First Baptist Church Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress said in a sermon that unlike humans, animals have no spirits, and at the same time predicted that the majority of people are going to end up in hell, separated from God.
"Solomon says in Ecclesiastic 3:19-21, 'Here's how we're different. The animal has no spirit, but man has a spirit that descends to Heaven even after he dies,'" Jeffress told the audience in his message.
"That's how we're different from the animals," he insisted.
The pastor said that death is never the end for humans, and one way or another they are going to live forever.
"Everybody's spirit lives forever. Doesn't matter what you believe – Jew, Atheist, Muslim, Catholic, Baptist – everybody's going to live forever. Some are going to live forever in Heaven with God. Others – the majority of people – are going to live in hell, separated by God," he said.
The Dallas pastor noted that three times in the New Testament Jesus raised somebody from the dead, and he did it the same way every time – by speaking to the person that had died.
"The Bible says that one day the Lord himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first," Jeffress said.
The Baptist pastor has separately said that following Islam leads people to hell.
"Islam is a false religion that will lead you to hell. It is based on a false book that is based on a fraud. It was founded by a false prophet who was leading people away instead of to the one true God," he said during a sermon in May.
The question of whether animals have souls has divided Christians, with some major leaders, such as the Pope Francis, suggesting that there is a place in Heaven for pets.
"One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God's creatures," the pontiff said back in December 2014, seeking to console a young boy who recently lost his dog.
The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at large of America, a Catholic magazine, said that while conservative Catholic teachings would argue against the idea that animals have souls, Francis' statements that "God loves and Christ redeems all of creation" is consistent with the Bible.
"He said paradise is open to all creatures," Father Martin told the The New York Times back then. "That sounds pretty clear to me."
Other conservatives, such as Christian minister and former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, have also said that animals will go to Heaven.
"Some people doubt that dogs go to heaven, but I don't have any doubts. If heaven is a place of the best, then Jet will be there. When I make it, I won't be surprised to see him there. I just hope he isn't surprised to see me there," Huckabee wrote in a heart-felt Facebook post back in January 2013, talking about the loss of his black Labrador Retriever.