Do pets/animals go to heaven?
Many of us are animal lovers. In fact, there is no doubt that our lives on earth are made richer and fuller by the presence of our animals and pets. Who can resist the joyfully wagging tails that our dogs greet us with when we come home? Or the furry warmth of a purring cat on our laps on a cold night? Who can look at a magnificent horse prancing around a pasture and not be awed by his strength and majesty? Clearly, the God-given breath of life resides in animals just as it does in man (Genesis 1:30, 6:17, 7:15, 22), and God declared that His creation of animals was good (Genesis 1:25). How can we imagine, then, that heaven can be completely joyous without the presence of our pets and animals?
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The Bible does not tell us specifically whether pets/animals have "souls" or whether they will be in heaven. Mankind, created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), has the capacity to choose eternal life in heaven through the plan of God to send His Son to pay for our sins on the cross. Animals have no such choice to make, nor are they created in the image of the living God. So looking at it strictly theologically, animals will not be in heaven because they do not have the capacity to choose or reject the only access to heaven—Jesus Christ. However, it is reasonable to say that the breath of life that exists in animals and pets has to go somewhere when they die, and many believe that it returns to the Creator. So, in that sense, the life of the animal returns to God when it leaves the animal's body. What form it takes when it returns to God, if it does, is unknown. There is no evidence in Scripture to affirm or deny this theory, but for those who have lost a pet, it provides great comfort.
There is no reason why there could not be animals on the new earth (Revelation 21:1), and the Bible does indicate that there will be animals during the millennial kingdom (Isaiah 11:6, 65:25). Whether they will include the animals and pets we knew or owned personally on earth is unknown. Most importantly, though, our joy in heaven will be complete, with or without our animals. No absence of a pet beloved on earth, or a person either for that matter, will reduce the bliss we will experience in heaven. Our joy will come from being in the presence of God and the completely sinless state in which to enjoy His fellowship. There will be no tears in heaven, not even for those who have not joined us there (Revelation 21:4). Our joy in the presence of our Lord and Savior will be complete and unimpeded for eternity.
Does the Bible tell us what Heaven is like?
Will we know our friends and family members in Heaven?
Do people in heaven look down to earth and see us?
What does the Bible say about the new heavens and the new earth?
What happens after death?
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