The SPIRITUALITY of animals is clearly attested to by the Holy Scriptures. Here are the texts to prove it:
Who knows: does the spirit of the sons of men go up, and does the spirit of animals descend into the earth? (Eccl. 8:21).
God, God of spirits and all flesh! (Num. 16.22).
The Lord God formed out of the earth all the animals of the field and all the birds of the air, and brought [them] to man to see what he would call them, and that, as a man called every living soul, so was its name (Gen. 2:19 ).
The soul of the body (of animals) is in blood … therefore I said to the children of Israel: Do not eat blood from any body (Lev. 17: 11-14). The blood of sacrificial animals is holy and sanctifies, because it contains the soul of an animal, the breath of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it is forbidden to eat it.
The Spirit gives life (John 6:63).
The spirit of life from God entered into them (Rev. 11:11).
In prayer to the Holy Spirit, we call Him the giver of life. And even if the presence of the Spirit is so clear in inorganic nature, then, of course, both plants and animals must be considered spiritualized. The most common, most widespread in nature of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the spirit of life, and, of course, it is characteristic not only of animals, but also of plants. Hindus and other peoples of Asia do not at all look at plants in the same way as Europeans. They deeply recognize the spirituality of plants.
Plants with their whole being greedily perceive light, air, moisture, on which their whole life depends. They clearly rejoice in the light, wind, dew, rain. Why not admit that they vividly perceive and feel these sources of their life and joy: maybe quite differently than humans or animals, which are far from so absolutely in need of light as plants do. A plant, perhaps much deeper than an animal, feels all the subtlest properties of the soil, in which its roots branch out with such richness, on which, as on light and air, its whole life depends. We know how subtly different plants choose nutrients from the soil, which are necessary for them, and not for other plants. Is it not certain that for this, plants must have a very special sensitivity,
Nerves cannot be considered a necessary substrate for mental life. The strings are the nerves of the violin and piano. But even without strings, wind instruments emit wonderful melodies. In plants there is no autonomic nervous system, without which the processes of nutrition, respiration, metabolism are impossible in humans and higher animals, and nevertheless, all these processes take place in plants (Fechner).
If you turn the grape leaf with its lower surface towards the light, then it stubbornly bends and turns to turn its upper surface towards the light.
The instinctive movements of climbing plants are amazing. The plant first stretches in height, then bends its stem horizontally and makes a circle, looking for support. The longer the stem grows, the larger the circle becomes, that is, the plant, not finding support for itself, looks for it further. Finally, the stem does not withstand its own weight, falls to the ground and crawls on it, looking for new support, but in this case, it is guided by a choice: the dodder does not curl around inorganic or dead organic supports, but only around living plants for which it is greedy clings, because its roots, which are in the ground, quickly die, and it loses food, which it then sucks out through the papillae from the entwined plant.
Sleep phenomena are known in plants, when the leaves either bend or fold, the flowers tilt their heads and close.
The movements of the pistils of some plants are surprisingly expedient to fertilize the stigma with pollen.
In the evening, on a flowering meadow, all the many flowers turn to the sun, as if sending him an evening prayer, and after its sunset they quietly fall asleep, so that in the morning, turning to the east, they again meet him with morning joyful prayer.
The fragrance of flowers is an incense to God. Censer flowers. Nenufars open wide under the blue sky, enjoy the light and air, fold their petals and sink into the water when it gets dark.
It is impossible to find a definite border between the world of flora and fauna, for in the area of the simplest unicellular there are many almost completely similar forms, some of which serve as the beginning of the plant world, others – the animal, and it is almost impossible to distinguish between them. Such simplest forms of animals as river hydra and volvox are completely similar to plants and hardly differ from them in their vital functions. Two grandiose worlds of living beings – plants and animals – begin from the class of protozoa. The gradual development of the flora reached such magnificent, grandiose forms as wonderfully fragrant luxurious flowers, slender palms and cypresses, majestic Lebanese cedars, mighty oaks and giant sequoias that live for three thousand years.
It is absolutely certain that the entire flora and fauna possesses, at least, the lowest of the gifts of the Holy Spirit – the spirit of life.
