Everyday Encounter with God

Pastor Sylvia's Encounters with God in the Midst of Everyday Life


Do Pets Go to Heaven?

The joy of Easter Sunday was slightly marred for me this year. My friend Sally announced that their beloved boxer Blue passed away that morning.

I don’t like all dogs, but Blue was special. I was immediately in love with his eagerly wagging behind and slightly cheesy grin. I always felt honored when he sat his bum directly on my foot and leaned in for a head scratch. Despite old age and painful arthritic joints, Blue remained good-natured to the end.

We love our pets—whether dogs, cats, birds, or something else. They become members of the family. But their shorter life spans leave me wondering… after death do they go to heaven? Will we see them eagerly anticipating us in paradise much like they wait for us to come home from vacation?

I think there are some truths we can consider.

God created everything—including animals. Revelation 4:11 says, “For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.”  

Human beings were specifically created to glorify Him. But the Bible speaks of even inanimate objects, such as the sun, moon, and stars, praising God (see Psalm 148:3). These objects cannot praise Him in the same way humans can, however all of creation praises their creator by carrying out the roles He planned for them.

Although humans and animals were made from the same dust, only men and women were created in the image of God. We were specifically entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing, protecting, and enjoying the rest of His creation.      (Gen 1:26-30)

Because humans can reason, we are able to make intelligent and moral decisions. Instead of moral reasoning, God created the animal kingdom with powerful instincts, giving each species the knowledge it would need to prosper.  

Since animals cannot reason and make choices based on morality, they are not included in the salvation God has offered to humans. In order for us to be saved, we must believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There is no evidence that animals can exercise saving faith in Jesus. They don’t need to. They cannot sin.

Does that mean our animals won’t be with us in heaven?

Dr. Billy Graham was once asked whether his dog would go to heaven. The great evangelist answered: “God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he’ll be there.”

While we’re concerned with having our pets with us in heaven, a consortium of pet-loving atheists is concerned about the rapture. Eternal Earthbound Pets, USA has extended “a serious offer to our Christian friends who believe in the Second Coming and honestly care about the future of their pets after the rapture occurs.”

They charge $110 per household and promise to place your animals in a good home with those left behind. They claim it is “The next best thing to pet salvation in a Post Rapture World.”

As part of the EEP pledge, they only hire men and women who love animals, are of high moral fiber, and who promise to do everything in their power to assure that they will not end up in heaven themselves.  

Husband and I don’t intend to sign up for services. Either Chloe and Sylvester go with us or God has another plan for their sinless lives.

Instead, I choose to follow the teaching of Martin Luther, the great reformer of the Christian faith. “Be thou comforted, little dog. Thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail.”

What a joyous reunion I’ll have someday with Fluffy, Lydia, and Mr. Duck!