Do Pets Go To Heaven?

Do Pets Go To Heaven?

Written By Martha Anderson

Do Pets Go To Heaven?

Many discussions relating to pet loss come to the question – are there pets in Heaven? You may have asked it yourself or, perhaps, you may have wondered how to answer when your child asks it. Lengthy articles have been written on both sides of the discussion. An ABC News poll showed that surprisingly few, just 47% of pet owners believed the answer was yes (35% said “no”). Most discussions of this question turn into scripture based contests, addressing the issue of whether animals have “souls,” can be “redeemed,” etc. The problem is, scripture does not offer a definitive answer to this issue.

There is a reason for this.  It’s not simply God’s perverse decision to leave thousands of pet owners in the dark. The reason is that the Bible is about human redemption; it’s an instruction manual about the choices humans must make. If pets go to heaven, however, it isn’t due to anything you or I do to get them there — so perhaps it is no surprise that the Bible contains no opinion on the matter. This lack of opinion, does not mean a negative answer, however. The Bible is silent on a great many things, leaving us with a number of questions that we must explore and resolve using the hearts and minds that God gave us seeking an answer that is rooted, not in theology and doctrine, but in logic and love.

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Would It Be Heaven Without Fido?

Would heaven be a wonderful place – would it truly be paradise if our pets weren’t there? For many, the answer is no and obviously, God knows this! Placing restrictions on what can or can’t be in heaven is a fruitless exercise, much like debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin; no one has brought back a report, and sooner or later we’re all going to find out anyway. In the interim, we are free to imagine whatever we choose.

However, there are many who feel that it is important to be right about everything, especially everything spiritual – that there is no room for spiritual error. These are the folks, I suspect, who argue most loudly and angrily against the concept of pets in heaven. And there are certainly many issues on which, for a Christian, there is no wiggle room for debate. Where the answer matters, the answer is given. If the answer is not given, then it is quite possible that the answer doesn’t really matter i.e. there is no penalty for being wrong.

If you believe that pets go to heaven, and this turns out to be incorrect, there’s no penalty. Such a belief will not doom anyone to Hell. It is not a salvation issue. Nor are you at risk of leading someone else astray if you allow them to hold such a belief. If, for example, you are concerned about allowing a child to believe something you think is an error, ask yourself whether harbouring such a belief is more damaging to that child’s faith than, say, believing that God does not share or respect that child’s love for her pet, or care about their grief.

Making a Choice

So what’s the bottom line here? Do they or don’t they go to heaven? Every argument that I’ve offered in favour of pets going to heaven could be used to argue the opposite view. The key is not to seek a definitive answer, because there is none. The key is this: On this particular issue, where the Bible is silent, you have the right to choose the answer that feels true to you, that comforts and consoles you. You do not need to accept someone else’s view. When God is silent about an issue, that issue is left to each of us to decide, in our own hearts and with our own minds. Don’t let someone else add to your grief by trying to make up your mind for you!

Isaiah 11:6, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” (This sounds as if we will have pets in heaven, does it not?)

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