Monday, January 19, 2009



“Grandma, my cat Spike almost died when he got sick. We had to leave him in the vet hospital for almost a week for an operation and antibiotics. If he died, would he go to heaven?”

“God created animals different from people, Jeffrey. In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, we learn that He made humans in His own image. We don’t understand all that really means, but we do know that we have a human soul or spirit as well as a body. That soul or spirit will never die. It was made to live forever like God lives forever. “

“Do you mean that animals don’t have a soul?”

“They have a different kind of soul than human beings. God created them to live on this earth and to adapt to earth’s environment. They are alive and not like rocks or chairs. They can breathe and see and hear and move around and reproduce baby animals that will look just like them. But it seems that God didn’t give them the certain kind of souls that can adapt to life in heaven like humans can.

“God must like animals a lot because He made so many different kinds. Some are really strange like giraffes with long necks and zebras that look like horses with stripes.”

“Some animals are very intelligent and we can teach them to behave in certain ways. Animals can even be taught to help people like seeing-eye dogs who guide the blind. Have you seen the tricks that elephants can do in a circus?”

“Pets like dogs and cats and gerbils can love us and be our friends. And we can love them, like I love Spike.”

“I think God is happy when we enjoy our pets because He loves animals too. When He created them in the beginning, the Bible says,'God saw that it was good.' But their souls aren’t the same as human souls. The human soul is something much higher and greater. The kind of souls God gave us makes it possible for humans to have a connection with God that animals and other creatures don’t have. We can actually talk to God and God can talk to us. Our human souls are unique. Do you know what that means?”

“Yes—really special, one of a kind. We had that word in our spelling lesson.”

“Think about this, Jeffrey. Animals don’t sin. They may do things we think are naughty or bad—chew up your homework, make a mess on the carpet, get into a fight with another animal, or bite someone—but they are only doing things that animals do by their natures. They aren’t deliberately disobeying God’s will, so they don’t need a Savior. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for animals.”

“So I guess animals don’t have sins to be forgiven like people do? And they can’t invite Jesus to live in their hearts like humans can.”

“You’re right. Animals can’t worship God in the same way that we do, but who knows? They might praise the Lord in their own way by purring or meowing or barking. God understands their language. The same for other animals and the singing of birds. What we do know is that God made heaven for people who are friends of Jesus and in whose hearts Jesus lives so they can live together with Him forever.”

“Grandma, are you saying then that animals can’t go to heaven?”

“Jeffrey, let’s just leave that up to God to decide. In the Bible it says "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." Animals have breath. There are lots of things we can’t know for sure if Jesus didn’t tell us for sure and the Bible didn’t say for sure and our Church doesn't say for sure. God is God and He can do anything He chooses. Animals can’t go to heaven through Jesus in the same way that humans can. But He might allow animals we’ve loved on earth to be present somehow in our heavenly life as part of our eternal happiness. God loves all the good creatures He made. Since God created animals in the first place, maybe He would give animals some sort of life in heaven for the sake of His own pleasure and glory.”


“Because everything is messed up by man’s original sin, including the earth itself and all creatures, God tells us in the Bible that someday He will make new heavens and a new earth—Jesus will make all things new. Creation and everything related to it will be set free from sin and even the animals will be changed in their natures. They will get along with each other and they won’t harm human beings.”

“Whew! I guess I will have lots of surprises to look forward to since I have Jesus in my heart and belong to God!”



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