You talk about a question that stirs up people’s feelings and pulls at people’s heartstrings! This is it. This is a huge question for animal lovers and pet owners; but even for most people who don’t own a pet, most feel our world is enriched by the presence of animals – dogs and cats running around, or seeing squirrels and chipmunks playing out in the yard.
I mean, who doesn’t love Lassie or Flipper? Few people would argue that our world is better with pets and animals. Most would agree that God was onto a good idea when He created animals.
However, this begs the question as to whether they are in heaven. It is clear that God thought enough of their natures to include them in the creation of our world and that He clearly understood from the beginning both their usefulness and their enrichment to us.
Pet owners get it that their lives are dramatically better with their furry, or even not so furry friends. In fact, many people would prefer to spend time with their pets than most people they know. For many people who live alone, their pets are their lifeline to happiness and contentment. So we understand their value here on earth, but what about heaven. Will they be there?
First, while scripture doesn’t answer this question definitively, it does seem to indicate strongly that animals will be there based on the deduction from scripture that animals will be in the restored Eden or “new world” that God is yet to create.
It is reasonable to think that if they were included in the original creation and are of such value in this world, that they will be included in the world to come.
Again, because everything is veiled on this side of eternity to our minds and souls, we can’t say for certainty if our particular pets will be there to share eternity with us. I for one definitely hope so and think so. But far greater thinkers and apologists also concur.
For example, Peter Kreeft, Hank Hanegraaff and C.S. Lewis to name a few are not only convinced that animals in general, but pets in particular, will be restored in the new heavens and the new earth. It seems that if God resurrected our pets it would be in total keeping with His overwhelming grace and goodness. 1
Some argue that either animals don’t have a soul or that their souls aren’t redeemable. That said, it seems that there is enough evidence in scripture to suggest that animals have a soul, that they are beloved by God, and that they are clearly a part of His new heaven and new earth.
As one person put it upon the death of his pet dog, “If this dog weren’t in heaven with me, it wouldn’t be heaven.” Perhaps this sentiment isn’t just a human one, but a divine one!
I’m counting on the fact that animals in general, and my cherished pets in particular, will all be in heaven with me! How about you?