We all know that we are loved by God and that we are called to show our love for Him through our day to day actions. We all know that we are loved by people here on earth and that we love them as well. I believe, and I’m sure many of you would agree, that there is another close bond of love that many of us experience and it is not with another human being at all. Many people have pets and over time come to think of and refer to their pets as a part of the family. While at first this may seem silly to some, I believe it is a show of love that is just as real while being expressed in a different way.
God created all creatures big and small. Before sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden, all animals lived in harmony with Adam and Eve. During the flood, we see that God valued the life of all the animals enough to have two of each species saved along with Noah and his family. Animals may not have souls in the same way that human beings do, but I do believe that they know God. They do not have the same rational thinking methods as we do, and do not have the same ability to choose to sin or follow God. We believe that when we die, our souls depart from the body and are taken up to Heaven until the end of the world when our bodies will be resurrected. It is this belief that leads many to the conclusion that because an animal does not have the same form of soul, they will not be in heaven. While we do not have a concrete answer on this, I believe that animals are taken care of after they die.
Even though they may not have the same souls as people, we read in the Bible that all creation will praise God’s name. In Psalm 148 all creation is summoned to praise the Lord. Psalm 148:10 specifically mentions “animals wild and tame, you creatures that crawl and fly.” Isaiah talks about the peace and harmony that will come when the world is recreated. We read in Isaiah 11:6-9
“The wolf will be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together they shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea.”
Clearly this passage is depicting the ultimate peace that is to come when Christ comes again. Some may say that the animals mentioned are only mentioned in a metaphorical light, but I believe they are mentioned because they are a part of God’s creation and as such will be taken care of by Him.
Animals are able to care. They have the ability, on some level, to care for each other and for humans and to show love and respect. Often you hear of an animal that “adopts” another animal, even of a different species. Animals help out humans in a variety of ways and they certainly show their devotion to us as well. Think of the ass and the colt that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on during Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-7.) Jesus had two specific animals in mind to help Him on his entry into Jerusalem. Does it not stand to reason that because these animals were chosen by Him and served Him faithfully they would be taken care of by Him as well? God knows when even the small sparrow falls to the ground and dies (Matthew 10:29.)He looks after the animals and the love that humans have for animals to relate His love and care for us. Jesus tells us parables about how lovingly and with what devotion a shepherd will search for even one stray sheep. Jesus knew that the bond we share with animals is strong and real and He used it to help show us the devotion He has to each one of us.
None of us know for sure what will happen when our beloved pets and animals die. But I believe that in some way they are taken care of. Whether it is the same Heaven that we wait to meet God in…or whether they go to their own “Garden of Eden”…or whether they are waiting until Christ comes again to live in peace once more…I don’t know. I do know that God created all the animals and has saved them from destruction in the past. I know that the Bible says all creation will glorify the Lord, including nature and animals. And I know that when we hear peace described in the Bible, it is described with the presence of our beloved animals there. My husband and I have an adorable little puggle. She is certainly a part of our family and shows us unconditional love and devotion. We love her and in return she helps to protect us and to be there when she senses we are feeling down. And I have had many pets over the years that have since passed. While I may not know if they are in Heaven, I believe that wherever they are, they are taken care of by the angels of the Lord and are being rewarded for their unconditional love while they were here with us on earth.