Today I enter into a controversy that I cannot win. It is in fact, like sitting on a buzz saw: Do animals go to Heaven? Most sensible people, not controlled by their emotions, would declare that our time, talents, tithes, and teaching, etc., should be spent trying to get people to go to Heaven.
Please note that I admit that animals can be fantastic companions especially to lonely people. They are very important to the blind and efficient in apprehending drug pushers. They are often great as watchdogs and often beneficial to children. But dogs don’t go to Heaven. Neither do cats.
Les Kinsolving is an excellent writer for whom I have great respect, even admiration for him holding politicians’ feet to the fire; however, in a recent WND column Les went off the rails in a column advocating that dogs and other animals will be in Heaven! He was writing from his heart not his head. He was not driven by facts but by fantasy.
In his column, Les criticized Billy Graham for telling a child “We’re too busy with humans to worry about dogs.”
In his column, Les criticized Billy Graham for telling a child “We’re too busy with humans to worry about dogs.” Les characterized that statement as being “pseudo-orthodox cruelty.” I have been very critical of Graham in recent years but in this instance, Graham was right and Les is off base for calling it false orthodoxy (which it was not) and for calling it “cruelty” (which it was not). Should Graham have re-written the Bible to make a child feel better? I think not.
Les suggested, “If Billy Graham wasn’t concerned about animals at that stage of his ministry, his attitude then was surely unbiblical.” Here Les uses the old bait and switch approach. Because Graham does not believe animals have souls and go to Heaven, it follows that he “wasn’t concerned about animals.” Les is a better thinker than that. Moreover, Graham was not “unbiblical.” Les was.
The writer declares that there are many Bible verses that affirm God’s love for animals and he uses Psalm 50 as proof. There God reminds us “every beast of the field is mine,” but that does not suggest that God loves animals in the way He loves mankind. Then Les goes to Proverbs where we are told that a righteous man regards “the life of his beast.” Again, no suggestion that animals go to Heaven. Les is a fantastic writer but he is a poor exegete.
From there Les tries to get Christ to support his contention using Luke 12:6 as his proof: “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings and not one of them is forgotten before God.” However, in this text Christ reminds Christians that God is aware of even the hairs on their head (as well as the sparrows) and God will take care of us. Then He adds, “ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Again, not even a suggestion of sparrows, snakes, or snails going to Heaven! Nor cats, cows, or crows.
Then Les really jumps the tracks when he attempts the bait and switch argument again. He declares, “cruelty to animals is evil in Judeo-Christian ethics” which no one disagrees with. However, he assumes, ipso facto, animals are going to Heaven! It is one thing to protect animals from mistreatment and yet another to suggest Heaven for them. I suggest that Les not quit his day job to go into teaching theology or philosophy.
Then Les asks if the idea of dogs having souls is “any more outlandish than the once-scandalous idea that God even loves Samaritans and Gentiles, too?” He must be reminded that the Scripture in many places declares that “God so loved the world” and “whosoever” (not whatsoever) calls upon Him would be saved. Do the Dogs-in-Heaven people expect us to believe that every individual must repent and place faith in Christ but dogs, ducks, and dinosaurs get a free pass through the pearly gates? If your puppy goes to Heaven then every animal that has ever lived will be there!
It is impossible to have a meaningful discussion unless there is an agreement on definitions. Les provides his own skewed meaning of a soul: “All of a being except the physical; the character and the personality.” He then added, “On that criterion, I have known dogs who definitely had souls.” However, that is not the Bible’s meaning of soul. At the creation in Gen. 2 God created Adam and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” When He created the animals, there is no such reference. Animals have instinct, not souls or spirits.
Les continued his polemic with, “Sixteen hundred years ago, St. Basil, the bishop of Ceasarea, (sic) wrote the following prayer about animals.” I should think the animals-in-Heaven proponent could come up with a better ally than a priest who lived in the fourth century. Basil opined (without scriptural support), “Thou has promised to save both man and beast.” He did not get that from Scripture. The only place where the Bible speaks of animals being “saved” was in I Kings 18:5 when the King was concerned about the nation-wide drought and he wanted to “save” the horses because they were necessary for work and warfare.
