Do Animals go to Heaven?

Category: The End Times 621 11

One of the best joys a person can experience in this world is an animal. God created all the different kinds of animals for his glory and for mankind’s enjoyment. Many people are touched by their pets and even grieve at their loss like they would a person. So it not wrong to ask a very important question: Do animals go to Heaven? Related to this is “will my pet be in Heaven?”

It is common today to answer no to both of these questions. Many assume that since heaven is a spiritual world then there will be nothing earthly about the afterlife. It is also commonly thought that animals do not have souls. However, as I have written about before, heaven is not a spiritual world, but is earth restored back to its original pristine condition. When Jesus returns he will restore the world back to its Eden-like condition.

If heaven is actually the earth liberated from sin and death, then a good question to ask is “will there be animals on the restored world?” As we look at Scripture carefully we will realize that there is indeed a future for animals.

Animals in Heaven

The first thing to know is that animals lived in the Garden of Eden before sin entered into the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience. This in itself suggests that animals are going to be a part of the restored world.[1] One of the best ways to understand the new heavens and new earth is to think about the world before sin (unless there is something in Scripture that specifically says something to the contrary).

Second, Romans 8:19-23 tells us that all of creation cries out to God because of sin, and hopes for the day when Christians are resurrected. On the day that Christians receive their resurrected bodies, after Christ’s second coming, creation will be liberated from suffering and death. Animals are a part of our sinful world because mankind’s rebellion against God. Animals were supposed to live in a perfect world with God and humanity. Since animals were put under man’s care they were cursed along with us. Randy Alcorn notes another passage that goes right along with Romans 8:

“In 2 Peter 3:5-7, we see a direct parallel between God’s past judgment of the earth with water and his future judgment with fire. Mankind was judged in the Flood, and on his coattails most animals perished. Eight human beings were rescued from the Flood to inhabit the new post-Flood Earth, but God didn’t limit his rescue to people. He rescued representatives of every animal species to also occupy this new Earth. This is a powerful picture of what Romans 8 states – mankind and animals and all creation are linked together not only in curse and judgment but also in blessing and deliverance. Together they will experience life on a New Earth.”[2]

Third, Scripture indicates that animals do in fact have souls. This flies directly in the face of what most people believe. The Bible says that God breathed a spirit into Adam’s body and he became a “living being” or “soul” (Genesis 2:7). The Hebrew word used for “soul” and “living being” is nephesh. This word is also used for animals! Genesis (1:30; 2:7; 6:17; and 7:15, 22) tells us that animals have “the breath of life” or “soul” (nephesh). Interestingly, whenever the Bible was translated into Greek the word used for nephesh was psyche (the Greek word for soul).[3] (As a side note, I want to clarify that this does not mean that an animal’s soul is equal to man’s soul. Man is created in God’s image. Scripture does not tell us if an animal’s soul continues to exist after death [my assumption is that it does not, but I could be wrong]. Whether it does or not, it is no trouble for God to resurrect them on the Restored World – more on that below).

There will be animals in heaven. Source for picture: http://askville.amazon.com/animals-place-heaven/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=69427908
Do Animals go to Heaven? Source for picture: http://askville.amazon.com/animals-place-heaven/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=69427908

There are other important things to note about Scripture’s teaching about animals:

1)      The Bible is clear that God cares deeply for animals. For example, when God sends Jonah to the city of Nineveh, God expresses his concern for all the cattle in the city (Jonah 4:11). He also makes sure to include animals in the Sabbath when giving Moses the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:9-10).

2)      God made humans the stewards of animals and holds us accountable for them. “The godly are concerned for the welfare of their animals” (Proverbs 12:10). Psalm 50:10-11 tells us that the animals belong to God. Be warned! If you mistreat an animal (any animal) God will hold you accountable for them since they belong to him!

3)      2 Samuel 12:1-6 tells us some very interesting information about pets in Israel:

“1 The LORD sent Nathan [the prophet] to [King] David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. 4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.” 5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

This story of the ewe lamb was actually about King David’s adultery with Bathsheba. But it is interesting to note a couple of things about it. First, the prophet Nathan chose to use a story about a pet lamb. This shows us that it would have been common for some people to have pets in Ancient Israel. If not, then David would not have understood Nathan’s story and would not have been so emotional about the incident. Second, this counters a common argument among some that it was not until the modern world that people had pets. People have had pets for thousands of years, and even King David, the man after God’s own heart, was filled with anger about someone’s mistreatment of one.

