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I feel like there is a big plot hole in Supernatural regarding death (as an event, not a Death entity). For example, it has been shown in some early episodes, that you need reapers for people to die. Without reapers, there is no death, even when shot. Also, soulless people do not need to eat or sleep. Is Reaper necessary to kill soulless man? Or do animals in this world have soul? They need to eat. Are humans just so unique in terms of nature?

It has been clearly stated several times that God created world by Big Bang and evolution. He created souls for humans after they evolved "naturally". But soul is said to be eternal (unless eaten by some higher power), so people do not really die, they just abandon their physical form. Yet all other entities call them mortal, yet it is much harder to really kill human soul than Angel for example. There comes another question, if angels (reapers) can be killed, obviously their presence is not necessary for death to occur. It makes humans almost hyper beeings - they cannot be killed without reaper, and their soul is almost eternal.

It all feels like death is very questionable in Supernatural universe with major plot holes from episode to episode. Or is there anything I missed in the show?

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So, I identify the following questions:

  1. Are reapers necessary to kill soulless people?

This is an interesting question. But I think no. The reapers are meant to collect souls when people die. If somehow a person's soul is missing before the person dies then the reaper doesn't come into the picture. All you need to do is damage the body so bad that it can't function anymore and the person is dead. It becomes very clear in some episodes that the reaper doesn't really kill the person but just collects the soul when the person dies (i.e. the vessel - the body becomes unable to function any further). If in the last moments, doctors do some clever trick and make the body survive then the reaper, who had come thinking that the person is going to die, goes away.

  1. Do animals have a soul?

Since they need to eat, sleep, and (presumably) have emotions - they have souls. But Supernatural doesn't seem to shed much light on animal souls. We don't know whether the same reapers that reap the human souls reap the animal souls and so on. But we do know that the human soul has tremendously more power than any other soul/grace. This has been emphasized by Crowley that a human soul has tremendous power more than once and the weight on the word "human" appears non-trivial.

  1. Is a human soul eternal?

Seems likely. But not so useful. As you can see, it becomes exceedingly difficult for a human soul to get back to life again once sent to the hell or heaven. Whereas, it is exceedingly easy for the Angels or Demons to change their vessels. They can't be killed - they can simply be destroyed into nothingness. Whereas the humans can be killed. On top of that, from the finale of Season 11, it appears that the human souls can also be destroyed - at least by a combination of witchcraft and the presence of darkness. Of course, all souls can be consumed by darkness or the God himself making their individual existence to cease.

PS: I am not sure that Reapers are Angels as you mention in your question. They can be killed by the Angel blade (as far as I remember) but I don't think they are Angels. See their names: Billie, Tessa - not Angelic.

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    As to your answer on 2, omitting animal souls seems to be intentional to prevent the plot from always turning into "kill 10 animals instead of 10 humans if you want souls that badly". Almost every baddie would be swatting flies instead of trying to cleverly and clandestinely kill humans for their souls. They could simply breed animals for an unlimited supply of souls. While there are many philosophical arguments that human and animal souls are equal due to a similar "spark of life", it would be nothing more than a distraction from the general premise of the plot in Supernatural. – Flater Aug 23 '17 at 9:53

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