the garden, they were banished. Theirs was a sin of disobedience. God gave them free will, and through that free will, they chose to disobey. God banished them from the garden, set up angel to protect the garden, and forbade them from taking any fruit from the tree of life (which otherwise provided permanent longevity - immortality). And that one sin against God has carried on from generation to generation - we have all failed to heed God's commands. Cain did it. Noah did it. Even King David sinned against God by failing to obey His rules. We have ALL fallen well short of the glory and perfection of God - since Adam onward.

Romans 6:23 says "The wages of sin is death."

Sin results in death. Adam and Eve could have lived in the Garden for eternity - but for the fact that they sinned, and thus were cut off from the garden and all of its benefits - including immortality. And their sin resulted in not only their death later, but in the immediate death of a part of God's creation - namely the animal sacrifice that God required in order to craft clothing ("skin") for Adam and Eve (who were ashamed at their nakedness).

So, where am I going with all of this? Good question.

Death is the result of sin. Death doesn't happen until there is sin. Only man, who is created in God's image, can sin. Therefore, if death is the consequence of sin, and only comes about because of that sin, how then could evolution, (which requires the death of things before the existence of man), actually happen? See, man has to "die" before everything else, because death was only introduced to the world AFTER man had sinned and disobeyed God! But evolution requires that things die BEFORE man does.

So, that's MY personal explanation for why some evangelicals see evolution as contrary to creation - not because it contradicts the literal interpretation of CREATION, but because it contradicts the foundation of the SIN PROBLEM. A problem that was ultimately solved by Jesus Christ by way of his death and resurrection.

Thanks for the question. I hope that I have answered it in a way that explains my viewpoint, and maybe sheds some light on what others may think as well.

And no, dogs don't go to heaven.
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slatersteven wrote:
jageroxorz wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
jageroxorz wrote:
cbazler wrote:
jageroxorz wrote:
Do animals have "souls"? Or is our personification of domesticated animals one of the things that makes us like them so much?

I think you can make an argument that there's a clear distinction between animals and man (Both scientific and biblically-supported).


Some animals. If you subscribe to the theory of evolution, then you also acknowledge that humans are another kind of mammalian animal. That's why I find the question of evolution interesting.


You can agree that something is a part of something, while also being an elevated "more".

I mean, humans do it all the time. You can't eat dogs, but Pigs are fine. They're both domesticated animals. Why are dogs elevated higher?
Some do eat dogs. It is mainly (I suspect) the simple fact that dogs in the west have lived in our homes for so long.


And thus in many societies have been elevated to a higher social position than pigs and cows.
Yo asked why, I suggested an answer. The fact that in the west we have taken the dog into our homes (and even crafted special breeds for that purpose). Also (and here I would also draw in horses) in the Anglo Saxon countries there is a clear line between food animals and "working" animals.


I mean, it's obvious to me at least WHY they are elevated. My point was not to actually question why they are elevated, but pose a more rhetorical point that things ARE elevated even if they belong to the same group.

So, yes, humans are animals, but that doesn't mean all animals are on the same "level."
 
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"Has your dog accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior?"

I remember hearing this response while listening to a Focus on the Family caller question--she wanted to know if her dog would go to heaven. I was on a long road trip, down the bleak I-70 Kansas stretch.

Even as an atheist, I thought it was a proper response given in the context of a Christian notion of heaven.
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chrisnd wrote:

Thanks for the question. I hope that I have answered it in a way that explains my viewpoint, and maybe sheds some light on what others may think as well.

And no, dogs don't go to heaven.


I think, personally here, you're taking too literal the meaning of "Death". "Death" could be simply the "death" of your soul, not the physical death.

Maybe God didn't impart souls until man was actually in his image (With free will and consciousness), so evolution occurred?
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I should note, however, that just because other animals like dogs don't have free will/can't sin/whatever, doesn't mean that their presence won't be in whatever "heaven" exists if they're a joy for us.
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jageroxorz wrote:
Does the idea of separate species even have meaning when removed thousands of years?

If, for example, at some point modern humans changed enough that if time travel was possible and we went back in time to Ancient Rome and interbreeding was impossible, would you say that Ancient Romans didn't have souls/weren't human because they were a different species?


Well, if we changed enough that we reached the point where our genetic material was incompatible and we could no longer interbreed, I'd probably say we had evolved into a new species. I can't comment about the other part because I don't believe in a soul.

So you think there might be some Neanderthals in Heaven, then? And if so, what about their immediate ancestors, with whom they may have also interbred? I'm just trying to wrap my head around this.

Weirdly, I feel like I understand Creationist Christian positions (such as the very nice one summarized by chrisnd) more than I do Evolutionist Christian ones.
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I think, but I could he wrong, that the explanation is a simple (whenever humans had free will and consciousness, god granted them souls, and before that they were the same as animals) works fine. But I think the specific point in time is irrelevant.
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cbazler wrote:

So you think there might be some Neanderthals in Heaven, then? And if so, what about their immediate ancestors, with whom they may have also interbred? I'm just trying to wrap my head around this.


To he honest, and I'm really not just being flippant, I don't know and don't really care.

I think a lot of Christians who trust what scientists really say don't care or have to know the exact specifics of how God works.
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cbazler wrote:
Did Jesus die for the sins of homo erectus? Can Neanderthals go to Heaven? Is Australopithecus in Limbo, waiting to be judged at Christ's Second Coming? What about Chimps? Dogs? Insects? Amoebas? At what point on the vast continuity of life and intelligence does God draw the line and say, "No, you are not eligible to be saved?"


It's simple: everyone born before Jesus is burning in Hell.
 
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CapNClassic wrote:
pretty sure most Christians do not extend the afterlife to animals.
As for Neanderthal, with hoaxes like the Piltdown man, many Christians don't believe that Neanderthal's existed millions of years ago. I would wager a significant percentage feel that archeologists have placed ape skulls with other human skeletons. (kind of like T-Rex having the wrong head for decades)
Quote:
the way Christianity privileges humankind in the hierarchy of things.
Evolutionists similarly privilege humans. we differentiate from selective breeding and "natural" selection.


*Ouch* you realized the Piltdown man has been a non issue in the study of paleontology since 1953 right? My old minster trotted that loser argument out every year or so. and the more gullible in the crowd just lapped it up.
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remorseless1 wrote:
cbazler wrote:
Did Jesus die for the sins of homo erectus? Can Neanderthals go to Heaven? Is Australopithecus in Limbo, waiting to be judged at Christ's Second Coming? What about Chimps? Dogs? Insects? Amoebas? At what point on the vast continuity of life and intelligence does God draw the line and say, "No, you are not eligible to be saved?"


It's simple: everyone born before Jesus is burning in Hell.


The principle characters of the old testament get a Mulligan because they rose from the dead and wandered the streets as zombies for an in-determinant amount of time after Jesus died.
 
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Humans are differentiated from other animals by the fact that we have eternal souls. These continue to live on when our bodies die. Eventually, we will receive new and imperishable bodies on the perfected new earth.
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happyjosiah wrote:
Humans are differentiated from other animals by the fact that we have eternal souls. These continue to live on when our bodies die. Eventually, we will receive new and imperishable bodies on the perfected new earth.


Well, that makes no sense.
 
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rcbevco wrote:
The principle characters of the old testament get a Mulligan because they rose from the dead and wandered the streets as zombies for an in-determinant amount of time after Jesus died.


Yeah, those dudes were creepy.
 
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