Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Will my dog (cat, horse,...fill in the blank) go to heaven?

Now there's an interesting and controversial question.  

I remember a friend of mine saying quite determinedly, "Well if old Blue (his dog) won't be in heaven, I don't want to go there".  This man was an MIT graduate, a highly intelligent man in his late thirties who had worked on top secret projects for the government, but when it came down to it, Old Blue was his dearest possession and companion. And oh, how I identified with him! I'm a passionate animal lover and I understood completely how he felt.

So did I have some wise, compassionate answer to his comment?    No.

My answer to the question above is simply, I don't know.
There are thousands of people out there who are absolutely convinced that they will see their pets in heaven.  I wish I could join their ranks and say with conviction, I will see my cat, Bailey again. I really want to! But I have to have something on which to base my conviction.  It can't be just my opinion otherwise anybody else's opinion is as good as mine.

My convictions and beliefs are based on the Bible and the Bible doesn't tell me that any particular animal that I have loved will be there in heaven with me.  Now don't misunderstand me, the Bible does seem to say there will be animals in heaven.  "The lion shall lie down with the lamb" is one such indication.  Since we are told there will be a new heaven and a new earth and a new creation, I think that is enough to say I do believe there will be animals in heaven.  But specific animals I have known?  I don't know.  There are some complicated theological questions about this subject, such as, 'do animals have a soul?'.  But I am not going there today! 

So why didn't God tell us about this in the Bible?

Because the Bible is a book specifically about humans written to humans.  It's not a history book or a science book. What happens to animals just simply is not on the topic. The Bible is a spiritual Guidebook for human beings. It holds the light of Truth and Knowledge. Things we desperately need to function well in this world. We have to worry if we are going to heaven before we start to worry if our pets are.  It's first things first. If we as humans learn to trust and believe God, then we know from the Bible that He wants us to be happy and will give us more than just our needs, but our desires also.  We can't imagine being separated from our beloved pets forever, yet what if God has something even better in store for us?  Something which we cannot even imagine right now, but which would be way beyond our feelings for our pets. I can't imagine what that would be but I do know that God is greater and more loving and concerned about me in a way that is more than I can imagine.

My husband jokingly calls me a crazy cat lady and I say I go to the animal shelter to get my 'kitty-fix'.  Animals touch me very deeply -- not just cats.  But God knows that, because He made me and He made me  - and you, - in His image. So although I can't find the answer in the Bible, I can find the One who does know the answer and He knows my needs.
It is a great relief to know that.


Wanda said...

Our grandchildren have asked such questions, and my answer has been similar to yours. I don't know! But I know God is good, and I know He loves us and has given us all things to enjoy...pets be one of those, and heaven knows, Don and I are pet lovers too. I cannot remember a time in our almost 50 years of marriage that we didn't have at least one, and in many cases several pets. They were all speical. And I had a black cocker Spaniel from a little girl through High School. I have love so many pets and think your article is perfect for the subject.

Autumn Leaves said...

Chris, you always give such wonderful teachings and I so treasure them.

snafu said...

As a child, I always wanted to know what the lion would eat when it became friends with the lamb.

ChrisJ said...

It will be a vegetarian, Snafu, as all animals and people were until after Noah.

kaybee said...

Snafu - you are hilarious!

Really interesting post, Chris!

photowannabe said...

Great thoughts today and I agree with your answers. I especially like the ending about finding the One who does know the answer and that He knows my needs.

Morning's Minion said...

This is such a sensible and heart-warming response to this perennial question.
I agree with all that you have written and would add that I comfort myself by thinking that perhaps the personalitites and cunning traits of my best loved pets will somehow be combined in an animal or two who will compainion me in the "earth made new."
Having given us animals to name, to gentle, to love and be responsible for in this life, I rather think that God will somehow provide them for us again.

duopastorale said...

I know that God loves ALL His Creation and the new Creation will be even better than this one.

Unknown said...

Well even though I had read, and re-read the bible many times over and also know there is isn't any say about our beloved pets going to heaven...I still in my heart believe many are there as well as believe they also have souls too.

Good subject you posted though.