Will there be animals in Heaven?
Taken from "101 Answers to the Most Asked Questions About the End Times", Question 96, by Mark Hitchcock

This question has taken on a special meaning for me. During the week I was writing this chapter my family had to have our dog put to sleep. Roi had been our family pet for six years. He was a loyal, playful Welsh Corgi. He developed lymphatic sarcoma, and we finally decided to bring an end to his suffering. After Roi died my sons asked me: "Dad, will Roi be in heaven?"

Its interesting to me that I have been asked about animals in heaven many times by people of all ages. This issue stirs up a great deal of emotion for those who deeply love their pets.

Questions about whether or not we'll see our pets in heaven should not be our focus. Indeed, when we make it there, it may not even cross our minds. The Lamb of God will be our focus. However, this does not mean that we will not enjoy one another and the beauty of the heavenly paradise. And part of this beauty and enjoyment may include our pets from here on earth.

Although Scripture does not say conclusively whether our pets will be in heaven, three key points lead me to believe that animals in general and pets in particular will be in heaven.

First, animals were part of the original creation of God that was declared "good." The Garden of Eden was filled with animals (Genesis 1:25). Revelation tells us that heaven will contain many of the same things that were in the original creation, such as a river, trees, and fruit. Why not animals too? After all, animals are an integral part of earthly life and testify powerfully of the creative, imaginative genius of God. He created the giraffe, the camel, the platypus, the lion, the pachyderm, and the hummingbird.

As the noted pastor W A. Criswell says, "God has shown a penchant for varieties of life forms, and it would be difficult to imagine that this would not be perpetuated in the heavenlies."54

Concerning the question of animals in heaven, author Peter Kreeft says, "The simplest answer is: Why not? How irrational is the prejudice that would allow plants (green fields and flowers) but not animals in heaven!"55

Concerning the more difficult issue of whether the same animals will be in heaven that were here on earth, Kreeft adds:

    Would the same animals be in heaven as on earth? "Is my dead cat in heaven?" Again, why not? God can raise up the very grass; why not cats? Though the blessed have better things to do than play with pets, the better does not exclude the lesser. We were meant from the beginning to have stewardship over the animals; we have not fulfilled that divine plan yet on earth; therefore it seems likely that the right relationship with animals will be part of Heaven; proper "petship". And what better place to begin than with the already petted pets?56
Second, the Bible suggests from beginning to end that animals may have souls. In Genesis 1 20, 24, for instance, the Hebrew word nepesh is used to refer to animals. While this word can simply mean "creature" or "living thing," in the Old Testament it is often understood to mean "soul." And in Revelation 8:9, the Greek word psuche-which can mean heart, mind, or soul-is used about sea creatures.

Of course, the soul of an animal would be very different from the soul of a human being. But the biblical suggestion that animals have souls may indicate that they too will be resurrected in the afterlife.

Third, in the Millennium, animals will be present in abundance. Isaiah paints the well-known picture of animal life in Christ's kingdom:

    And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
    And the leopard will lie down with the young goat,
    And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
    And a little boy will lead them.
    Also the cow and the bear will graze,
    Their young will lie down together,
    And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
    The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra,
    And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den.
    (Isaiah 11:6-8)
While the thousand-year reign of Christ is not heaven, it is the initial phase or "front porch" of the eternal kingdom of God. Therefore, if animals exist in the Millennium, this at least establishes a precedent for suggesting that arnmals may populate the eternal state, too.

In her book Holiness in Hidden Places, Joni Eareckson Tada talks about whether she will see her pet schnauzer, Scrappy, in heaven. Her words are a poignant summary of this issue.

    If God brings our pets back to life, it wouldn't surprise me. It would be just like Him. It would be totally in keeping with His generous character.... Exorbitant. Excessive. Extravagant in grace after grace. Of all the dazzling discoveries and ecstatic pleasures heaven will hold for us, the potential of seeing Scrappy would be pure whimsy-utterly, joyfully, surprisingly superfluous.... Heaven is going to be a place that will refract and reflect in as many ways as possible the goodness and joy of our great God, who delights in lavishing love on His children. So will pets be in heaven? Who knows?57

Notes:
54. W.A. Criswell and Page Patterson, Heaven (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1991), 53.
55. Peter Kreeft, Every Thing You Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven but Never Dreamed of Asking (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990), 45.
56. Ibid.,45-46.
57. Joni Eareckson Tada, Holiness in Hidden Places (Nashville: J. Countryman, 1999), 133.


Next article on animals in Heaven

Site Menu | Contact the owner

 


Copyright Woodhaven Labradors All rights reserved.

You may freely link to this site, but do not have permission to add/copy the text/graphics to your homepage.