Will You See Your Pet in Heaven?

Larry Wilson

Some years ago, my family adopted a kitten. He was so gray—even his eyes—that we named him Charcoal. We took to him right away, and he became our faithful companion and friend, living with us for years, moving with us three times. Like one of the family, he loved us and we loved him.

One sunny morning, we let Charcoal out to romp in our yard, one of his favorite pastimes. Later, when we called him, he was nowhere to be found. We searched the neighborhood, calling his name. We made signs and posted them. We advertised in the newspaper. Finally, someone answered our ad and explained that Charcoal had been hit by a car not far from our home. Not knowing who the owner was, the person who found him had kindly disposed of his body. And that was the end of poor Charcoal.

Or was it? Do you ever wonder if animals have an afterlife? Have you ever had a beloved pet die? Will you see your pet in heaven?

People generally assume not. The Bible certainly doesn't teach it. But the Bible doesn't deny it either. And the Bible does teach some other things that might bear on the question.

For one thing, the Bible teaches that animals aren't guilty of sin. It was human sin, not theirs, that caused God to place a curse on creation, subjecting all living things to frustration and eventual death.[1] That's because God created the first human, Adam, in a position of responsibility over the world. When Adam disobeyed God, he did so as head of humanity and the world. This is why the consequences of sin—including death—came not just upon Adam, but upon his descendants and the whole earth.

But the good news is that God has sent a "second Adam." The Bible says that just as sin and death came into the world through the first Adam, forgiveness and eternal life come into the world through the "last Adam," the God-man, Jesus Christ.[2] The Bible says that all things continue to hold together in Christ.[3] And according to his eternal plan, God will gather together all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.[4] God's covenant promise to Noah embraced even the animal kingdom.[5] Ultimately, Jesus Christ is the One who fulfills that promise. Through him, the whole creation itself will share in the glorious liberty of the children of God.[6]

Will that include our specific animal friends, like Charcoal? Will our pets go to heaven? I'd like to hope so. But the fact is, I don't know. I do know this, though. You definitely will not see your pet in heaven unless you go there yourself!

Are you going to heaven? That's the real question! And you don't have forever to answer it. "It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment."[7] Are you ready? Are you going to heaven? Now is the time for you to make sure!


[1] Romans 8:20—"For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope...."

[2] 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 45—"For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.... Thus it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit."

[3] Colossians 1:16-17—"For by him [Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

[4] Ephesians 1:9-10—"...making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth."

[5] Genesis 9:8-17—"Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 'Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.' And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.' God said to Noah, 'This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.' "

[6] Romans 8:18-22—"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now."

[7] Hebrews 9:27—"...it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment...."

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