The fact is that many of the greatest theologians and ministers over the past two thousand years believed that animals would populate heaven. It wasn’t until the Enlightenment of the 1700s that “educated” people began to reject that animals had souls.[4]

Will our pets be in heaven?

First thing to note is that Christ died and resurrected for humanity. He did not die directly for animals. However, he did die indirectly for animals since creation will be liberated at the same time Christians receive their resurrected bodies at Christ’s second coming (Romans 8:21-23). One scholar said it well: “As goes mankind, so go the animals.”[5] This passage in Romans speaks about the resurrection of animals!

“If God created a new race of humans on the New Earth – rather than raising the people who had lived on the old Earth – would it fulfill the promise in Romans 8 of redemption, deliverance, and resurrection? No. Why? To have meaning, the people who are redeemed and resurrected into the new world must be the same people who suffered in the old world. Otherwise, their longing for redemption would go unmet. As mankind goes, so go the animals. If we take to its logical conclusions the parallel Paul makes between humans’ and animals’ groaning, then at least some of those animals who suffered on the old Earth must be made whole on the New Earth.”[6]

Quite simply, if the animal kingdom is going to be liberated from sin and death then it is logical to conclude that at least some of the animals that have lived in our current fallen world must be resurrected; otherwise they are not liberated from sin. It makes no sense that the animals in heaven would be brand new creations. How can brand new animals be liberated from something that they never experienced? “By resurrecting his original creation, God will show the totality of his victory over sin and death.”[7]

We must also remember that God is the giver of good gifts, not one who takes them away (Matthew 7:9-11). It is perfectly within God’s grace to give the gift of a pet that a person enjoyed while on this earth. God created animals for his and our enjoyment.[8]

What were you beliefs about animals in heaven before this article? Have they changed or stayed the same? Leave a comment below about your thoughts.


[1] Hank Hanegraaff. After Life. (Brentwood; Worthy Publishing, 2013). 45.

[2] Randy Alcorn. Heaven. (Carol Stream: Tyndale, 2004). 389.

[3] Alcorn, 388; Hanegraaff, 45.

[4] Alcorn, 388.

[5] Ibid., 398.

[6] Ibid., 397-398.

[7] Ibid., 399.

[8] Alcorn, 400; Hanegraaff, 45.

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11 thoughts on “Do Animals go to Heaven?

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  3. CGS

    To put man on equal basis as animals would not be scriptural, man was made in God’s image, with an eternal soul. Man was obviously unique in his creation, scriptures are quite clear on that.

    Reply
  4. mmcclellan2@liberty.edu

    CGS, I agree that man is unique in creation. The article does not make humans and animals equal. Please re-read what I wrote.

    Reply
  5. Charles

    I really beware of doctrinaire Bible thumpers. No dogs will be in hell. Plenty of people will be—including Bible thumpers. I’d LOVE to pick you apart about Deuteronomy 22:5, which I’d bet everything in Las Vegas—you have it wrong.

    Reply
  6. Matt McClellan

    Charles thanks for commenting. First, why are Bible thumpers in Hell? How did you come to this conclusion? Second, why did you post something about Bible thumpers and Deuteronomy 22:5 on a post about animals in Heaven? Anyway, Deuteronomy 22:5, for other readers who are reading the comments, says, “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.”

    Let’s take a look at what this verse means in its original context. Some scholars believe that it is a prohibition related to homosexuality. This makes sense given the historical-cultural context of the passage. God was bringing Israel out of one pagan culture (Egypt) and into the land of another (Canaan). God did not want the Israelites to behave in any way that the Canaanites or other pagan cultures did. For example, in the Mesopotamian cult of Ishtar, men functionaries would dress like women, wear their makeup, and even carried around the female symbol of the (spinning) spindle. This is transvestism – dressing and acting like the opposite sex.

    Although it is probable that this verse does look at the cult, there is another possibility why God condemned cross-dressing. Throughout the Old Testament Law we find rules that prohibit violations of the created order in Genesis 1. God created everything according to its kinds – animals, plants, and people. This was pronounced “very good” in the beginning and this was the way things were meant to be. Men were created a certain way, and women another (of course, both are created in God’s image). This verse then “serves for the ‘maintenance of the sanctity of the sexes’ in opposition to ‘the tendency to obliterate all sexual distinctions,’ which ‘often leads to licentiousness and promotes an unnaturalness opposed to God’s created order.’”

