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Do Animals Go to Heaven?

The official theologically approved answer is no. The actual answer is a definite maybe. The Bible never states that animals go to heaven. So, it has been reasoned that the answer must be no. That being said, the Bible does not say that animals do not go to heaven. Therefore, to reach a reasonable conclusion to this question, let’s start by looking at the creation of man versus that of animals.

The Book of Genesis tells us that on the sixth day God created the life in the seas and in the air. God said, let the waters bring forth water creatures and the land bring forth land creatures. It also says that God gave them a blessing that they would multiply and fill the land, sea and atmosphere of the earth (Genesis 1:20-25). Then, on the same day, but after the animals were created, “… God said, Let Us make man in Our Image after Our likeness:” Then scripture tells us, “So God created man in His Own Image, in the Image of God created He him;” (Genesis 1:26-27). And then God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The term breath of life is a reference to God breathing His power or the Holy Spirit into lifeless man at which time man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7) So the earth did not bring forth Adam like it did with the animals. Instead, God personally molded Adam's body from the soil of the earth mixed with water of the earth. Then, God brought Adam's body to life by breathing His own breath of life into Adam. It was then that Adam came to life by taking in this first breath of life. But he was also, at this same time, indwelled with an immortal spirit from God.

The Molding Process of Adam From the Earth

This description of the creation of man is dramatically different from the description of how plant and animal life was created. With their creation we are told that God gave a command and the Holy Spirit caused His command to be actuated or accomplished. God then gave the plants and animals the blessing of procreation. And, God saw that these creations were good (Genesis 1:20, 22, 25). However, there is glaringly no mention of God creating these life forms in His Own Image. There is no mention that He personally formed and breathed life and an eternal soul or spirit into them as He did with Adam. And there is no mention of them being given rulership over any part of the earth. In fact, there is no mention concerning pets in scripture except for that of a lamb (II Samuel 12:3). These are incredibly important facts to be considered when attempting to deduce the eternal status of animals. Further, would all the hundreds of billions of animals that have ever lived automatically receive a resurrection and eternal life? And if so, they would over run the earth. Or perhaps only the pets of humans are resurrected? But this would be unfair to all the other animals that once lived. Last but not least, Scripture states that at death, a person’s body remains on the earth while their eternal spirit returns to God or goes down into Sheol to await judgement. But there is no mention of animals having eternal spirits. There is no mention of animals in heaven or Sheol. And, there is no mention of a resurrection of animals.

This is not to say that animas do not play an important role in the lives of mankind. While mankind was given dominion over them, there was an understating that he would rule judiciously over them and lovingly look out for their welfare. While animals were not created equal to man, they are none the less creations of God, their creation was seen as good in the eyes of God, and mankind will ultimately answer to God concerning his stewardship over them. God also does personally cares for all animals (Psalm 50: 10-11; Mathew 10: 29). God created land animals on the same day that He created mankind. This must surely be symbolic of a special relationship people are to have with the animals. And, while God created all animals, He created some as having a wild nature like the great cats while He created others to have docile dispositions like sheep. We term these animals as domesticated. Animals were created as a gift to keep man company and play an important role in the delicate balance of nature. Scripture states that good people take care of their pets (Proverbs 12:10).

The Bible tells us that with the fall of Adam into sin, all of creation also fell from its initial position. But we are also told that Christ will redeem not only mankind but also all creation (Romans 8:18-27). In fact the prophets tell us that in the coming Kingdom Age on earth, there will be animals (Isaiah 11:6-7). This prophecy tells us that there will be domesticated animals such as dogs, cats and farm animals. There will also be wild animals but they will now have gentle natures (Isaiah 65:25). This Age will be similar to the time when Adam first met with the animals in the Garden of Eden and named them (Genesis 2:20). So, we are told to expect the company of animals in the eternal earthly Ages to come.

Adam Naming Those Animals That Wandered Into & Out of the Garden

Some Bible scholars believe that only those humans who have a belief in Christ, or at least the Creator God, can receive the gift of eternal life in the presence of God. But scripture is also clear that no person will be allowed in the presence of God except they first meet with Christ who will make the final decision concerning their eternal destination. Either way, the understanding is that eternal life is only available to humans who can exhibit faith, and not an animal unconscious of its own existence. Further, Jesus died for all humanity therefore, salvation is only available to mankind. Not the angels, not the Nephilim {giants}, and apparently not the animals.

On the other hand, we are told that Jesus died for the redemption of all creation of which animals are a part. Scripture also tells us that animals have spirits (Ecclesiastes 3:26), that all flesh will see salvation (Luke 3:6), and all creatures will praise God (Revelation 5:13).

So, where does all this leave us? Well, we can confidently say that animals will be part of the new or regenerated creation brought about by Christ at both His Second Coming, and at the end of His Millennial Reign when all things will be made new (Isaiah 43:9; Revelation 21:5). At that time Christ will redeem all of creation. Thus, this will undoubtedly involve the regeneration of mankind and all other forms of life to include both animals and plants. And, since 98% of all life forms that were once on earth have gone extinct over various times and for various reasons, we can look forward to enjoying animals along with perhaps some astounding prehistoric life forms.

So what about our pets? Will they be there with us in this beatific state? The answer is a definite maybe and here’s why. First, Scripture tells us repeatedly that all things are possible with God. This means that God could easily recreate a pet. However, this new vastly improved state of existence will be astoundingly better than current conditions on earth (I Corinthians 2:9). In fact, it may well be that God allows His children to visit worlds in other galaxies throughout the vastness of space. So, with this in mind, the real question is, will we want or more importantly need anymore the solace that our pets once gave us in this current fallen world. A pet may be available, but you may not be available for a pet. Jesus was asked if couples would be married in heaven. His answer was very telling concerning the questions of pets in the afterlife. He said that people will no longer be married as they no longer need a spouse for support or the need to create children. Instead,  God will provide all their needs just as He does for the angels in Heaven (Matthew 22:29-30).

Stairway From the Earth To the Galaxies and Beyond

So, the bottom line is, it will probably never occur to a person living in eternity to need or want the companionship of an animal. Their time will be overflowing with unending and unimaginably gorgeous sights, beautiful sounds and exhilarating experiences each more wonderful than the previous one. However, should a person for some reason want an animal to accompany them, God may fill that need. But it is very doubtful that a person will require in the next life, those things that gave them needed emotional support in this life. God will supply all of a persons wants and needs such that, there will be absolutely nothing left for a person to desire (Philippians 4:19-20).

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