Yes, because they have an individualized existence in spiritform and because they are drawn to us in the afterlife through the Law of Affinity. Wild creatures not having an intimate association (that is to say an association where emotions are involved) with a human being, will reincarnate almost immediately, but pets will normally remain in spiritform until there is a reunion. Occasionally a pet will reincarnate relatively soon and come within the orbit of those with whom it has an affinity on Earth. The principles under which this operates are complex but known.
Only in the sense that we can contravene a law, but that law will operate just the same. We can transgress, but cannot break the law in the sense of preventing effect from following cause. We can only kick over the traces.
While humans have individualized souls animals, each according to its species, have a group soul. Thus there is a group soul to which dogs belong and cats have their own group soul, and the same applies to other animals. Within the group soul (group consciousness may be a better expression) a certain amount of individuality may manifest in individual animals and the higher an animal is on the evolutionary scale the greater the possibility of individual traits being expressed. Household pets, in particular, will exhibit a considerable degree of individuality, yet they are not individualized souls.
It follows its own path of evolution. The same pattern is behind all evolution, it is a development. If one asked, “Do children evolve the same way as their parents?”, the answer would be “Yes and No”. They have a predestined pattern which they must follow, but within that pattern is a certain amount of freewill regulated by the awareness reached at stages of unfoldment. Animals follow their line of evolution according to the part they play in the whole process, for the law of consequences is immutable. Whatever is must be the result of what was. Animals are an essential part of the evolutionary plan, like everything else in Nature. The link is the unifying spirit and all life is one. Animals follow their preordained paths. The extent to which they develop is governed by that part of the Law applicable to them; the same applies to a flower, a tree, a bird, to the beasts of the field or to a human being.
If an animal on Earth develops human qualities, such as noble sentiments and intelligence, will it remain an animal without a chance of further evolution, or may it in time step over into the human realm?
Evolution is part of a natural law. It has a mainstream and many tributaries, but all are part of the same law. The spirit within you is the same spirit that is within the animal. There is no difference in essence, only in degree, so there is always a chance for further evolution.
If one of the purposes of life is to learn love and compassion, why does Nature set such a bad example by allowing predators?
This has already been answered in part. We must remember that love and compassion can be learned only in a setting where there is call for their expression. Nature, being an expression of the Supreme Spirit, does not set anyone a bad example. Left to her own devices she will always achieve the right balance and harmony and if human beings lived in accord with Nature then our world would be a paradise. There are predators, but that is part of the way Nature ensures the survival of the fittest. Yet it is only one aspect of natural law at work. The essence of Nature is cooperation, for Nature is symbiotic. For example, a gardener who prepares his garden and co-operates with Nature obtains beautiful results. Probably the greatest predator on Earth now, the most destructive creature that has been known for many millennia, is man himself.
If, as the Culdians declare, the Law is perfect, why is it that a large proportion of the animal world, fulfilling natural law, can survive only by causing appalling suffering to other living creatures?
Yes, the Law is perfect even when some of us fall to understand its manifestations. Those who have made a lengthy study of the matter and have years of experience to draw on have come to understand that there are no imperfections in natural law. It is conceived by infinite wisdom and sustained by infinite love. It has made provision for every facet of creation and ensures that nothing or nobody is ever forgotten, or overlooked. Evolution, part of this Law, is a constant progress from lower to higher forms of being and activity. In its lower animal forms it outworks itself by what is seemingly cruel, as these animals prey on one another. Through evolution these predatory instincts gradually vanish. If you look at prehistoric times the greatest of predators have disappeared from the physical scened, while those animals not involved in preying on others have survived. There is also another aspect to be
considered. In some respects the animal creation reflects its human counterpart. As man evolves and manifests less cruelty to his fellows, so will this be reflected in the animal kingdom.
Is it the intention that animals who have had a close association with human beings shall gain individuality, that they shall have consciousness in their own right?
There is individual survival for domestic animals who have had a close association with humans. They have been helped to achieve an individual development that is not possible with other animals. It is part of the wonderful relationship that can exist between a human being and an animal, each helping the other to develop spiritually. We help the animals who come into our surroundings to achieve a consciousness that is more individual than it otherwise would have been. It is that which survives death, but where the more evolved ‘human’ expression is lacking the animal consciousness joins the group soul.
Unlike human animals cannot understand the nature of suffering and in the case of household pets the owners are responsible for their wellbeing. If an animal is suffering from some malady which veterinary science cannot alleviate, then it is better to have it painlessly put to sleep. Human beings have a direct responsibility for the welfare of the animal kingdom and individuals are answerable for the way they face up to this responsibility.
Is it wrong to spray with insecticides to prevent the spread of various illnesses, such as malaria?
Of course we must have respect for all life, but this is a question of motive and degree. If, because of certain circumstances, there are insects that cause disease, then the motive in using sprays is a good one. Respect for life must be tempered with the necessity to ensure that the conditions in which it can flourish are met. Human life weighs heavier in the balance than that of disease carrying insects.
It seems that there are animals who are ahead of their own species and who exhibit some human qualities. What have you to say about this?
This must be true because in the outworking of evolution there are those who are always ahead of others, the pioneers, showing what will be achieved in the future; just as there are laggards who have not even caught up with what should be normal expression of evolution for the species. In human activity you get the saint, the genius or the reformer who exhibit qualities of their spiritual nature and by their gifts they can show what the world of tomorrow could be like. Similarly there are animals who have gone some stages ahead of the others and who exhibit qualities that can often compare with the finest examples of heroism and service that humans can offer.