Will we see animals in heaven?
Ask a Pastor
“Do animals go to heaven?” -- Linda K., an ELCA Facebook follower
Anne: I wasn’t going to answer this one, because I honestly don’t know. But maybe “I don’t know” is a reasonable answer to this and to any other questions we have about what heaven is like and who is there. What I do know: I love my dog very much, and he’s truly a member of the family. I don’t even like to think about the fact that he will die someday; when he does, I will grieve. And I think I will be comforted by trusting that as much as I love my dog, I know that God the creator loves him even more. God loves all creatures and all creation with a depth we can only try to imagine. That loves applies to you and me, to the animals we love, and even to the animals, plants, etc., we don’t love or just take for granted.
When God speaks to Job from the whirlwind (Job 38–39), we get very few — if any — answers to Job’s questions, but we do get a pretty gorgeous view of how much God loves all of creation. God made creatures that are wild and dangerous to humans, and God loves those creatures. God made creatures we find beautiful and useful, and God loves those creatures, too. God makes it rain on parts of the earth where no human beings live — the ground itself is beloved of God, whether we live there or not. I am grateful for reminders, like my wonderful dog, of the fact that humans are not the only beloved creation of God.
Rosanne: Pet owners are often deeply attached to their pets as the pets become attached to them. So, when a pet dies, it is a sad time. Will they see their pet in heaven? I don’t know. But I think we can assume that God, who cared enough to have Noah bring animals into the ark two-by-two (presumably both domesticated and those of the wild), cares as much for the non-human creation as God does for us. Whether they are a part of the heavenly court singing their own kind of praises to the Creator is really up to God.
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