Will I see my pets in Heaven?

It’s not just a question children ask. It’s one many of us think about. And we want the answer to be, YES!

I am not a theologian. However, when my dad was dying, I read Randy Alcorn’s book HEAVEN and found it fascinating. In his book, he has two chapters on animals and heaven. Now, you can certainly take issue with anything he says, but I found his writing quite thoughtful and balanced.

Alcorn makes the point that Scripture has much to say about animals. God entrusted them to us and they are referenced in God’s eternal Kingdom. The Bible does say that mankind and animals will enjoy a redeemed and new earth.

To be clear, Alcorn reminds us that animals don’t have human souls or aren’t made in God’s image. Humans and animals are different. But he speaks to how God took care to save the animals on the Ark with Noah and points out that the new covenant included animals.

Additionally, the Bible has references to the use of animals for God’s purposes. For example, God used ravens to feed Elijah, a fish to swallow Jonah, and a donkey sees the angel God sends to Balaam.

Alcorn contends that the biblical message is that God cares for animals and holds us accountable for that care. And it is because of their value, Alcorn asserts, that their sacrifice in the Old Testament reveals sin’s horror and the cost of redemption—pointing to Christ’s redemptive work. It’s an interesting perspective.

Also, think about this. Throughout Scripture we read that animals praise God. Alcorn admits he doesn’t exactly know how this happens, but there are numerous references to creation praising God.

Alcorn’s reasoning is that when Christ proclaims from his throne on the New Earth, “I am making ALL THINGS new”, that ALL THINGS may include animals—this is about restoring and enhancing the familiar. This made me think of humorist Will Rogers when he said, “If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went!”

We do know that animals will be on the new earth, which is a redeemed and renewed old earth in which animals had a prominent role. Alcorn wonders if some of the old earth animals, including our pets, will be made new in the New Earth. He says God could do one of three things: 1) Create entirely new animals 2) Bring back life to animals that have suffered in our present world 3) Create new and bring some old.

C.S. Lewis talked about animals as well. He asserts that if God agrees they should live again, they will! In the Great Divorce, Lewis has a character, Sarah, surrounded by animals she cared for on Earth in Heaven. And John Wesley explained how animals benefitted from mankind’s faithfulness to God and suffered in human rebellion. And when asked, will the creatures be restored? He says, “Whatever affection they (animals) had in the garden with God, will be restored with vast increase; being exalted and refined in a manner which we ourselves are not able to comprehend.”

Honestly, we really don’t know how all of this will play out one day, so in the meantime, be kind to the animals. Treat them well as a reflection of your appreciation for God’s creation.

And I am hoping it’s true, that I will see my dogs in heaven.

Pets and relationships