We get very attached to our pets. Wouldn't it be nice if there were with us in heaven? Many people speculate that since our loving animals are a good thing that God would include them in heaven. The Bible does not directly address the issue of dogs and cats in heaven, but I think we can get a reasonably accurate answer from what it does say about heaven. So, before we can address the issue of pets, we need to go over some basic information about heaven and its purpose.
Why are we here on earth?
The Bible indicates that God created this universe for the purpose of choosing or rejecting Him. God has given us good things in this universe (including husbands, wives, children, food, and pets). Everything has a purpose - most of which is to teach us about love, and the difference between good and evil. God's plan for the universe is to allow a large number1 of spiritual beings (both angels and humans) to choose to spend eternity with Him.2 At the appointed time, God will destroy the present universe3 and create an entirely new universe, which is heaven.4
The purpose of heaven
The purpose of heaven is to reward those who love God and want to live with Him forever.5 Contrary to popular opinion, entry into heaven is not based upon one's good works (e.g., good works exceed the evil deeds), but upon acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of one's life.6 Those who cannot agree to God's terms are not allowed into heaven, since there will be no evil or rebellion tolerated there.7 By accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, we give Him permission to change us into perfect beings in the heaven.8 However, we do not enter heaven with our old, physical bodies. The Bible says that we are given new, "spiritual bodies" to house our souls, since our temporary, physical bodies are not suitable in heaven.9 Once admitted into heaven, we are rewarded on the basis of their good deeds.5
How do pets fit in?
Throughout the Bible, there is no mention of pets running around in heaven. The only creatures described in heaven are angels and humans. The Bible indicates that God is a spirit.10 Angels are also spiritual beings. This is why humans take on a spiritual body so that we can be with God and the angels. However, animals are non-spiritual beings. The higher animals (including the ones we usually choose as pets) are soulish creatures, which is why they can relate to us. However, they lack a spirit, which we humans have, so that their fate is different from ours:
Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the beast, which goes down to the earth? (Ecclesiastes 3:21)11
So, it seems very likely that we won't be seeing our pets in heaven. It probably is not the answer you wanted to hear, since we become very attached to our pets. However, heaven is a very different place than life here on earth. So, although we will likely see our spouse in heaven, we will not be married to her/him. We might not even be eating and drinking in heaven!12 So, is God going to remove all the good things we enjoy on earth in heaven? When Jesus was explaining heaven to others, He used parables to "picture the kingdom of God". What does this picture look like? Jesus compares the extremely small mustard seed (representing life on earth) to the full grown mustard plant (representing heaven).13 Specifics about heaven aren't given, probably because we could not understand what it was like from our earthly perspective. In fact, the Bible says that we can't even imagine what God has prepared for those who love Him.14 We are promised that the new things of heaven will bring great joy and peace,12 and that God will "wipe every tear from our eyes."15 So, although losing our pets on earth is sad for us, we can be certain that we will have great joy and peace in heaven, since God Himself will fulfill our needs.
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25:23)
- What Will Heaven be Like?
- Going to Heaven Are We?
- Will There be Marriage in Heaven?
- What Will Hell be Like?
- A Loving God Would Not Send Billions of People to Hell, Would He?
