TITLE: Animals in Heaven?
By Clyde Blakely
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Animals in Heaven?
We recently lost another pet to death. An experience shared by many. Love of a pet which dies tears at the heart so.
As Christians we are comforted by the fact we will see loved ones in Heaven if they know Jesus as their Saviour. But what happens to animals when they die? Do they go to Heaven? I don’t know. I’ve struggled with this question for some time. Are there animals in Heaven? I think the answer to this is “yes”; for several reasons.
There were animals in Eden, there are animals here now, there will be animals in the Millennial Kingdom as we see in Isaiah chapter 65 (the lamb and wolf eating together, a lion eating straw, not other animals, etc.), and we do see some animals in Heaven. John in his book of Revelation sees horses. Many things John sees in Heaven were described as “like unto”, “had the appearance of”, “resembled”, even when describing “beasts” around the throne of God (chapter 4) but when it came to the horses he used no adjectives – he called them horses as in chapter 19,verse 11 and also the four horses of the apocalypse.
Now, I know this does not mean that there are other animals in Heaven. But if there were animals in Eden, animals here, animals in the Millennial Kingdom, and horses in Heaven, why not other animals? God loves animals too.
But the passage which I think holds the greatest hope for animal lovers is Romans 8:18-22: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy (to be compared) with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God (us). For the creation was made subject to vanity (death, decay, corruption), not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, because creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. (my wording but translates the same)
What does this mean? When man sinned in the Garden of Eden all of creation was changed. It was no longer perfect. It began to decay. There was no death, anywhere, before man disobeyed God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We now know the difference between good (God) and evil, including the death of pets and all evil things of this world. We better know Who God is by experiencing evil and the grace, mercy, love, goodness and tender care of our God. How else would we have known Him in this way without the knowledge of evil and good? But the passage says all of creation will be delivered from this bondage – all of creation! I think that includes animals, they are part of creation.
Does this mean there will be animals in Heaven? I hope so. Does it mean we will see our old pets there? I don’t know. I hope so. Yes, I know the argument that Jesus died to save us and not animals because they can’t make that type of decision. But they didn’t make that decision in the Garden either and they suffered the consequences. The Roman passage indicates the suffering of creation will be reversed when this age of suffering is over and we are all in heaven.
If there are animals in heaven, perhaps even our own pets, the only way we will be able to see them is to be there ourselves!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16
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