    To dress like the opposite sex is to infringe on the natural order in which God created. Men are men and women are women. This blurring of the natural order is seen in the literary structure of 22:5-12. Verse 5 speaks about dress; verses 6-7 are about animals; verse 8 is about the home. Verses 9-12 then parallel the verses I just spoke about – verse 9 is about the field (home); verse 10 animals; and verses 11-12 are about dress. Notice that verse 11 is about forbidden mixtures.

    Deuteronomy 22:5 tells us to be the person we were created to be – whether that is male or female. (source: Richard Davidson’s Flame of Yahweh. Pages 170-172.)

    Reply
    1. Charles

      I don’t see you have any qualifications to expound on the Bible. You show no common sense! You KNOW some Bible thumpers will be in hell except you haven’t caught on about Matthew 25 and other passages. Lots of church people will skid downstairs. I now state—you will be one of them, unless you get some common sense! Deut 22:5 is addressing Hebrews—not the church today. No one is raving about mixed fabric garments being sinful—yet—chapter 22 also so states! The last verse in 22 mentions a man wearing a skirt—same as Psalms 133. You are just a simpleton reading Deut. through the eyes of people’s current habits. Did Jesus not understand Deut? In Luke 7 Jesus says the centurion had the greatest faith. That soldier was wearing a skirt—not “cross-dressing.” If a skirt is only for women, Jesus would have known it was against Deut 22. You are the biggest simpleton I’ve seen in years. By embracing psychiatry (“transvestism”) you are embracing antichrist doctrine—nearly no psychiatrist accepts Bible teachings on resurrection, damnation etc. Deut 22:5 can fairly be taken to ban opposite sex impersonation, because impersonation is dishonest. That does NOT mandate different clothes! When it was written, the only difference in clothes was the size of the garments—men usually were taller and larger same as today. Clothing wasn’t intended to differentiate—facial hair on men—no facial hair on women—was the big appearance difference. Differences of voice, build are all we need. Those are there by God’s design. Apparel differs from culture to culture and YOU worry about it—God does not. In the 19th century, Christian parents raised sons in skirts and dresses till age 6. They saw nothing wrong about it. At the same time, they were raising hell about women in pants! God is not silly putty that He changes according as the view of the majority changes—church goer in 1875 says—“women in pants are going to hell” next in 2014 church goer says “women in pants is not a sin,” God didn’t change, the church just set a prejudice aside. Something is not wrong because YOU don’t like it! Skirts/trousers are activity differences—not sex differences. Religious people like you burned Joan of Arc alive in AD 1431—for wearing pants! Why did she wear pants? The same reason men had started wearing pants—for sitting on a HORSE. Pants were caused by riding horses—not because God “ordained men to dress like men.” As long as a man is not wearing a bra, he is not “dressed like a woman.” Go to any Greek Orthodox church food festival. Men and boys are wearing skirts, and they see no conflict with Deut 22:5, because there is none. Simpletons like yourself always interfere with the God given rights of others, while being self-assured they’re doing the right thing. There are innumerable other points to make as to why you are dead wrong, but an encyclopedia can’t be posted on a single page.

      Reply
  7. Matt McClellan

    Charles, thanks the reply. How do I even begin to address everything that you said? I guess I’ll start with “huh?” What on earth was all of that about? Please understand I do not mean to insult you, but you seem to be very angry about some things. You personally insulted me – no qualifications to expound on the Bible because I’m a simpleton (one of the biggest you’ve seen in years), and I’m going to hell because I have no common sense. You realize Scripture teaches that we are saved only by having faith in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, and believing that he is Lord? “Common sense,” at least in the way you see it, has nothing to do with salvation.

    You also go on a rant about things that I do not believe in. I never said anything about skirts and I believe what happened to Joan of Arc was horrible. I also agree that the Old Testament Law was given primarily to the Hebrews. However, this does not mean that Christians cannot learn from it. Jesus has fulfilled the OT law, not abolished it. As I said in my other response, I believe that the prohibition on cross-dressing was geared more towards homosexuality and blurring the line between things God created “very good” in Genesis 1. The meta-narrative of Scripture is that God created the world perfect, humanity rebelled against God bringing sin, misery, and death into the world and the Bible ends with the new heavens and new earth – the reestablishment of an Eden-like paradise. The entire Bible centers around this, and this is a good interpretive rule as well. I never said anything about skirts, nor do I worry about apparel the way you think I do. How am I interfering with people’s God-given rights? Are you speaking about people raising boys in skirts? I really do not care if the Greek Orthodox do this or not. If that is ok in their culture then ok. Either way, men should be men and women should be women.

