Questions about our pets arise in our minds naturally, since we come to love them so much and regard them as members of the family. One of the most poignant stories is the parable of the pet lamb when Nathan’s confronts King David in 2 Samuel 12:3 (NKJV) “But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.”
This is a question that every pet owner would like a positive answer to. However, the Bible is silent on this question. Neither confirming or denying. Since there is not a definite “thus saith the Lord” in the Bible, we should consider several points.
First, God created everything for His pleasure and His glory. Revelation 4:11 (NKJV) says, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” But, more specifically mankind was created for God’s glory Isaiah 43:7(KJV), “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”
The Bible speaks of (even) inanimate objects praising God. Psalms 148:3 (KJV) “Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.” Of course, we know the moons cannot praise God – at least in the terms we think of. Just by shining the moon glorifies its maker.
Although all of God’s creation is for His glory and pleasure, mankind was created in the image of God. Animals are made from the same dust as we are, and have the breath of life in them as we do, but humans were entrusted with the ability to oversee, protect, and enjoy the rest of creation.
Genesis 1:26-30 (NKJV) “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[a] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Genesis 2:15 (NIV), “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
Because we can reason, we are able to make intelligent and moral decisions – whether to serve God or not; animals cannot. Animals were not created with the ability to choose right or wrong, to accept or reject salvation. Clearly humans were.
Genesis 2:8-9 (NKJV), “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:17, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV) I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
Joshua 24:15 (ESV) And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
When Adam and Eve sinned, all of creation fell into degradation and death. Since “creatures” cannot reason from cause to effect (to the degree humans can), we don’t see in the Bible “salvation” for them. Jesus died for mankind. We are saved through faith in Jesus, Matthew 1:21 (NKJV) states, “…you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
John 3: 16 (KJV) For God so love the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should nor perish, but have everlasting life.
In order for one to be saved, one has to believe in Jesus.
Will there be animals in heaven? Yes. God’s creation is a witness to what God has done and what sin has caused. Romans 8:20-21, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” Although our sins have destroyed ourselves and nature, God restores both. Just as animals were part of God’s untainted, original creation – the Bible gives us the picture of heaven, where animals and all creation are given back the world and life as God originally intended, without the corruption of sin and subject to death.
Isaiah 11:6 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. (Sound like pets, don’t they?)
Isaiah 11:7-9 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea
Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.
Having said that, we must not subject God to our knowledge and understanding. Perhaps God may condescend to make a new Duke or a new Spot, Isaiah 65:17 (KJV) “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”
Though we do not know all the details, we do know that 1 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV) says “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
Revelation 21:5 (KJV) “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
Best advice for us is to love our pets and enjoy them while they are here with us; and trust God in everything, He sees and knows all, and nothing is too hard for Him to do. God knows how much we loved and enjoyed our beautiful cat or loyal dog and Psalm 37:4 (KJV) tells us that, “The Lord shall give thee the desires of your heart.”
Scripture does not directly address the subject, but what we do know is that God loves us. We can believe that in a perfect place, everything necessary for our total happiness will be in place, and that we will have no unmet need or desire of any kind.