Christ came to redeem mankind from the slave block of sin requiring repentance and faith, two things animals cannot do.
Christ came to redeem mankind from the slave block of sin requiring repentance and faith, two things animals cannot do. Lu 19:10 tells us, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Does “that which was lost” refer to animals? If so, then how do they prepare to meet God, and if they do not prepare do they go to Hell? After all, if animal lovers can posit the absurd possibility of animals going to Heaven, is it not reasonable to suggest that they can also go to Hell? If not, why not?
I remind you that during the universal Flood, God killed all the animals that were not on the Ark (no doubt including a few cats and dogs). God preserved two of each kind of animal to replenish the earth plus extras for sacrifices and food. I suppose I need to remind animal lovers that God commanded the Jews to make daily sacrifices of living animals in the Temple.
Les closes with a complete distortion of Rev. 7:15-17 to support his dogs-in-heaven position. Verse 14 identifies those referred to in the following verses as those who came out of “great tribulation” and had been washed in the “blood of the Lamb.” Speaking kindly, eloquently, and movingly of his deceased dog, he commends him (his dog) to the “Everlasting Arms.” Some might consider that blasphemous, but I think it was simply non-thinking sentimental balderdash.
Finally, Les gives a chopped up version of Rev. 7:15-17. I have corrected the punctuation and added the words of Scripture in brackets that Les left out. I have also put in bold and parentheses the words he changed. “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in his temple: [and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.] They shall hunger no more; neither (shall they) thirst [any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.] For the lamb which (sitteth in) [is in] the midst of the throne shall [feed them and shall] lead them into living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from (our) [their] eyes.”
It seems very clear that Les is suggesting that his dog is “before the throne of God” and serves Him day and night in his temple! Furthermore, he suggests God sits on His throne and “shall dwell among them” and “feed them” and shall “lead them into living fountains of waters.” What a preposterous scenario!
No—dogs, ducks, dinosaurs, or monkeys, manatees, or mosquitoes go to heaven. I’m kinda glad of that. I don’t want to scratch for eternity! God can have animals in heaven if he wants to but He did not create animals with a soul to move from Earth to heaven.
I suggest that Les stay with politics. He’s good at that but a disaster at theology.
Copyright 2009, Don Boys, Ph.D.
10 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.
How sad for you to feel this way. You make several quotes such as “every beast of the field is mine,” and claim “BUT God did not suggest these animals will go to heaven.” Where does God suggest he will not accept them into heaven???? Again, it’s all interpretation. That’s why there are so many religions in this world.
Many years ago I experienced death on the operating table while giving birth. I died not once, not twice but three times. I had an in-depth discussion of that experience only once and that was with a priest. I think I frightened him or he had little faith. I no longer talk about it but I can tell you this. I don’t know positively if animals go to heaven any more then I know positively that humans do. BUT, I do know they both exist and live on after death. That’s a fact and no one will ever change it. Not as far as I’m concerned and not as far as that Supreme Being out there is concerned.
You’re right, no animals are going to Heaven but you’re not taking this idea far enough. Man is only one “kind” of animal and there is NO reason at all that they should be any exception.
Let us remember that it was we humans who disobeyed the direct command of God in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were told not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:17). Every other beast (Dogs, Chipmunks, Alligators etc) do exactly what God intended them to do. Therefor they are innocent of sin. God did not have to send his Son Jesus to die as the ultimate and final sacrifice for animals because they are already obedient to God and therefor do not need a savior. As a person who has spent more time around animals than people I can attest to the fact that animals have differing personality’s just as individual people do. I can’t imagine Heaven being the wonderful place that I know it is without seeing my beloved animal friends I have known in this life. I’ll leave you with this quote from Will Rogers “If there are no dogs in Heaven, When I die I want to go where they went” Even if I haven’t been able to change your mind on this subject I would like to thank you for letting me voice my opinion on this matter. May God continue to bless You.
I agree completely with what you have said. Yet I think too much emphasis is placed on heaven. There is a lot to say about the millennium. Isa 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.
Or how about:Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Rom 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
Rom 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
Rom 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
I believe, even the trees are waiting for redemption. All was cursed at the fall of man, every living thing and although they don’t have souls they have instincts that tell them things are not right. even a tree stretches to reach for the sun and if something is blocking the light it will grow around it. I am not saying it has a brain, but it surely has the ability to understand it needs to change it’s position. The world is groaning and travailing. No, they won’t go to heaven but there will be a new heaven and a new earth.
