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 two creation accounts. The first one starts at Genesis 1:1 and continues through Genesis 2:3 (the chapter division does correspond to the historical account). 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.

Humans and Animals

God made animals and humans to be different 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. (NASB) 1 Corinthians 15:39

This statement simply implies humans, animals, birds and fish are not related in anyway. It has been this way since the creation.

Scripture never anywhere says that animals have a spirit. There are two passages that come 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. (NASB) Genesis 7:21-22

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

All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. (NASB) Ecclesiastes 3:20

Again this does not refer to an animal having a spirit. This passage is simply saying that humans and animals all die and return to dust.

Soul and Spirit

The terms soul and spirit appear to be used interchangeably within the Old and the New Testaments. It appears that the soul is our personality (Luke 19:12; Acts 3:2; 3 John 2) and the spirit is our eternal life force – the real person. You may be interested in another question and answer that talks about the soul and spirit .

Conclusion

Jesus died for human beings. He died to save our spirits/souls so that we can spend our eternal life with Him and not in the Lake of Fire. Praise the Lord!