Will Our Pets go to Heaven?

I love the way that our pastor, Adam Hamilton, takes on difficult questions. I am of the ilk that pets do not have a spirit that survives death but enjoyed Adam's take on the question in his weekly e-note a few weeks ago. Have a look at Adam's take on the question below and let me know what you think! How would you answer the question?

One of the questions I've been asked frequently in this series of messages is whether our pets go to heaven. I posted this question on my Pastor Adam Hamilton web page and received a number of interesting responses. The Bible does not directly take up this question, so any answer is speculative, but I'll take a stab at an answer.

First, I hope all animals don't go to heaven. I really don't care much for ticks, spiders, snakes, wolves and bears! But perhaps even some of these have a place in heaven. Isaiah once gave a picture of the coming Messianic age in which he states that in that age, "The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD." This may have been simply a metaphorical way of speaking about that future realm, but it may also point to the truth that there will be animals in heaven.

In Revelation we hear of Christ riding a horse as he returns for the final judgment. Some point to this as a sign that the animals we've known on earth join us in heaven. Others have argued that animals don't have souls and thus will not be in heaven. I suppose that depends upon how one defines a soul. I have always felt that my pets did have souls - they have intelligence, personality, and character and they express joy, protectiveness, and companionship.

My thinking on this question is that it is possible that God raises up those animals that had special meaning in our lives, and that perhaps his resurrection of these creatures is part of the gift that God gives us in heaven. I'm thinking that this raising up of animals may be tied closely to the connection these animals had with human beings, and that not all animals are in heaven, but that animals may be "saved" by virtue of the faith of their human companions. I know that for many people who never had children, their pets are their children. For any who have loved an animal, they become an important part of one's life.

Each time we've lost a pet I have had a brief ceremony thanking God for the life of the pet and commending them to God's care. I'm not concerned about seeing the gerbils, hamsters and rabbits in heaven (I've lost track of all their names by now). But dogs and cats seem somehow more important to me.

There is one last thought I've had about this. In the Bible, Paradise is a word used for the afterlife where the righteous dead go. Jesus uses this term as he was dying on the cross. Paradise, as you may remember, was the name for the "king's garden" - a place of beauty that combined both the concept of an arboretum with that of a zoo. Animals were kept in the king's garden.

So, when a pet dies, I commend them to God's love and care. They are creatures of God and, in some ways less marred by sin and more freely giving glory to God than we humans. I trust God with their lives. I find comfort in the thought that they, too, will experience the blessings of paradise.


  1. Replies
    1. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. (Genesis 9:4-5 ESV)

      God will judge animals (beasts) for eating other animals (beasts)? Am I missing something Keith?

  2. Pets or animals for that matter do not go to heaven. The were not created with an eternal spirit. There does not seem to evidence from Scripture that there are animals in heaven in the past or at this time.

    The problem comes in to play when one confuses "heaven" with the eternal kingdom that will be established on the earth during the Millenial period. Christ will establish His kingdom on this earth where animals exist, i. e. sheep, lambs, spiders, lions mentioned in Scripture in reference to the Kingdom.

    More than likely when God destroys both heaven and earth and recreates them, He will create earth in the form that it was originally created prior to the fall, which of course, we know contained animals. Animals will probably exist in this created state for eternity.

    Yes, I know that Christ returns to this earth on a white horse. I find no reference to a stable in heaven at this time. It is possible that Christ "creates this horse" instantly in order to ride it to earth with his armies.

    The Scripture is silent in regards to this. We must be careful when we indulge in "speculation." Most of the time, speculation is not in line with scripture.

    No doubt animals were created to show forth, or to magnify, or to display the character and nature of God. Although suffering under the curse, with no depraved nature, they do exactly what God created them to do far better than man at this point in time.

    God truly loves and cares for His creation, He provides for them everything they need. The scripture is replete with references to God's care for them. There is no need for them in heaven. There angels do the perfect bidding of God in constant worship and praise.

    The above reference is apparently ripped out of context and offered as some type of "proof" that we should not eat animals. If that is the case (if it isn't, I apologize)read it carefully - it is not eating of the animal that brings judgment, it is eating the blood of the animal. Read the encounter of Peter at Cornelius's house in Casearea, God gave all food for man to eat. No food is unclean. He gave animals to man to eat after the fall by the way also.

  3. Most likely no pets in heaven BUT I still like to speculate and hope that some pets will be in heaven for a similar reason as your pastor's: :-)

    "My thinking on this question is that it is possible that God raises up those animals that had special meaning in our lives, and that perhaps his resurrection of these creatures is part of the gift that God gives us in heaven."

  4. It just says God will require an accounting from every man or beast that takes the life of a man. It is speculation that the judgment of beasts will take place at the same time as the judgment of men ... but it seems a possibility. If there is judgment for beasts, what purpose would it serve if there is no punishment or reward for them?

  5. @ Keith...........That's exactly how I read it too, that the animals that have taken the life of a human being will be judged. Just how our Father will judge such cases is beyond my understanding.

    Do I believe our pets go to Heaven, Bob? Yes! I believe this because Jesus is busy making all things new and that surely includes our relationships with our fellow creatures. I don't think we have any idea how much damage was done to our world and perhaps the entire universe due to the Fall. Plainly our relationship with animals changed when death came into our world through disobedience. Because of the Fall, we've brought death to the animals and they sometimes bring death to us. Sin destroyed the hedge that kept us safe from their fangs and them from our weapons. It makes me weep to think of it, but I have hope in God's Mercy and the promise of Him making all things new.

  6. I love the diversity of thought here! Thanks everyone for weighing in! I continue to see the grays in things like this as I read your thoughts.

    The issue for me is the one that I opened the post with - I see no evidence that animals possess a spirit that survives death.

  7. Since I believe that God will restore his creation to what it was in the beginning, with a new heaven and earth, I believe there will be animals there. Whether they will be our pets is open to speculation. I think in the new creation God just may let us enjoy the animals that brought us joy in this life.


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