The “Fido in Heaven” crowd got some encouragement this week when a new study by three North Carolina State University professors confirms that if one believes in life after death he probably also believes that animals also go to Heaven. However, please note that such a study proves nothing other than people’s desire to have pets in Heaven. The beliefs of pet owners do not change the facts about pets and Heaven.
It seems many people are more concerned about their pets going to Heaven than whether they are going to Heaven!
I don’t want to be misunderstood about my position because I always had a dog when I was a boy. I know the camaraderie one can have with a pet. Of course, they should never be tortured although this generation has gone to extremes in building elaborate houses for pets, expensive clothes, jewelry, and even burying them in pet cemeteries after an elaborate funeral. I think that is excessive but it is none of my business how one spends his money.
The above is my opinion, now for some facts about pets and Heaven.
There is plenty of evidence that animals have performed amazing feats of saving lives, working as drug sniffers, and even “bird dogging” cancer. Of course, the daily invaluable service that dogs do for the blind and disabled is sterling.
All that said, such good deeds do not qualify pets for Heaven. Since people can’t get to Heaven by good works, we can be sure animals will not! Fido, Fluffy, and Felix may be lovable and worthy pets but they will not be in Heaven.
Two Evangelicals have written a book that posits the possibility that pets do go to Heaven! They state, “It [animals in Heaven] seems to be one of the biggest secrets in Christianity that our Western mindset has made it difficult to discuss what people in other countries as well as theologians down through time believed to be an important and theological question.” Well, in the overall scheme of things, pets in Heaven is not a major concern nor is it an “important and theological question.”
We are assured that “celebrated theologians and philosophers…concluded a long time ago based on these Scriptures that our pets most likely will be in heaven.” The authors reveal that Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, and others believed animals would be in Heaven. However, theologians and philosophers are not Heaven’s gatekeepers.
Then the authors do some bait and switch when they declare, “there are plenty of verses in Scripture indicating the presence of animals in the coming kingdom of God.” Note the use of “kingdom of God” rather than Heaven. Then they call on Isaiah for help but without success. They go to Isaiah 11 where the wolf lies with the lamb and the calf and bear feed together and a child leads them. However, a sharp teen at a Bible preaching church knows that passage refers to the Millennial Kingdom, not to Heaven.
The authors continued in their downward spiral: “The prophet Isaiah is famous for this future glimpse depicting people dwelling with animals, whose aggressive nature will have been reprogrammed and tamed by God in the kingdom.” Again, the animals are “reprogrammed” for the Kingdom–not Heaven.
In desperation for support, the authors seek to make the symbolism in Revelation of animal faces a justification for the possibility of pets in Heaven. Real stretch! They continued their desperate reach by using God’s concern for sparrows in Matthew 10:29 (which is to show how much He cares for humans) as proof that pets will be in Heaven. So if sparrows are in Heaven then our pets are also; however, just because God chose to use sparrows to express His concern for humans does not prove there will be animals in Heaven.
We are assured that there are pets in Heaven because God spared Nineveh (Jonah 4:11) because of so many people and cattle; however, God sparing people and cattle is no reason to suggest that cattle, crows, and crocodiles go to Heaven! Or mice, monkeys, and moose (or is that meese?).
We are told that there are numerous horses in Heaven and “His Son, Jesus, will even return someday on one such horse.” About those horses in Heaven: Have they always been there? Moreover, who is cleaning out the heavenly stables at this time? Backslidden Methodists? Were horses taken there from earth upon their demise? If so, do all horses go to Heaven? What about donkeys, dogs, and dinosaurs? And yes, the Bible teaches that Christ will return on a white horse and if that is a literal horse, which the text seems to indicate, does that mean pets go to Heaven? Could not horses be created when needed?
Another writer champions pets in Heaven because God told Adam to name the animals and did not tell him to name the vegetation! No, I don’t think the writer was a theologian. Adam giving names to animals says nothing about pets in Heaven. “But Adam was not told to name the plants.” No, but it is reasonable for animals to have names or people would have said, “Be careful, don’t step on that long, slimy thing on the path.” Or, “It is time for me to go milk the ‘what-do-you-call-it.’” Or, “I think I will go for a ride on the beast that gallops and eats apples like Adam and Eve.’” Or, be careful or you will get stung by that flying ‘thingamajig.’”
Do only “nice” animals go to Heaven and nasty animals such as tigers, tarantulas, and termites go to Hell? I’m sure most people would agree that if there is an afterlife for animals then rattlesnakes and mosquitoes go to Hell.
God breathed into man not animals and Ecclesiastes 3:21, states: “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit (breath) of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” Humans and animals have different “breaths.”
Sorry, but there are no Poodles in Paradise, just people (and angelic beings) saved by the grace of God!
Boys’ new book Muslim Invasion: The Fuse is Burning! was published recently by BarbWire Books; to get your copy of Muslim Invasion, click here. An eBook edition is also available.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.