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Do pets go to heaven when they die?


Thank you for your question. What a blessing God’s creatures are to us all.

I have been a pet owner for most of my life. Dogs and cats mostly, although I take joy in many different creatures. The delight and comfort that various animals have brought me personally has been remarkable and I am very thankful for them all.

What may seem strange and even offensive to us is that in some parts of the world, the animals we have as pets are eaten by others for food. There is a serious point here, in that how can something which we could eat appear in heaven with us? Could this mean, for example, that every cow, sheep and pig, treated as pets by some, go to heaven when they are killed for our food?

In Genesis 1 we see that on the sixth day God created all the living creatures of earth. For God to have created so many varieties of these creatures to inhabit this wonderful world is evidence that He too delights in them. He created these sentient beings with 'personalities' and differing levels of intelligence, all for our good pleasure. 

We can see throughout the Bible and especially in the book of Job, that God delights in the created creatures and cares for them. The Bible also tells us that certain angelic beings bear resemblances similar to certain aspects of created creatures from the animal Kingdom, both winged and otherwise. Again, this is evidence of God’s delight in animals and their design. 

Biblically speaking however, animals do not appear to possess a connected eternal spirit/soul as we do. In other words, unlike humans, each animal creature, from the point of their creation to their death is transitory in their existence rather than eternal.

In being transitory they are, by Divine command, subservient to mankind, being utilitarian in food and clothing and even some of them were authorised for use in acceptable sacrifices to God. People are created in the image of God and are eternal from their point of creation onwards. So much so, that we never find in the Bible a human being put to death for the death of an animal, but we do see animals being put to death for causing the death of a person who is made in the image of God.

When God commanded that we are to rule over the creatures of the earth (Genesis 1:26), this of course does not mean that we have the right to cruelly neglect or abuse the animal Kingdom. No, such disrespect is proof of fallen humanity rather than any divinely authorised misuse of God’s creatures.

Will there be animals in the New Creation which Christ will usher in when he returns? If passages such as Isaiah 11:6-9 are to be taken literally, then the answer is yes. However, whether they will be our pets and know them by name, we are not sure. 

Nevertheless, I know Jesus ate fish, and at least once a year was partial to a little roast lamb. I know He rode on a donkey. I know He shall yet come with clouds descending, riding on a mighty white warhorse; I know His throne is surrounded by composite and fantastic creatures. I know He delights in His creation and calls them all good.

We can say that God gets excited about His fantastic creation and that He has entrusted it to us, to use it, to utilise it, to tend it and especially, to respect it. But will my pet be in an eternal heaven along with an eternal me? Would they even want to be? Although ultimately the Bible is silent on this specific issue, it is clear that God cares about us and about animals. 

A righteous man regards the life of his animal.
(Proverbs 12:10)

Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:

  • Genesis 1:26
  • Genesis 9:3
  • Genesis 9:5
  • Leviticus 24:21 
  • Job 40:15-21
  • Ezekiel 1:10-12

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*Taken From The New King James Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

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