Yesterday we sadly had to have one of our beloved dogs put down. Charlie had suddenly developed intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) and his hind quarters were rapidly paralysed. I have never thought much about pets and heaven – but am doing so now! Will our pets be in heaven?
Of course this is a matter of speculation as there is no clear biblical statement on the issue. However, I like the thinking of Randy Alcorn on the subject (and I know I’m probably biased). Here is an extensive quote:
‘We know animals will be on the New Earth, which is a redeemed and restored old Earth, in which animals had a prominent role. People will be resurrected to inhabit this world. Romans 8:21-23 assumes animals as part of a suffering creation eagerly awaiting deliverance through humanity’s resurrection. This seems to require that some animals who lived, suffered, and died on the old Earth must be made whole on the New Earth. Wouldn’t some of those likely be our pets?
In her excellent book, Holiness in Hidden Places, Joni Eareckson Tada says, “If God brings our pets back to life, it wouldn’t surprise me. It would be just like him. It would be totally in keeping with his generous character. . . Exorbitant. Excessive. Extravagant in grace after grace. Of all the dazzling discoveries and ecstatic pleasures heaven will hold for us, the potential of seeing Scrappy would be pure whimsy—utterly, joyfully, surprisingly superfluous. . . Heaven is going to be a place that will refract and reflect in as many ways as possible the goodness of joy of our great God, who delights in lavishing love on his children.”
In a poem about the world to come, John Piper writes:
And as I knelt beside the brook
To drink eternal life, I took
A glance across the golden grass,
And saw my dog, old Blackie, fast
As she could come. She leaped the stream—
Almost—and what a happy gleam
Was in her eye. I knelt to drink
And knew that I was on the brink
Of endless joy. And everywhere
I turned I saw a wonder there.
We needn’t be embarrassed either to grieve the loss of our pets or to want to see them again. If we believe God is their creator, that He loves us and them, that He intends to restore His creatures from the bondage they experienced because of our sin, then we have biblical grounds for not only wanting but also expecting that we may be with them again on the New Earth.
So let’s not “correct” our kids when they pray they’ll be able to see their pets again. The answer to that prayer is up to God. He loves to hear the prayers of His children, and there is scriptural reason to believe He may answer those prayers. Remember that our children’s instinctive grasp of heaven—and what we should look forward to there—is sometimes better than ours.’
Alcorn goes on to say:
‘It would be simple for God to re-create a pet in Heaven. He’s the giver of all good gifts, not the taker of them. If it would please us to have a pet restored to the New Earth that may be sufficient reason.’
I hope so.
Here is my previous post on heaven.