Bereaved pet lovers are often troubled by the future of their pets. Their tender compassion towards their pets is quite understandable. They want to live with the assurance that they will meet their adorable pets in heaven. This article dwells on finding a Biblical basis to answering the question, ‘do dogs go to heaven when they die?’.
‘Do animals go to heaven when they die’ is a question surging through every bereaved pet owner’s mind. The question is a valid one and reveals the deep concern every pet owner bears for his or her beloved pet, who has been a wonderful companion in this journey of life. Pets do attain the position of a family member. Their antics and whimsical ways tend to gain our attention and we shower our affection on these creatures made by God. In the Bible, Genesis 1: 20-26 tells us how God made the different living creatures and how He saw that it was good! I know of people who have even prayed for the well-being of their dogs on a daily basis. However, death is inevitable and when it comes and takes away our beloved pet dog, the question emerges ‘Do dogs go to heaven when they die?’. There is this gnawing urge to know if we will see our beloved pets again!
Biblical Basis on ‘Do We go to Heaven When We Die?’
Before heading to the question where do pets go when they die, let us have a clear understanding of where do we go when we die. According to Christianity, heaven is a place where those who have believed in Jesus Christ will live in eternal fellowship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The Bible clearly tells us in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life“. Thus, by faith in Jesus Christ we receive the ticket to heaven. There is another point that is to be taken into consideration here. It is not by the works of our hands that we are saved. We can be as kind and helpful as we want, but this does not save us. In John 6:29 Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.‘
However, how do we know we will actually enter heaven? Have we been to heaven? No! The answer lies in 2 Corinthians 5:5, “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come“. When a person believes in Jesus Christ, God, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. The Holy Spirit living in us is the deposit or legal document pertaining to our entry into heaven when we die. It is by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us that we can be assured about eternal life. Because of this assurance we can live a life free from the fear of death, and can confidently say “For me to live is Christ and die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
Biblical Basis on ‘Do Dogs go to Heaven When They Die?
The other day my sister (an animal lover) asked me this question, ‘Why didn’t anyone ask Jesus where do pets go when they die, while He lived on the earth?’. Such innocent, yet heartrending questions surround us during this journey of life. We all want to be assured that we will meet our earthly friend in our heavenly home. There is nothing wrong with these questions. The compassion that our hearts feel towards our pets will cause us to wonder where they go after they die.
There are various schools of thought regarding this subject. Scores of people have ended up fabricating their own theories of whether pets go to heaven or no. However, if we are looking for a Biblical basis, we need to embrace the fact that the Bible has not given us a clear idea of what happens to pets when they die, as it does for human beings. There are several Christian preachers who quote scripture; trying to indicate that the Bible throws light on the fact that pets go to heaven. They quote scripture portions such as:
- Luke 3:6, “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God“. They point that since this verse talks about all flesh shall see salvation, this means humans as well as all the other creatures on the earth will enter heaven’.
- Ecclesiastes 3:19-20, “Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath, man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust and to dust all return“. King Solomon, apparently the wisest man after Jesus spoke these words when he felt life itself was useless. He had spent his life doing all that his heart desired and at the end he still felt empty. That is when he realized that running after worldly pleasures like wealth, power, women, etc. was futile. He ultimately concluded life was meaningless. So this verse is not relevant for answering the question about eternal life for pets.
- Psalm 36:6, “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O LORD.” This verse is metaphorical. Moreover, this does not indicate what happens to animals when they die.
Besides, if the same fate awaits man as well as animal, then what about hell? Matthew 25:46 states “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” This means the ones who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord, will be saved from hell (Romans 10:9). If we believe in going to heaven, we have to believe in hell as well. So will some animals go to hell?
Several verses have been fished from the Bible and used to prove that animals go to heaven when they die. No matter how much I would personally love to agree with all those who want to prove that the Bible says animals will go to heaven, I cannot. The fact of the matter is that the Bible does not specify at any place where do pets go after death. But, this does not mean the Bible says pets do not go to heaven. We just have to accept the fact that the Bible does not reveal anything on this subject.
We need not lose heart, for those who have the assurance of eternal life in their hearts, know how awesome God is! We know nothing is impossible for Him and that He loves our pets more than we do! He is a compassionate God, who calls us with love everlasting. What we can do right now instead of getting apprehensive, is to give the future of our pets into the hands of the God we trust. Let us cast all our anxieties upon Him for He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)
Let us also not forget that although we love our pets passionately, we cannot lead ‘pet-centered’ lives. Our lives should always be ‘Christ-centered’. This principle does not apply only to pets, but also to our family, friends, job, alcohol, sex, money, etc. Anything can take the central position in our lives, if we allow it to. We’ve got to decide who will reign supreme in our lives. It is a choice we make! May this life that we live on earth be like sweet fragrance to our Creator and rest of creation! God bless you!