Bible Question:

In Genesis 1:24, God created animals and then in Genesis 2:19, He created them again. Why were they created twice? Were the first ones spirits? What is the difference between a spirit and a soul?

Bible Answer:

Many who have loved their animals have wondered if an animal has a soul.  Let us examine the creation accounts in Genesis 1:1-2:3.  The chapter division is wrong. What appears to be a second account in Genesis 2:4-25 is simply a “flash back” or a recap, if you wish, which “zooms in” on the creation of Adam and Eve.

Do animals have spirits or souls?

God Created Humans and Animals

Genesis 1:24-31 reveals that God made animals first and then humans. He created them uniquely differently and this is confirmed in the New Testament,

All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. 1 Corinthians 15:39 (NASB)

This statement simply states that humans, animals, birds and fish are not related in anyway. They do not have the same flesh.  It has been this way since the creation. For Genesis 1:25 states,

God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after 1their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25 (NASB)

But evolutionists claim that every creature upon the earth is related to something that crawled. However, they cannot provide any archaeological evidence of the supposed transitions between species.

Many people do not know that as of October 2023, over 1,000 scientists had openly dissented from the evolution theory. The New American website states the following about those who signed a statement “expressing skepticism about Darwin’s evolution theory.” The following two quotes reveals the high academic qualifications of those who signed.

And many of the scientists speaking out about this are prominent and highly respected. More than a dozen of the signatories, for instance, are members of various national academies of science, including those in the United States, Russia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and other nations, as well as the Royal Society.

More than a few come from America’s most prestigious universities such as Harvard, MIT, Princeton, and Yale. Others come from prestigious foreign universities and research institutions such as the University of Cambridge, London’s Natural History Museum, Moscow State University, Hong Kong University, University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, Institut de Paléontologie Humaine in France, Ben-Gurion University in Israel, and more.[1]

This quote reveals that evolution has serious flaws.

In 2017, for example, California State University at Northridge (CSUN) fired a Christian scientist after he published explosive evidence indirectly contradicting the theory in a peer-reviewed journal. Basically, Mark Armitage, a microscopist, found soft tissue in a dinosaur bone that was supposed to be around “65 million years old,” strongly indicating that the dinosaur in question died much more recently. The university paid him almost $400,000 in a settlement.[2]

God Gives Animals Souls

The Bible tells us that God created animals with a soul. In fact, Scripture says that animals are souls. For example,  the Hebrew word for “soul” is nephesh. It is translated as “soul” 256 times in the Old Testament, and “creature, living being, life and lifeblood” other times. Genesis 1:20, 21, 24, 30; 2:7, 19; 9:12, 15, 16 provide a few examples where nephesh is translated as “creature” or “creatures.” Nephesh  is used to refer to the life blood (Proverbs 28:17), a man’s appetite (Ecclesiastes 6:7), a person’s heart (Song of Solomon 5:6), a man’s hunger, and a person’s life (Proverbs 29:24). Taken together this helps us understand that the soul in the Old Testament has the meaning of a “life force.” Nephesh refers to the essence of life, that which causes the body to function. Animals have a nephesh, and so do people. So, that means a creature and soul were interchangeable concepts.

God Did Not Give Animals Spirits

Scripture never says that God gave animals spirits. There are two passages that come very close. Here is the first passage.

And all flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died.  Genesis 7:21-22 (NASB)

The statement “breath of the spirit of life” does not mean just a “spirit.” This passage tells us what happened during the Genesis flood. It is best to understand this as “they breathed air.” The second passage is found in Ecclesiastes.

Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?  Ecclesiastes 3:21 (NASB)

Some Bibles translate “breath” as “spirit”  and others translate the verses as the NASB does. The context argues against the idea that animals have spirits. This passage is simply saying that humans and animals all die and return to dust but we do not know where the breath goes..


So God created animals with a nephesh or soul. However, there is no strong evidence that God created animals with spirits. We are never told to preach the gospel to animals. If animals had spirits we would expect that the gospel should be preached to the animals in addition to humans. In summary, the human body is made of flesh and blood which will die and return to the dust. But our spirits are eternal and will live forever either in hell or in heaven with God.



1. Alex Newman. Over 1,000 Scientists Openly Dissent From Evolution Theory. New American. March 11, 2019. (
2. Ibid.

Suggested Links:

Does man have a soul? Does he just return to dust?
Is there a difference between the spirit of man and the spirit of God?
What is the difference between soul and spirit?
Over 1,000 Scientists Openly Dissent From Evolution Theory