    What was the mention of psychiatry about? What do psychiatry and transvestism have to do with each other? You realize that I believe in the resurrection and hell? Quite simply, I do not accept the kind of “psychiatry” you think I do.

    Reply
  8. Charles

    “What was the mention of psychiatry about? What do psychiatry and transvestism have to do with each other?”

    Why are you asking this question? This is a common doctrine of psychiatry and was invented in the year 1910 by psychiatrist Magnus Hirschfeld. You can’t define cross dressing based on modern cultural standards. Standards have changed. To suggest that the current standard is ok because the majority subscribes to it is to suggest that God is silly putty—God changes his views according as the majority changes their views. Deut 22:5 has nothing to do with skirts/pants or fancy/plain clothing. “Solomon in all his glory” was about his clothes, not his surroundings. The church has no authority to interpret D 22:5 as speaking only to men today—while implying that women have received an exemption due to majority practices. D 22:5 was about women impersonating men so as to go to war, and men impersonating women to avoid going to war. It was also a sanitary law. Water was scarce and apparel was seldom washed. A robe exchanged between a man and woman could result in infection if the garment was soiled by waste matter or menstrual issue, and if someone had a scratch, sickness could result. What church leaders wear today has nothing in common with any Biblical costume. Ties are a phallic symbol, like obelisks “erected” by Masonic Lodges—the Washington Monument and the San Jacinto Monument. Ties were brought to France by Croatian soldiers centuries ago as a military insignia that had phallic worship overtones. The entire suit costume was invented by Beau Brummel, an alcoholic who fled England to cheat his lawful creditors. He died in 1840 in a French insane asylum of syphilis and gluttony. Why do men harm themselves by wearing ties that restrict carotid arteries, and coats—winter clothing—in summer? “Oh, because the Bible teaches us to wear suits, vests, coats and ties” says someone. The term “cross-dressing” should not be used at all to mean “female impersonation,” if a man is doing that, successfully 9or not, he should be called a “female impersonator.” If a man is presenting as a man, including with facial hair, yet he has on a bra, THEN you can call him a “cross-dresser.” FYI the Christian, Protestant church in America, from about 1910 on back—in what garments did they raise their sons from birth to age six? The answers appear on Google images. This was at a time when almost the only woman in America who was wearing pants, was Dr. Mary Walker. The church at that time was bitterly opposed to women in pants. Any “C” grade attorney, if asked to write Deut 22:5 to read the way many traditionalists want it to read, would have clearly stated—“No pants for women—no skirts nor fancy clothes on men,” it does not so state. If women in pants aren’t abomination, neither are men in skirts (per se). There is no verse in Rev stating that in the last times, most women would become abomination due to wearing “that which pertaineth unto a man.” The New Testament in no place speaks of the cut of a garment—tailored (pants) vs draped (skirts/robes).

    Reply
  9. Matt McClellan

    “You can’t define cross dressing based on modern cultural standards. Standards have changed. To suggest that the current standard is ok because the majority subscribes to it is to suggest that God is silly putty…”

    Charles, I never said any of that. Once again you bring up things that I do not believe and never brought up in our discussion. You also bring up – once again – the issue about people bringing up their sons in what we would call “women’s clothes” today. I never said anything to the contrary.

    “D 22:5 was about women impersonating men so as to go to war, and men impersonating women to avoid going to war. It was also a sanitary law. Water was scarce and apparel was seldom washed. A robe exchanged between a man and woman could result in infection if the garment was soiled by waste matter or menstrual issue, and if someone had a scratch, sickness could result.”

    How did you come to this conclusion from the context of the passage? I personally believe that you are inserting into the verse what you want to see.

    Reply
    1. Charles

      In fact, you are a moron mired in current tradition. There was nearly zero difference in Deut between the apparel of men and women besides that men usually had more fabric because they were taller. Did Jesus see that OT verse as banning men wearing skirts? In Luke 7 Christ said the Roman had the greatest faith. A man in a skirt had the greatest faith—there was no mandating of different styles worn by the sexes. You read it that way because you want to have it say that. Deut 22 was about sanitary laws especially, and incest. There you are with this Scottish name and alleging Deut 22 means men can’t wear skirts. I stand by my opener—you are a moron, and nowhere in the NT does it specify the cut of a garment, worn by men or by women.

      Reply

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