Animals in Heaven?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? -Matthew 6:26

This is a subject that often comes up for Christians who also happen to be animal lovers (particularly dogs). Many people say that animals are to be used or enjoyed in this life only and do not have eternal souls or any promise of life after death. Most would agree that the Bible is not clear on this subject one way or another. For those of us who love our pets, it is perhaps a matter left to hope and trust that whatever God’s plan is for our animals is best.

We must always trust that God knows what He is doing, no matter how ‘unfair’ or ‘cruel’ we might think it is. It isn’t that way at all; it simply is the way that our sovereign Lord has decided it to be.

We do know from the Bible that God cares a great deal about animals: A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel. -Prov. 12:10 (NASB) What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. -Matthew 10:29 (NLT) “For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. “I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine. -Psalm 50:10-11 (NASB)

Certainly there is plenty of proof that God cares about animals, but nothing is really said [apparently] about whether or not we will see them after this life. Sure, on the new Earth the Bible speaks of lions and lambs together, etc. But that does not necessarily mean they will be the loving dog or cat we knew while in this earthly life.

Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe produced a video detailing why they believe we will see our beloved pets again. One of the points he makes is that we should encourage each other in hope. I would encourage you to remember that, when we are spending eternity with God, the most important, all-consuming thing will be our worship and adoration of the Lord. On the other hand, there may well be time for other things such as loving our friends, animals and other beautiful things.

The reason I am spending so much time on this subject is that it is once again fresh on my mind. We lost a very dear pet two days ago, a sweet little character named Martha who was an apricot Toy Poodle. She was a couple months shy of fourteen and had been sick since before last January with kidney failure, a heart murmur and (we think) cancer. We did what we could to keep her as long as we could, while still maintaining some activity, appetite and a relatively pain-free life. Once that changed, we had the severely difficult task of taking her for her last vet ride. One could tell that she was ready. It was us that were not ready to let her go. Would it have been easier with some biblical certainty that we would see her again in the new Earth? I think that is safe to say. Did we have that? Sadly, no. What we do have is some biblical assurance that she mattered to God. That is something wonderful and will have to be enough as we move forward in our lives.

At least, when it comes to our own salvation and promise of eternity, we can be sure. The Bible tells us that God so loved the world that he gave His only-begotten Son. We know that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Do you have that blessed assurance? For your sake, I truly hope so.

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