Animals in Heaven|
Q. Will there be animals with us in Heaven? What about our pets? (J.M.)
Such a delightful question!
For a complete article about our pets in Heaven, please refer to "Pets in Heaven?" found in the category "Heaven&Hell." The answer to this question, "Animals in Heaven?," is excerpted from a short article on Randy Alcorn's website, author of Heaven. The subsequent answer is from Mark Hitchcock's book, 55 Answers to Questions About Life After Death.
In the Bible the prophet Elijah was taken up to heaven in a chariot pulled by horses (2 Kings 2:11). We're also told there are horses in heaven in the books of Revelation 19:11, and 2 Kings 6:17. …Isn't it likely that since there are innumerable horses in heaven there are all kinds of other animals too? Why wouldn't there be? Why would we expect horses to be the only animals? If there were no other animals, there probably wouldn't be horses, too.
In Isaiah 65:17 God refers to creating a New Heavens and a New Earth. In subsequent verses the text seems to move back and forth from the millennial kingdom to the New Earth. God makes it clear he will have animals living there - either in the millennium or the New Earth or both (Isaiah 65:25).
Sharing Joy of Man's Redemption
Romans 8:18-22 says that the whole creation is subject to suffering and futility because of human sin. The creation groans in longing for the liberation that will come to humans, and thereby to all creation itself.
Creation is under man's dominion and will share the rewards of his redemption just as it shared the punishment for his sin. Animals are a central part of that creation, next to man himself the most significant part. After all, besides his wife, Adam was called upon to give names only to one other part of the creation - the animals (Genesis 2:19-20). He worked the garden, but he wasn't invited to name the vegetation. Clearly, the animals had certain qualities that set them above other creation. They were to be special to man, and his naming them makes his connection with them personal.
Second Adam's New Earth
If the New Earth is all the best of the old earth and more, then we should expect it to contain animals. If animals weren't part of the New Earth, this would seem an obvious oversight. Eden was ruined through sin and will be restored through Christ's reign of righteousness. All that was part of Eden, and then made wrong through the sin of the first Adam, we would expect to be part of the New Earth, made right through the virtue of the Second Adam.
Animals - A Gift to Mankind
Would God take away from us in heaven what he gave, for delight and companionship and help, to Adam and Eve in Eden? Would he revoke his earlier decision to put animals with man, and under man's care? If he remakes the New Earth with new men (who look very much like the old men, only perfect), wouldn't we expect him also to make new animals (who will presumably look like the old animals, only perfect)?
(End of quote from Alcorn)
What God Declared "Good"
Mark Hitchcock tells us that "animals were part of the original creation of God that was declared "good." The Garden of Eden, called Paradise, was filled with animals (Genesis 1:25). Revelation tells us that heaven will contain many of the same things that were in the original creation, such as a river, trees, and fruit. Why not animals too? After all, animals are an integral part of earthly life, and testify powerfully of the creative, imaginative genius of God.
Same Animals Revived?
…Concerning the more difficult issue of whether the same animals will be in heaven that were here on earth, Peter Kreeft adds:
Would the same animals be in heaven as on earth? Is my dead cat in heaven? Again, why not? God can raise up the very grass. Why not cats? Though the blessed have better things to do than play with pets, the better does not exclude the lesser. We were meant from the beginning to have stewardship over the animals. We have not fulfilled that divine plan yet on earth. Therefore it seems likely that the right relationship with animals will be part of Heaven - proper 'petship.' And what better place to begin than with the already petted pets?
Animals Have "Souls"
Second, the Bible affirms from beginning to end that animals have souls. In Genesis 1:20, 24 we find the Hebrew word for "soul" (nephesh) used of animals. This word refers to the passionate appetites and desires of all living things, including the drives for sex and food. Also, Revelation 8:9 uses the Greek word for "soul": (psuchas) in reference to sea creatures - although this word can sometimes have the meaning of "physical life."
Part of Resurrection?
Of course, the soul of an animal is qualitatively very different from the soul of a human being. The human soul craves God as well as sex and food. But the fact that animals have souls may indicate that all or some of them will be resurrected in the afterlife.
…While the thousand-year reign of Christ is not heaven or the eternal state, it is the initial phase or "front porch" of the eternal kingdom of God. Therefore, since animals exist in the millennium, this at least establishes a precedent for suggesting that animals will populate the eternal state or new earth that God will create (Revelation 21:1)."
So, yes, we believe there will be animals in heaven whom we love and adore. Heaven will probably be populated with lots of animals of all kinds, too. Animals were part of the original creation and God promises to restore or make all things new. Note, this is different from making all new things. No, it means that our loving Lord will regenerate that which we have already known. So get ready to greet your favorite pets again and enjoy animals in a new heaven and earth. What joy this will bring to us!
Alcorn, Randy. Animals in heaven. Eternal Perspective Ministries. Available from: www.epm.org.
Hitchcock, Mark. 2005. 55 Answers to questions about life after death. Sisters, OR: Multnomah.
Kreeft, Peter. 1994. The Shadow-Lands of C.S. Lewis. Ignatius Press.