33 Question 1

Most of us have pets that we love very much.  To some, their pets are just like children and they treat them as part of their family.  Pets can win our hearts with their loyalty, their different personalities, and their faithfulness to us.  The Lord has certainly blessed us with so many domesticated animals to have as pets.  Some people even have pets that are not domesticated and they still love them very much.  But, what happens to our animals when they die?  Do they continue to exist and will they be in Heaven?

Let’s look at man and animals as they were created by the Lord.  Genesis 1:24-31, “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.  And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.   And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.  And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”  It was on the sixth day of creation that the Lord made both man and beasts.  Animals were made first and then man was made and was given dominion over the animals.  Let’s notice a difference between how animals and man were formed.  Of the animals the Word says, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature.”  Of man the Word says, “Let us make man in our image.”  So it was man that was made in the image of God, not the animals.

What does it mean that man was made in the image of God?  Does that mean that man looks like and is in the form of God?  No, as we read in John 4:24, “God is a Spirit…”  Man was made in the image of God by being made as a triune person.  That means that even as God is made up of three: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; so is man made up of three: the body, the soul, and the spirit.  That is not said of the animals.

Man and animals obviously have bodies.  Man and animals also have souls.  We read in Genesis 2:7, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”  It is written of the animals as they entered the ark in Genesis 7:15, “And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.”  It is the breath of life found in both man and animals that show that they both have living souls.

However, it is the spirit of man that allows him to know and have a relationship with God.  Job 32:8 tells us, “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”  Animals do not have spirits and therefore do not have the ability to know God.  Does this mean that animals cannot live in Heaven?  Of course, animals do not have the ability to choose or reject Christ as man does, so where do their souls go when they die?  Scripture is largely silent about this.  We do know there will be animals on the earth during the Millennial Reign of the Lord.  We read of that time in Isaiah 11:6-7 which says, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.”  But, we do not have similar words that pertain to Heaven itself.  If we consider the possibility that every beast ever made or born would be in Heaven, wouldn’t we also have to consider the possibility of every insect, every bug and every parasite being there?  I simply cannot say emphatically because the scriptures do not say emphatically.  We do know that when we are in Heaven, we will have absolute joy as we read in Psalms 16:11, “…in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”  So whether our pets are with us in Heaven or not, we can be sure that we will have perfect joy being in the presence of the Lord.  If our pets are not there, I’m sure we will not mourn them.  We will be so occupied with the Lord Himself that our hearts will be full.

We can know and rejoice in the fact that there are two animals in Heaven.  Revelation 5:1-6 tells us of a scene in the glory.  It says, “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.”  Here we have mentioned the lion of the tribe of Judah and a lamb as it had been slain.  Both of these we know are figuratively speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  What a blessed thought that forever we will join in with all those in Heaven in praising the Lord and saying, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” as we read in Revelation 5:12.  (33.1)