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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Will Dogs and Cats be in Heaven?


Will Dogs and Cats be in Heaven?



Yesterday was a very bad day – one of the worst!  Our dog, Pierre died yesterday- a very bad day!  Pierre was a 40 pound white curly haired poodle with floppy ears and a happy teddy bear face. He loved to chase cats and bark at the mailman. When we would come home from work or errands Pierre was always right there to greet us, jumping up and down with joy and wagging his curly tail. All of life was exciting for Pierre and he would leap around greeting each new day with enthusiasm.


 Pierre was our spoiled baby.  He would jump in my husband’s lap and lick his face and growl to be petted.  He would follow my husband around and crouch under his feet when he was working at his desk or sitting at the dinner table.  And he would follow me from room to room often attracting my attention by stealing one of my socks and running away with it in his mouth.  I could never sit down and watch television without having to pet Pierre.  He would sit next to me and growl or paw at me if I stopped petting him even for a minute.


Pierre has been our dog for seven years.  It was September 2006 when we stopped by the local Humane Society to look at all the animals that were up for adoption.  And that was when we found Pierre, abandoned by his first owner and sitting with his back turned away from us chewing on his feet.  One glance at him and we were hooked.  When we brought him home his excitement knew no bounds.  He loved his new home and he and our other dog, Prissy became best pals and he loved both of us with all his heart.   


But Pierre had tummy problems from the very start.  He threw up his food and patches of his skin would turn red and his fur would fall out.  The vetenarian ran blood tests and insisted that everything looked normal.  We bought special organic food for Pierre and cooked him special dishes.  And the vet gave us special prescription creams for his skin.  These measures kept his problems under control. 


But then a month ago Pierre had a check-up and the vet called back to tell us that his blood work showed that his kidney function was a little low.  He gave Pierre some meds and we were to come back in two weeks for another blood panel.  Pierre got better on his meds and we prayed for him and were hopeful. 


But then a week ago Pierre started crying and stopped eating.  We rushed him back to the Animal Hospital where he was put on I.V. fluids and given special meds.  For a few days he seemed to get better but then his failing kidneys just shut down.  And without his kidneys functioning, his insides fell apart and he started bleeding internally.  He cried and vomited and writhed around in terrible pain.  It broke my heart to see him in such agony. There was nothing more the vet could do and we sat there numb and helpless before our dying dog.     


We knew the humane thing to do was to put Pierre out of his misery, so we held him and loved him and talked to him and cried as the vet gave him a shot to put him to sleep.  And then when he was finally asleep and anesthetized, the vet came back bringing another shot that would stop his heart from beating.  We left the room before this final shot was given as we couldn’t bear to watch him die. 


Our house seems cold and empty now without our Pierre and his big personality.  And our other dog Prissy misses her best buddy and she hides in the corner looking sad.  I try to go on with my life but all I feel like doing is crying.  Where did my Pierre go when he died?  This baby of mine with so much love and joy in his heart, where is he now?  Is he chasing cats in heaven now or did he turn into nothing and cease to exist when he died?   Is this wonderful dog of mine just gone forever?   


Some Bible scholars say that dogs and cats don’t have eternal souls like people do.  That since animals aren’t valuable like people are, God won’t take time to bother with them!  And He won’t put animals in the re-cycle bin and renew them.  He will just throw them on the junk pile when they die!  God only redeems people since they are important.  I wonder how these Bible scholars are so sure!  How do they know that dogs and cats don’t have souls?  Or don’t come back renewed when God makes everything new.  I don’t find these ideas written in the Bible! 


The God that I read about in the Bible is a great big God of love and mercy.  He never has been a God who just cares about the important, valuable people – like we often do!  The God in my Bible cares about the people that we don’t consider important – the unattractive people, the lost people, the least and the worst.  And if God cares so deeply about the people who aren’t important (all people are important!), I imagine He also cares about dogs and cats even if they aren’t valuable and important like we are (according to some Bible scholars!) 


If you and I love and care about our pets doesn’t God love and care about them even more?  He created them and gave them their big personalities and their meows and their wagging tails.  Don’t you think that He cares about all of His creation?  Isn’t He big enough to redeem it all as well?        


In Isaiah 65:17 God refers to creating a new heavens and a new earth in the future.  In subsequent verses the text moves back and forth from the millennial kingdom to the new earth.  And God makes clear that He will have animals living there – in both the millennial kingdom and in the new earth.  (Isaiah 65:25)  “The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food and they will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain.”   Notice that all of the animals have been made new since they don’t do any harm to one another in this new earth.  The lion eats straw and doesn’t hurt the lamb.  God has redeemed them since they are different than they were here on earth.  Here in God’s new earth they will not ever harm or kill each other!  Can we imagine that?  


Romans 8:18-22 says that the whole creation (that includes animals) has been subject to suffering and futility and death because of human sin.  When Adam and Eve sinned against God they fell from their sinless (deathless) position.  And not only did Adam’s original sin pass to all of us – Adam’s children causing all us humans to inherit death, but Adam’s original sin also brought a curse – a fall- to the whole creation according to Scripture.  The whole creation (animals, plants, fish, the weather, etc.) groan in longing for the liberation that will come to humans, and thereby to all creation itself.(Romans 8:18-22)


Scripture says that creation (the earth and all that is in it) is under human rule (Genesis 1:28-31)   Creation (the earth and everything in it) will share the rewards of the redemption of humans just as it shared the punishment for the sin of humans.  Animals are a central part of creation, next to humans


 I believe that animals are one of the most significant parts.  Adam was called upon by God to give names only to one other part of the creation – the animals.  (Genesis 2:19-20)  That was Adam’s very first job.  Adam worked the garden, but God didn’t ask him to name the vegetation.  Clearly, the animals had certain qualities that set them above other creation.  Animals were to be special to humans, and because the first human, Adam, was ordered by God to name the animals, it makes Adam’s connection and ours with them more personal. 


Throughout the Bible we are told that God will restore His fallen creation and not leave it in its fallen state.  Of course God’s fallen creation includes animals.  Humans will be redeemed through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.  And after the great Judgment Day a sinless new earth and new heaven will be created.  If the new earth is all the best of the old earth and more then we should expect it to contain animals.  If animals were not part of the new earth, this would seem an obvious oversight.  Would God take animals away from us in heaven when He gave them to us humans for companionship and help here on earth?


God’s perfect Garden of Eden was ruined through Adam and Eve’s sin and will be restored through Christ’s reign of righteousness.  One of Christ’s names is the “Second Adam.”  (He will bring back what Adam lost)  Animals were a part of the Garden of Eden, and then they, along with all creation, were cursed through the sin of the first Adam.  Since that is true according to Scripture, wouldn’t we expect animals to be part of the new earth, made right through the virtue of Jesus Christ (the Second Adam).


So, do dogs and cats go to heaven?  Will we see our beloved pets again on the other side?  I believe that we will.  I can not picture Paradise without flowers and trees and animals. – dogs and cats.  And I believe that our gracious and loving heavenly Father cares much more about all the animals He created than we do.  When Scripture says that the whole of creation will be cleaned of sin and made new, I believe that that creation includes the animals. So yes, I think our pets will be in heaven.  What do you think?      




Some of the ideas in this blog were taken from Randy Alcorn’s article “Will there be animals in heaven? in Eternal Perspective Ministries. 

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