Do Animals Go To Heaven When They Die?

Jake 2Saturday, I had to take our eleven year-old German shepherd, Jake, to the vet to be put down. Besides the usual ailments that come with aging, he had tumors growing on his stomach, and severe hip dysplasia. Rebekkah and I agonized over the right time to do this. His quality of life had been decreasing a lot lately, and his suffering had increased. It was time to end his suffering.

Obviously, the whole thing, from the decision it was time to say good-bye, all the way up to burying him, was very, very sad and I am flooded with grief, and questions about the souls of the animals we have loved so deeply. If the soul of the animal goes on existing, then my decision for Jake was only one of complete mercy and knowing he is happier gives me peace.

However, if these souls of our pets simply cease to exist at the moment of the death of their body, then it just seems cruel to have ever let them live and love us at all, laboring and suffering under the human’s curse, and coming into a shadowed sense of self-awareness that the wild animals never seem to attain, all without the offering of hope in our next life that He has offered all of mankind? The animals’ breath, like ours, was God’s breath. He gave us life in the same way.

Somehow, I find the idea of God ending anything or anyone abruptly, inconsistent with all that I know about Him and His nature of love. If all humans have eternal souls, the saved as well as the un-saved, then why would God not grant that same benefit to all who were given life from God’s own breath? No. Every molecule of this universe is a miracle unto itself, complex systems exist within other ones, a planet balanced perfectly in the cold, indifferent blackness of space…around us, we see a creation that testifies the existence of God in each leaf, blade of grass, drop of water.  The God who designed and created this earth is meticulously thorough, and spectacularly complex. He does nothing unbalanced, unjust, or without compassion.

God never does anything that isn’t perfect. I believe He has a perfect eternity for the animals too, whether it be in ours or in something specifically for their eternal happiness. Jake might want something different than just being my pet. I like to think Jesus is having some of the angels dress up like postmen so Jake can chase them around heaven.

In Problem With Pain, C. S. Lewis speculated on the eternal fate of animals, suggesting that at least tame animals might enter heaven through their relationship with humans. Because of the domestic animals having a sense of “self”, they fall beneath the sanctification we live under. C.S. Lewis was clear to state that he was not imparting divine knowledge;  he was simply guessing, based on what he knew about how God works.

Following Lewis’s example, I did the same thing. Jake’s very existence in my life has often brought me peace, safety, comfort, and pure happiness. I truly lost something valuable this week. I want to know if it is gone forever. So, I did a simple list about what the bible says about God and the animals  He created before He created the humans who messed everything all up.

What I know about God in relation to animals:

  • God created them, and He considered them to be good. Genesis 1:26
  • Our first job as human beings was to care for them. Genesis 1:26-27
  • He knows each and every one of them, down to even the simple sparrow. Matthew 10:29
  • In the story of Jonah, the people of Nineveh were spared destruction because God wanted to have mercy on their children and the animals. (see Jonah 4:11).
  • Noah’s ark was designed and built to save a tiny little human family, and a butt-load of animals.
  • There are most certainly horses in heaven. (Revelation 6:2–8; 19:11; 2 Kings 6:17).
  • God holds the lives of animals in His hands (Job 12:10).
  • He, Himself, feeds them (Psalms 104:21–30; Matthew 6:26).
  • They were created for His enjoyment (Revelation 4:11).
  • God never forgets about them (Matthew 10:29; Luke 12:6).
  • People who mistreat their pets are judged by Him as “cruel” (Proverbs 12:10).
  • Those who treat their pets kindly are called “righteous” (Proverbs 12:10).
  • He tells us that the beasts, the birds, the earth, and the fish of the sea all know by whose hand they were created by, and in His hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. Job 12-7-10.

And the list went on and on and on. I simply couldn’t include all the many verses that showed how much the Lord cared for the animals.

Using all that I know about the Lord, His nature, and His word, and added with the tons of versus that shows He cares for them, I believe all animals, domestic or not, have a perfect plan He set in place for their existence as well. God designed this delicately balanced, amazingly complex planet, and placed it into the depths of an ever-expanding universe, knowing full well we would never be able to explore most of it, but would spend generations trying to grasp just the very idea of what our universe might have hidden for us to explore.

He designed the oceans and the amazing mysteries we still have yet to uncover about it. Who knows how many breeds of animals and fish have lived and died without even one human laying eyes on it?  Why did He create them, if not for us? I believe He created all of this for His own good pleasure.

He has never showed Himself to be anything but spectacularly thorough about every single part of this incredible creation we call earth, right up and including, our own salvation plan. For Him to not have set something equally perfect up for the souls of the animals seems like it would be an oversight, and He simply does not do anything that isn’t absolutely perfect in every way.

Jake is in a perfect place God designed for him. Anything less would be so unlike our Creator.

— Bird


28 responses to “Do Animals Go To Heaven When They Die?”

