Most of us, at one time or another has had a favorite pet in our lives. Be it a dog, cat, horse, or even a hamster, they eventually die. We miss them, grieve for them and even wonder what happens when they pass away. The eternal question has been, “do our pets go to Heaven?”
I, too, have lost pets over the years, only cats and dogs, and have wondered the same thing. Does God provide a way for us to see them again in the hereafter? The only place that I know to search for answers is the Holy Bible, which I believe is the true account of God’s message to man, His most wonderful creation. What does the Bible say about animals? Unfortunately, it does not say much, or at least enough for us to draw any firm conclusions.
The Bible does tell us that God created everything, including animals, for His pleasure and glory. The Bible speaks of even inanimate objects, such as the sun, moon, stars, and rocks praising Him. Of course, we know these objects cannot praise God in the same way we humans can. However, they praise God by shining, and by carrying out the role God planned for them, they glorify their creator.
The main hurdle for animals going to Heaven is that of all God’s creations, human beings alone were created in God’s image. Animals were made from the same dust as humans and have the breath of life (spirit) in them as we do, but God made man and woman in His own image, and entrusted them with the responsibility of overseeing, protecting, and enjoying the rest of his creation.
Because humans can reason, we are able to make intelligent and moral decisions, whereas animals cannot. God did not make animals with the ability to choose right or wrong, to accept or reject salvation. Only humans were given the ability to reason. So, we can say that the plan of salvation was designed for human beings and not animals. In order for one to be saved and go to Heaven one has to believe in Jesus. But animals cannot exercise saving faith in Jesus.
With all of that said, it would appear that our faithful pets cannot get into Heaven. However, the Bible does teach that when Jesus returns and sets up his earthly kingdom, there will be animals. Isaiah, chapter 11, talks about the wolf dwelling with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid. The calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. This sounds like we will have pets in Heaven, does it not?
There are others who believe that our animals do go to Heaven and will be there to greet us when we arrive. Randy Alcorn in his book titled “Heaven” believes that animals will be present in the Kingdom of Heaven. He bases his belief on the fact that a pet’s love is so completely unconditional. They don’t care what your day was like, what went wrong at work, what your mood is when you come home. They are always ready to jump up into your lap and are so full of joy at seeing you that they display this love in their actions. Alcorn believes that God will allow our pets to go to Heaven because, as the Bible says, “God is love.”
Dogs have been called “miracles with paws” and “a heartbeat at my feet”, and we all know that dog spelled backwards is g-o-d. There is an old saying that the day God made a dog, he just sat down and smiled. There’s an older saying by Native Americans that, “God made the earth, the sky, and the water, the moon, and the sun. He made man and bird and beast. But He didn’t make the dog. He already had one.” For most dog owners, it wouldn’t be Heaven if their dog isn’t there.
Mark Twain wrote, “Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”
So, what do we make of all this? Well, I’m trusting Billy Graham on this one. He said, “God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in Heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he’ll be there.” We do not know all the details of what God is preparing for us in Heaven, but we do know that it will be far beyond anything we can imagine because it’s in the Bible. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor. 2:9)
My best advice is for us is to love our pets and enjoy them while they are here with us, and trust God in everything for the future. He sees and knows all, and nothing is too hard for him to do. So, Slick, Curley, Sitka, Mama Cat, and Miss Kitty, maybe we will be getting to pet you again some day when we get there.