Will Our Pets Go To Heaven?
By: Rev. Sam Harris
Will our pets join us in heaven with the Lord? Can you provide a Scripture reference? I believe the answer is they will join us. But I am unable to find the answer in my reading of the Bible. If I am correct, this will provide much comfort to me. I am looking forward to your reply.
This is a question that often comes up with children, but adults are interested as well, so it’s a good question. We have had a couple of cocker spaniels that we wish would be in heaven with us as they were great dogs!
However, there are no Scriptural references of pets going to heaven. God created animals differently than man. A key verse is found in Genesis 1:25-27 and 2:7.
And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. Then God said: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (2:7) Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and he became a living being.
Our understanding is that we, as human beings, were made in the image of God and He gave us a soul, which the animals do not have.
Focus on the Family put out a great little book entitled “801 Questions Kids Ask About God.” In dealing with this very question (Q. 378), they write “We don’t know what happens to animals when they die, but God does, and we know that His plan is good.” The answer goes on to point out, just as I have written above, that animals don’t have souls, so they can’t enjoy God the way we can. This question may be a way of testing the reality of heaven for a child as their world is tied to a pet. We need not be afraid of simply stating that we simply don’t know what happens. When we get to heaven, the writer, concludes, God will give us everything we need to be filled with unspeakable joy.
Some food for thought: I have been asked these questions before, and we will not have the answers until we get to heaven. But think on these things:
1.Are there horses in heaven?
Consider these Scriptural references:
2 Kings 2:11—[Elijah is taken to heaven]: Then it came about as they [Elijah and Elisha] were going along and talking, that behold, here appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.
Revelation 19:11—And I [John] saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He (Christ) who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war.
Are there horses in heaven? Good question; we will have to wait and see.
2. Prophecy of Isaiah 11 as understood with Revelation 20 and 21
Revelation 20 and 21 speak of the thousand-year reign of Christ on the new earth. John said in Revelation 21:1 “And I saw a new heaven; and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth passed away….” Our understanding is that when Christ returns, He will restore the earth to what it was like before sin entered into the world. Thus we see in Isaiah 11:6-8 that “the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, 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. And the nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.”
Are we to understand this literally or symbolically? Only the Lord’s return will tell. Perhaps, during that thousand year period, there will be animals on the new earth. After that, it is in God’s hands. Hope this is helpful, and it gives us something to think about.