Friday, September 25, 2009

Will our pets go to heaven?

Question: "Do pets / animals go to Heaven? Do pets / animals have souls?"

Answer: The Bible does not give any explicit teaching on whether pets/animals have “souls” or whether pets/animals will be in heaven. However, we can use general biblical principles to develop some clarity on the subject. The Bible states that both man (Genesis 2:7) and animals (Genesis 1:30; 6:17; 7:15, 22) have the breath of life. The primary difference between human beings and animals is that humanity is made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27), while animals are not. Being made in the image and likeness of God means that human beings are like God, capable of spirituality, with mind, emotion, and will, and they have a part of their being that continues after death. If pets/animals do have a “soul” or immaterial aspect, it must therefore be of a different and lesser “quality.” This difference possibly means that pet/animal “souls” do not continue in existence after death.

Another factor to consider is that animals are a part of God’s creative process in Genesis. God created the animals and said they were good (Genesis 1:25). Therefore, there is no reason why there could not be animals on the new earth (Revelation 21:1). There will most definitely be animals during the millennial kingdom (Isaiah 11:6; 65:25). It is impossible to say definitively whether some of these animals might be the pets we had while here on earth. We do know that God is just and that when we get to heaven we will find ourselves in complete agreement with His decision on this issue, whatever it may be.


I have always thought they will go to heaven, simply because God loves us and we loved our pets. It is called Heaven for a reason, right? I know, I can be a little too deep in my theological answers so I thought I had better add the above answer.


Beloved Spear said...

The most explicit teaching in Scripture on the subject is in Ecclesiastes:

"I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals. For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and human have no advantage over the animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who know whether the human spirit goes upward and the spirit of animals goes downward to earth?" (Eccl. 3:18-21)

There's some room for interpretation there, but it appears to favor the idea that animals and humans have "breath," which is the same word as "spirit" in the Hebrew.

Mark said...

I am not sure I would attribute breath (life) with "spirit" here, since only man is created in His image. Nontheless, I am confident my pets are in thier creators hand and care.

Chrissy said...

I think it's what you believe. I was reading this book recently called Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know! by Susi Pittman because my children were wondering so we've been reading this book together. I'm open with my kids and I think that everyone should at their own discretion. I've learned a lot and had to share.