Will pets or other
animals be in heaven?
Q. Will our pets be in Heaven with us? Do ANIMALS in general go to heaven when they die and if not, will animals exist after Jesus returns to the earth?
(Submitted by: Victor)
A. You asked about whether there would be animals or pets in heaven. The first issue to consider is whether there would be even HUMANS in heaven! Notice that righteous ("meek") Christians were promised they would inherit THE EARTH, not heaven, when Jesus gave his well-known message called the Sermon on the Mount:
"And seeing the multitudes, He (Jesus) went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
“'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall INHERIT THE EARTH.' " (Matthew 5:1-5, NKJV throughout)
Jesus was the ONLY person who had ascended to heaven and had returned (John 3:13) at the time He spoke to Nicodemus. Even after the resurrection of Jesus, King David had not ascended to heaven, according to Peter:
“'Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both DEAD and BURIED, and his tomb is with us to this day . . . For David did NOT ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: . . .'" (Acts 2:29, 34)
Another issue is that nature is not an end in itself, unlike what many religious and philosophical environmentalists believe. Rather, the world of plants and animals serves the purposes of the master plan of God, who created nature for His overriding purposes.
Notice, for example, that when the new heavens and new earth are made that there is no longer any sea:
"Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was NO MORE SEA." (Revelation 21:1)
Presumably, then, there will be no more whales or even fish. It may be that "saving the whales" from men driving them into extinction (not to say that's a good idea!) would only give them (say) a 1,100 year or so reprieve.
There will be animals in the millennium, with the carnivores made pacific (see Isaiah 11:6-9), such as lions eating straw like oxen. But they will be ON EARTH, not in heaven. Heaven is a realm for spirit beings only and not for flesh-based life like animals that have no "spirit in man" (cf. 1Corinthians 2:11) that will preserve their forms of consciousness. Men will live with them on earth, but not in the eternal state after the new heaven and new earth are made (which is the most mysterious aspect of the Bible's revelation, I think).