What do you think?
“Do the Dogs-in-Heaven people expect us to believe that every individual must repent and place faith in Christ but dogs, ducks, and dinosaurs get a free pass through the pearly gates?”
What do they have to repent of? They have no sin because they are not in a fallen state. Did not the first animal die because of man’s sin? Would there have been animal death if man had not fallen? If not, then a just God will not punish the innocent for the sin of the wicked. Was not a lamb considered a proper sin sacrifice because it was blameless and perfect. Christ was the Lamb because His blood would permanently cover the blackness of sin that the blood of the innocent lamb could only hide temporarily.
Animals have suffered unjustly because of the sin of man, why would they not be recompensed by a loving and just God?
“If your puppy goes to Heaven then every animal that has ever lived will be there!”
How big is Heaven? Like God, cannot it be infinite?
Yes animals go to heaven. Why would God create animals and man if he is only going to take man to heaven. If he was going to do that he wouldn’t have created animals with intelligence too.
The book of Revelation mentions that Jesus returns on a white horse, and that His army returns on horses. The creatures around the throne of God are described by John as “looking like a lion” and so forth. If there are horses and lion-like creatures in heaven, I do not see why there would not or could not be cats, dogs, etc.
There are trees in heaven. If God permits trees, how much more would He permit living creatures who made us happy and who were on companions on earth?
I don’t see any good solid Biblical evidence that would preclude animals from being with us in eternity.
After the Second Coming, the Bible says animals will still be here, on the new earth, for the ‘lion will lie down with a lamb,’ and ‘a child shall place its hand in a viper’s den and not get harmed.’ That suggests that we will have animals after the present age is done.
Lastly, the Scriptures say that if I ask God for anything in the name of Jesus, it will be mine - so I’ve petitioned God in the past that He permit animals, including my pets, to be in Heaven, to exist for all eternity. So guess what? Animals are in heaven already.
I’ve heard from Christians who were pronounced clinically dead who came back to life who say that while they were in heaven, they saw animals (as well as human relatives who had passed away years before). One such guy said he saw his pet dog in Heaven who he had known as a kid.
Boys (the author of this editorial) said, “No—dogs, ducks, dinosaurs, or monkeys, manatees, or mosquitoes go to heaven.”
Mr Boys, you have no biblical foundation or evidence for such a dogmatic claim.
Boys also said, “God can have animals in heaven if he wants to but He did not create animals with a soul to move from Earth to heaven.”
It is irrelevant if animals have souls or not; God can do as he pleases, which would include transferring an animal from here to the afterlife. And as I stated earlier, the Bible already mentions that there are horses, lions, and eagle type animals in heaven.
The whole idea of people’s pet animals going to heaven is ridiculous! Animals are not people! They are basically extremely advanced machines. They are so high tech that they are alive and conscious of their surroundings! Only God is smart enough and powerful enough to make biological machines with intelligence. Imagine being able to build robots with artificial intelligence!But with all our knowledge and technology we still can’t do it. Animals don’t have a soul like we do. Believing that your pet will meet you again in heaven is like believing you will also reunite with your personal laptop computer, or your chevrolet corvette which has been in the family for decades. Once an animal dies, its consciousness is completely destroyed. Like smashing a supercomputer to bits. Any data it contained cannot be retrieved. That being said, animals will exist in paradise. Not in heaven where God and the redeemed and the angels are but on the restored earth. I choose to believe that he will once again recreate every kind of animal that he created in the beginning like dinosaurs and every other extinct species. Certaintly every species alive today will be restored to what it used to be in the garden of eden. There will be no more carnivores. So no man-eating lions or T-rexes.
Yes Jesus died for men, but nowhere did he say that when He created man that God saw it was good, animals, creeping things, birds and fishes and the earth and universe - he said it was good and in fact he said He repented He made man - not animals or earth in fact, not even the devil he said he repented of just man he change his mind about, animals deserve just as much as stupid man does who will either accept him or not, beside animals do not abort there baby like stupid human being do