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Do Pets Go To Heaven

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Tina S
Tina S
Jan 20, 2010
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Religion


 

One of life’s greatest joys is having a pet. They bring so much happiness, companionship and enjoyment that we can’t imagine life without them.

This question probably enters the mind of every pet owner, especially when they lose a beloved pet companion. We had a pet that have personalities and feelings, and can imagine and reason. It seems as though whatever it is that makes each pet unique (a soul) is like that which makes each human unique. Therefore, we wonder if pets (or any other animals) go to heaven.

In the past few decades, scientists have proven beyond any doubt that some species of animals possess intelligence. Porpoises and whales can communicate with other members of their species through audible language. Dogs and cats can be trained to do relatively complex tasks. Gorillas have even been taught to form simple sentences using sign language. Horses can be well trained for race and for pushing crafts.
 
Animal rights activists point to this intelligence to claim that all creatures have equal rights to life and to certain treatment. Some activists even bristle when someone says they own a pet. They prefer the term "caretaker."
 
But does animal intelligence constitute a soul? Does a pet’s emotions and ability to relate to human beings mean that animals possess an immortal spirit that will survive after death?
 
Theologians say no. They point out that man was created superior to animals and that animals can’t be equal with him.
 
Christians tend to find this question particularly difficult, because we want to base "answers" to any spiritual question on the authority of the Bible. 

What animals do not have, that we humans do possess, is the power of free will in making daily choices; other than this, there is no difference between us. Animals do only what God requires they do, the things He designed them to do; which is a lot more than can be said for the human race: unless, of course, man intervenes by forcing a different behavior upon an animal. Even then, our small and great creatures continuously strive to do as God intended. As He instructed us to obey our human masters, so animals obey their human masters; even when contrary to their nature.

Job 12:10 and Psalm 150:6 could not be more concise in answering our question— “In God’s hand is the soul of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord. You praise the Lord.”

And God said, Let us make man in our image, 1 Cor. 11.7 after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26, KJV)
 
Most interpreters of the Bible assume that man’s likeness to God and animals’ subservience to man implies that animals may have the "breath of life," nephesh in Hebrew, but not an immortal soul in the same sense as man’s.
 
Again the Garden of Eden was populated by animals, thus there is a precedent for believing that Eden restored will also be populated by animals. Both man and animals have spirits (Ecles. 3:21). Man’s spirit will live on for eternity in one place or another. Man has no advantage over animals in regards to death and having a spirit (Ecls. 3:19 ). 
 
They both die. While spirit is eternal, there is no mention about animals having an eternal spirit. But they certainly have a spirit, but the Bible does not say that they will live on forever (Ecles. 3:21).

Also, silence on the subject doesn't mean a negative answer either. The Bible is silent on many things, leaving us with a number of questions that we must explore and resolve using the hearts and minds that God gave us -- seeking an answer that's rooted, not in theology and doctrine, but in reason, love, and our personal experiences with God.

In Leviticus, God instructs Moses on animals that are suitable for sacrifice:
 
"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, [even] of the herd, and of the flock." (Leviticus 1:2, KJV)

Later in that chapter God includes birds as acceptable offerings and adds grains as well. Except for the consecration of all firstborn animals in Exodus 13, we do not see the sacrifice of dogs, cats, horses, mules or donkeys in the Bible. Dogs are mentioned many times in Scripture but cats are not. Perhaps that’s because they were favorite pets in Egypt and were associated with pagan religion.

God prohibited the killing of man ("You shall not murder," Exodus 20:13) but he placed no such restriction on the killing of animals. Man is made in God’s image, so man must not kill one of his own kinds.
 
Animals, it would seem, are different from man. If they do have a "soul" that survives death, it is different from man’s. It does not need redemption. Christ died to save the souls of human beings, not animals.

As True Christians™, we can only speculate why God doesn't find it necessary to populate heaven with dogs, cats, cows, chickens and other creatures. Most likely it is because we won't need food when we get to Heaven. 
 
Using Bible logic, we have to assume that there are going to be a whole mess of folks in Hell and most of them will be Chinese, since they never had the luxury of hearing about Jesus. People in hell will need food to sustain them through an eternity of torture at the hands of the loving God they rejected. 
 
However, there are many who feel that it is important to be "right" about everything, especially everything spiritual -- that there is no room for spiritual "error." These are the folks, I suspect, who argue most loudly and angrily against the concept of pets in heaven. And there are certainly many issues on which, for a Christian, there is no "wiggle room" for debate. Where the answer matters, the answer is given. If the answer is not given, then it is quite possible that the answer doesn't really matter -- i.e., there is no penalty for being "wrong."
 
If you believe that pets go to heaven, and this turns out to be incorrect, there's no penalty. Such a belief will not doom anyone to Hell. It is not a salvation issue. Nor are you at risk of leading someone else "astray" if you allow them to hold such a belief. If, for example, you are concerned about allowing a child to believe something you think is an "error," ask yourself whether harboring such a belief is more damaging to that child's faith than, say, believing that God does not share or respect that child's love for her pet, or care about her grief.
 

 

Author's note: Ref: 1. Rev. Pastor,Deacon Fred 2. The Holy Bible 3. Author Bonita M Quesinberry 4. Pastor Wade Martin 5. Jack Zavada, A career writer
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