Scriptures

Do Animals Go To Heaven?

Introduction

I recently lost my pet springer spaniel Oscar and a friend of mine asked this very question, will Oscar be in heaven now? This is a good question to which I quoted Revelation 22:14-15

‘Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.’

The text says that the ‘dogs are outside’ of God’s presence, that was a joke and not obviously to be taken literally. It’s a good question and although it may bring a lot of comfort to many animal lovers whom lost their pets, we need to see what the Bible actually teaches.

The Bible states that both man and animals have the ‘breath of life’, that is, both man and animals are living beings.

‘Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.’ Genesis 2:7

‘And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground— everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so.’ Genesis 1:30

‘I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.’ Genesis 6:17

‘Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark.’ Genesis 7:15

‘Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died.’ Genesis 7:22

There’s no doubt that animals are precious in God’s eyes but the main difference between human beings and animals is that humanity is made in the image and likeness of God, while animals are not.

‘Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So, God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.’ Genesis 1:26-27

Being made in the image and likeness of God means that human beings are like God, capable of spirituality, with mind, emotion, and will, and they have a part of their being that continues after death.

Remembering that the Hebrew word ‘Adam’ means ‘man.’ ‘Life’ like animal life, is something which Adam shared with every other living creature created by God. But the difference between the other creatures and man lies in the fact that God said,

‘Let us make Man after our own image, after our likeness.’ Genesis 1:26

Only with reference to man is this said, and it’s this ‘likeness to God’ which uniquely constituted man a rational and moral being, possessing a conscience that enabled him to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, obedience and disobedience. It’s in this sense that man is a soul, a self, having self-awareness and self-consciousness. Now look at Genesis 1:26 again,

‘God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’

This shows us that man is not only superior to all other living creatures on Earth because he possesses this moral awareness. This is also shows us that the gulf between man and the rest of creation was further emphasised and endorsed when God assigned to him dominion over all other living creatures.

‘But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding’. Job 32:8

If we consider the body to be ‘Earth-conscious’, and the soul to be ‘Self-conscious’, we may think of the spirit as being ‘God-conscious’. In other words, it is that part of man’s nature which enables him to reach out to and communicate with God.

It’s the spiritual dimension in man’s character, and, here again; we see the difference between man and other creatures. It’s only man says who can say,

‘My soul thirsts for God, for the living God’. Psalm 42:2

Its only man who is encouraged to

‘seek after Him, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him.’ Acts 17:27

Its only man who is given the assurance that

‘He is not far from each one of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being’. Acts 17:27

The ‘soul’ is man’s unique self, it’s the part of his being which, because it’s rational and moral, determines the actions performed by his body, and which, therefore, renders him personally accountable for what he does.

And so, it is man’s ‘soul’ which will ultimately be either saved or lost, depending on his response to the offer of the salvation which was made first possible by the coming of the Christ into the world.

When an animal dies, their bodies are buried, and their spirit goes back to God.

‘The dust returns to the earth as it once was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it’. Ecclesiastes 12:7

Solomon says at death, the body returns to the dust of the earth, and the spirit goes back to God who gave it.

I really miss my dog Oscar, he brought me a lot of joy and was a source of comfort at times and although it sounds nice and brings people a lot of comfort, I believe that animals don’t possess a soul, and have no promise of eternal life and the Bible teaches us that it’s only the faithful soul which will live forever with God in heaven.

‘We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.’ 2 Corinthians 5:8

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

John 5:24

MENU