For a huge number of naturalists, the teaching of vitalists and neovitalists about life force is odious, absurd. But consider the following facts.
According to Spalantsani’s observations, colovrata live in the swamp water and sand of the gutters, which can be dried together with the sand and stored in glass dishes. If after 3 4 years the sand is moistened with water, then the gelatinous colovratia in the usual state, dried to such an extent that if you press them with the end of a needle, they break like a grain of salt, come to life again. They can withstand drying at 54oC, while in a living state they die if the water reaches 25oC heat.
John Franklin, on his first trip to the North American coast of the Arctic Ocean, saw that fish, frozen immediately after being pulled out of the water, turned into such an ice mass that they could be chopped into pieces with an ax and that their frozen insides were hard ice chunks. … Nevertheless, when these fish were thawed by the fire, without first damaging them, some of them came to life. These examples indicate that, although every trace of life has disappeared in the body, the ability to begin, under favorable conditions, a new life activity in it can remain, unless such changes, anatomical or physiological, have occurred in it that would make it impossible restoration of vital functions.
It is known that wheat, barley and mustard, found in Egyptian mummies and lying for 3,000 years, if they have not been exposed to harmful influences in which enzymatic processes damaging them are possible, give excellent shoots when they are placed in favorable conditions of moisture and heat.
The next experiment was made by J. Becquerel in Paris in 1909. The seeds of wheat, alfalfa and white mustard were dried in an airless space for 6 months at 40 ° C and then sealed in evacuated glass tubes. These tubes were sent to London and were kept there for three weeks in liquid air at about 190 ° and then another 77 hours in liquid hydrogen at 250 °. In Paris, the tubes were opened again and the seeds were placed in a wet bath at 28o. It turned out that the germination was completely normal. No difference was noticed when compared to seed samples preserved in the usual way. At temperatures as low as 250o, any hint of vital activity is excluded. Even the most vigorous chemical reactions do not occur at such low temperatures.
From these experiments we see that temporary death is possible if the action that retards vital activity does not reach the destruction of the organism (Svedberg, “Degeneration of Energies”).
If it is so obvious that the temporary death of seeds and animals does not prevent life from re-emerging in them, then do we have the right to assert that this is possible without the manifestation in them of some unknown force, vital energy that is completely resistant to the influence of harmful agents destroying the life of seeds and plants? And such energy, of course, can only be spiritual energy, the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.
The above amazing facts about the vital activity and spirituality of plants give the right to agree with Eduard Hartmann when he asserts that plants have an unconscious idea and an unconscious will. A vague idea and aspiration is attributed to the monads and Leibniz. And the plant is a monad.
Our conviction in the spirituality of plants, of course, does not at all contradict the opinion of St. Anthony the Great on the inadmissibility of recognizing the soul in plants. Here are his words: Against those who dare to say that plants and herbs have a soul, I wrote this chapter for information for the simplest. Plants have physical life, but they do not have souls. Man is called an intelligent animal because he has a mind and is able to acquire knowledge. Other animals, terrestrial and air, which have a voice, have breath and soul. Everything that grows and diminishes can be called alive because it lives and grows, but it cannot be said that all such things have a soul. There are four different kinds of living beings: some of them are immortal and inspired by what angels are; others have mind, soul and breath, as people are; some have breath and soul like animals; while others have only the life that plants are. Life in plants continues without a soul, and without breath, and without mind and immortality; but all the rest of it cannot be without life. Every human soul is ever-moving (Philosophy, vol. 1, p. 93).
There is, of course, no contradiction. We do not attribute the soul to plants in the sense that it is understood by humans and animals, but only an unconscious idea and an unconscious will.
Anthony the Great, speaking of the soul of animals, of course, had in mind the higher animals, and not such as coelenterates, molluscs, sponges, even ciliates, the existence of which or their belonging to the animal world he could not have had any idea.
Of course, these lower animal forms, in relation to their spirituality, are not higher than plants, but even lower, and only the spirit of life belongs to them, like any animal.
Let us therefore delve into what is accessible to our knowledge of the spirit of the higher animals and man.