  1. I firmly believe in the Peaceable Kingdom. I’ve had many adopted animals over the years. The bonding is unmistabably profound and the love they give is almost what one could call supernatural, which leads me to believe they have emotions simillar to ours; love, fear, compassion and emotional suffering, etc. Christians pets are just plain different than other animals. I’ve been told this by a number of people who’ve noticed the unusual personalites in my pets.
    I’ve had several experiences to lead me to believe my pets will be there for me some fine day. For example, when I had to put down our wonderful long haired dauchsund, Joy, it was very traumatic for me. That morning, I knew the time had come. I was laying on the floor with Joy close by.She crawled up close to me and snuggled into my neck. Later, after I tearfully walked away from the vets, earlier that day, that night, I don’t know if you could call this a “vision” or not, but I saw this; Jesus was walking toward my father who had died the year before. Dad was sitting on a large stone by a clear stream of water. Jesus had Joy in His arms, and as He approached, He said, “Son, I have someone I want you to meet”, as He handed little Joy into Dad’s arms. That’s all I remember about that, but I will never forget it. I was so comforted by this.
    Another time, when it was one of our pet cats, I had a brief but similar experience. It was Jesus standing with a number of our pets, both dogs and felines, all in a row, as if waiting to greet someone. I had the distinct impression, it was me they were waiting for!

    I am truly sorry for your loss. We never really get over it. It leaves a painful place in our hearts. Opening our selves up to love this way hurts but it’s worth it.
    But take comfort and believe. Didn’t Jesus say that he would do over and abundantly more than we could possibly conceive? The depth and riches of our merciful Lord.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry for your loss – I have to make that decision about my 11 yo Rottweiller in the next few weeks… As to where animals go when they die – I am not sure since the Bible doesn’t give ANY indication. However, I do want to bring a few things to your attention as I found them to be…

    The notion of anyone going to heaven immediately when they die is inconsistent with the character of a loving, kind parent-God. Think about it – the mommy of an abused wife goes to “heaven” and for the rest of her daughter’s existence on earth, she must “look down” on her daughter being raped, assaulted, mistreated etc. What kind of heaven is that? And what kind of God would call that heaven? Similarly, if our God is absolutely fair as a judge over us, how come those who die get their “reward” before others? And speaking about reward – the Bible is clear that our reward is eternal life, but if we are immortal anyway, it’s not really a reward is it? And what is Jesus bringing with Him then when he comes again?

    Did I suck these things out of my thumb or an I Biblically correct? Firstly, immortality of the soul is NOT taught by the Bible – it is a doctrine that was added by some clever people, the history of which I wont bore you with. Job 4:17 Simply put- the “soul” consists of body + Spirit, in other words, physical flesh and the breath of God. See Gen 2:7 Remove/kill the body, then the spark of life that God gave (Spirit) goes back to God and the soul dies, awaiting the resurrection. The Greek word for spirit is “pneuma” (pneumatic tires?) meaning “air” i.e God’s breath. James 2:26 Job 27:3 1 Tim 6:16 Eze 18:20 Job 7:9,10

    Biblical writers were well versed in this concept, as opposed to the pagans who believed in a strange transitional afterlife (Pharaohs, Greeks etc) The Psalmist understood this well in Ps 115:17. The Bible equates death with a sleep in Ps 13:3 and Eccl 9:5,6,10 tells us the “DEAD KNOW NOTHING” John 11:11-14

    The good news is that we will be raised (some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting death, unfortunately) 1 Cor 15:51,52 1 Thes 4:16,17 John 5:25-28. I appeal to you to carefully study what the Word says and not to fall for the original lie of Satan in Gen 3:4 where he said “you will not surely die”….


    • I am well versed in this argument. However, my physicist daughter pointed out that time is a creation, and does not translate into the heavenly dimension in any way we can understand. Her theory is that somehow we all are already there.

      She’s explained this theory to me in detail, but I get lost pretty much the minute she starts talking.


  3. I was originally taught that animals have no souls and are not part of eternity. However, I’ve since changed my mind. For one thing, Martin Luther said he believed his ol’ dawg would be with him in heaven.

    Second, I’ve heard the reasoning that heaven is, for lack of a bertter term, the waiting room before the final judgment and eternity. Why do I say this? Because the bible also talks about the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven. There are also references to the new heaven and new earth. This is echoed in Isaiah’s following passages regarding animals:

    Isaiah 11:6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
    Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.

    “On all My holy mountain.”

    I get the reading that, first, there will be a physical earth, new and perfect as described in Isaiah and elsewhere. Second, animals will be there. I say, look forward to seeing your dog again. That’s what I think!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry to hear about your dog. They are like part of the family and it is only natural to grieve what you have loved and to miss them terribly. If you get a chance, check out Kat Kerr’s book on heaven. God has taken her there in spirit many, many times and she has seen some wonderful things. One thing she says is that our pets are in heaven waiting for us. Because we love them, they are part of us. When I first heard about her I was skeptical about what she said about heaven, but after having her in person twice in our church and seeing her humility and honesty, I could no longer doubt. She has two books out about her visits to heaven and I recommend them to you. I hope this will be of some comfort to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bird,
    I’m sooo sorry for the loss of such a good and faithful friend. B and I have lost three in the last 9yrs. I appreciate the gravity of your grief.

    as to your question… my answer 10yrs ago would have been “absolutely not”. Now, I’m not so sure of anything anymore that I can pontificate so arrogantly that “I know” God’s will and plan.
    with maturity, I guess my answer today would be “I sure hope so” along with the other Human family and friends we have lost in the last 9yrs as well.
    let’s all hope that “Mercy triumphs over Judgement” or it might be that none of us ever go to Heaven when we die. For I would not wish the alternative on my worst enemy.

    if not my enemy, why “Man’s Best Friend”? blessings.


  6. Amen! I did, in fact, discuss this with our Pastor awhile back. My kids had questions after the death of a beloved pet and wanted a bit of extra reassurance from an ‘expert’ now that they are old enough not to take mom’s word for an answer. And yes, animals share heaven with us!


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