“Will my pet be in heaven?”
This is – as you can imagine – a very popular question. It (or a similar version) was sent to me via text or email twice in the last 3 days. It is – a GREAT question.
Although I love animals and pets – I have never considered myself to be a ‘pet person’. This is odd for a number of reasons. One, I married one (ever asked my wife about Golden Retrievers?). Two, I am the son of a veterinarian. Three – I currently have around 9 pets in my home (a dog, a bird, and 7 fish).
The world, however – especially North America – is full of ‘pet people.’ I have seen (due to my ‘veterinarian’ upbringing) more than my fair share of grown men crying over dogs, cats, cows, horses, and even a pig or two. Yep, pigs.
Obviously God did something in human hearts to give us an affection for animals. Very selfishly and personally – I am grateful. Had He not, I wouldn’t have had the comfortable upbringing I had, would have probably had to pay my own way through college, purchased my first car (Chevy Celebrity – Yep) with my own money, and worn Lee jeans to high school (tight rolled, no less) instead of the ever popular Guess jeans. But I digress.
Disney believes all dogs go to heaven. But what does the Bible say? Will our pets be in heaven?
I believe they will be. It’s pretty clear the Father has an affection for pets too.
When God created the heavens and the earth, His design of a perfect world included animals.
Paul tells us that all creation awaits (which would include pets and animals!) for everything to be restored to what God originally intended.
Heaven is described as the ‘New Earth.’ It will be – if you will – ‘earthly.’ Randy Alcorn writes, “. . . we shouldn’t be surprised to realize it will have animals. Like all of God’s other creations, they will declare his attributes and we will find joy in God by finding joy in them.” Heaven will be a perfect version of the world we live in now. Isaiah 11, 60, and 65 mention animals being present on this ‘New Earth.’
I also believe we will recognize them as our pets. I admit – this is a stretch – but here’s why I believe it:
When we who have hoped in Christ for our salvation experience the joy of Heaven – we will have a renewed memory, not a memory loss. Passages like 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 would make no sense unless we could recognize aspects of ‘this’ life. Likewise, on the Mt. of Transfiguration – Peter, James, and John recognized Moses and Elijah though they had NEVER seen them before. Again, quoting Alcorn: “If we will recognize people we haven’t known on Earth, surely we will recognize people we have known!”
I know these texts speak of ‘people recognition.’ But I think it’s safe to say that since pets will be in heaven, ‘pet recognition’ will also occur (without ‘doggie breath’!!!!).
So – rejoice in the God who loves you and wants you to hope in His love and affection and care for you. Thank Him for your pet(s). Look forward to the day when Fido and FeFe won’t have fleas and ticks. Until then, go see your local vet.
They have kids who need cool jeans.