- How to Go to Heaven .org
- After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God. (Revelation 7:9-11)
- In Jesus' parable of the banquet, the master of the house (representing God) invited a large number of guests. Most of the invited guests made excuses and did not want to go to the banquet (representing heaven). Jesus said, "Then the master [God] told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.'" (Luke 14:23)
- But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire,
kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:7)
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10)
looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! (2 Peter 3:12)
"For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished." (Matthew 5:18)
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (Mark 13:31)
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (Luke 21:33)
And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, "YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN." And this expression, "Yet once more," denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:26-27)
- "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former
things shall not be remembered or come to mind. (Isaiah 65:17)
But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:13)
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. (Revelation 21:1)
- "May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the
God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge." (Ruth 2:12)
"The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. (2 Samuel 22:21)
The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. (Psalm 18:20)
And men will say, "Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely there is a God who judges on earth!" (Psalm 58:11)
The wicked earns deceptive wages, But he who sows righteousness gets a true reward. (Proverbs 11:18)
Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him And His recompense before Him. (Isaiah 40:10)
But I said, "I have toiled in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity; Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the LORD, And My reward with My God." (Isaiah 49:4)
Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth, Say to the daughter of Zion, "Lo, your salvation comes; Behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him." (Isaiah 62:11)
"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:12)
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1)
"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. (Matthew 6:2)
so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:4)
"But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)
so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:18)
"He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. "And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward." (Matthew 10:41-42)
"For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward. (Mark 9:41)
"Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. (Luke 6:23)
"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. (Luke 6:35)
Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. (1 Corinthians 3:8)
knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. (Colossians 3:24)
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. (2 John 1:8)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, (1 Peter 1:3-4)
"And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth." (Revelation 11:18)
"Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12)
- "Therefore everyone who confesses Me [Jesus] before
men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. "But whoever
denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in
heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)
and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)
- "For I say to you that unless your righteousness
surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom
of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. (Matthew 7:21)
- But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, (Hebrews 12:22-23)
- So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
- "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24)
- Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?" (Ecclesiastes 3:19-21)
- for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
- And He said, "How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? "It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR can NEST UNDER ITS SHADE." (Mark 4:30-32)
- but just as it is written, "THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM." (1 Corinthians 2:9)
- for the Lamb [Jesus Christ] in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:17)
We are what we think.
- 03/07/2014 02:30 AM
Quote of the Week: John 15:26
But when the Helper [3rd] comes, whom I [2nd] will send to you from the Father [1st], the Spirit [3rd] of truth, who proceeds from the Father [1st], he will bear witness about me [2nd]. — John 15:26, ESV
- 03/04/2014 02:52 AM
“Son of God:” Representing the Bible on Screen
With the release of the Jesus biopic Son of God in theatres last week, this is a great time to engage in a conversation with others about the historical basis of Jesus. For those of you considering whether to see … Continue reading
- 02/28/2014 02:28 AM
Quote of the Week: St. Augustine
In your great wisdom you, who are our God, speak to us of these things in your Book, the firmament made by you. — St. Augustine, Confessions (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1992), book XIII, section 18, 326.
- 02/25/2014 02:44 AM
Music Points to a Creator
This February marked the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ arrival in America. My article “Beatlemania Plus 50: Can Christians Appreciate the Fab Four?” explored these musicians’ religious views and how believers can navigate choices in popular entertainment. The Beatles in … Continue reading
- 02/21/2014 03:27 PM
Quote of the Week: Restless Heart
The man doesn’t find the truth the truth finds the man. — Bishop Ambrose to Augustine, from the movie Restless Heart (Ignatius Press, 2013)
- 02/18/2014 02:52 AM
Reflections on a War Movie: Lone Survivor
I’ve seen most of the war movies made over the last seventy years (see “Ken’s Top 50 World War II Films”). I rank Band of Brothers, the 10-part miniseries produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks about the real-life heroism … Continue reading
- 02/14/2014 02:49 AM
Quote of the Week: Paul Helm
The classical Christian theologians, Augustine of Hippo, say, or Aquinas or John Calvin, each took it for granted that God exists as a timelessly eternal being. They accepted it as an axiom of Christian theology that God has no memory, … Continue reading
- 02/11/2014 02:01 AM
Beatlemania Plus 50: Can Christians Appreciate the Fab Four?
This month marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first trip to America. I remember how depressed my family was following President Kennedy’s assassination, but how excited my siblings and I were to see The Beatles on our black-and-white television … Continue reading
- 02/07/2014 04:01 PM
Quote of the Week: Louis P. Pojman
In a sense, philosophy is just hard thinking about the important issues of life. — Louis P. Pojman, Philosophy: The Pursuit of Wisdom (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1994),12.
- 02/04/2014 02:36 AM
From the Critical Thinker’s Toolbox: How Do Nonrational Factors Impact Thinking?
Various factors influence a person’s beliefs about reality and truth—some of the factors are rational (consistent with reason), some irrational (in conflict with reason), and some nonrational (not based upon reason). Just because a person is not persuaded by a … Continue reading
Last Modified December 29, 2006