Do Pets Go to Heaven?

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 11:6).

Arthur Poulin’s “New Jerusalem (daytime)”

This may not be the most essential question, but it is a tough one. Pets are a part of the family, so losing one can be painful. If someone hopes to see their beloved pet again in heaven, I don’t want to squash their hope. Here are some thoughts from Scripture:

When God created the world, the creation of humans was unique from that of the animals. We are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26–27). Humanity has a unique destiny. Jesus entered history as a human being, God’s message of salvation and eternal life is given to humans. At death, we reach complete holiness (2 Corinthians 7:1) and await the restoration of our bodies at the day of the Lord. When that day comes, we will reflect the image of our God with perfection. Animals are not described in the Bible as having unique thinking abilities that allow them have a personal relationship with God. Consider Psalm 32:9: “Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.” Still, I believe there will be animals will be in heaven:

The wolf will live with the lamb,
    the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] together;
    and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
    their young will lie down together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
    and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9.

It would be strange to use animals to illustrate future peace, even though animals will not be around in the end. It looks to me like animals are going to be around.

What about pets in heaven? We can only speculate. Heaven is a place where God intends for humanity to be fully happy: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). If a pet is essential for humanity’s happiness, I suspect pets will be there. That’s what I might say to a child who is devastated over their dog being hit by a car. Here’s a question worth asking, that isn’t just about pets in heaven: Does anything have such an important place in our hearts that we can’t be eternally happy without it?

About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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2 Responses to Do Pets Go to Heaven?

  1. Sharon Worthington says:

    I hope they are there. They bring such joy yet nothing will be more joyous than being in heaven so u don’t need to add anything else! Some people believe animals are bought back as other animals to go be a friend to another. That opens a whole other discussion! Guess I have read to many pet stories!

  2. Sharon Worthington says:

    I hope they are there. They bring such joy yet nothing will be more joyous than being in heaven so u don’t need to add anything else! Some people believe animals are bought back as other animals to go be a friend to another. That opens a whole other discussion! Guess I have read to many pet stories!

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