Does the Bible say we’ll see our beloved pets in heaven?
Who Goes to Heaven?
Before we even ask the question of whether Fido or Fluffy goes to heaven, we must ask, “Who goes to heaven and why?” Most people who never set foot in a church I’ve witnessed saying, “I’m a good person. I’ve done enough good to believe I’ll go to heaven.” But I tell them that’s not the way a person is saved. What good are our works before God? They are simply filthy, despicable rags to Him (Isaiah 64:6). If you’re depending on your good works to get you to heaven, you are not going because no one can be saved by works. The Apostle Paul makes it clear that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). That’s really good news. How many good works would we need to do before we knew God would save us? How many is enough? I’m glad that’s not how we’re saved because we’d always be filled with doubt. So how do we get to heaven without being a good person?
Who Is Good?
The Bible tells us that none of us are good; not even one of us. Only Jesus Christ is good. And, of course, God is good; but we are not. The Apostle Paul, in quoting the Old Testament, bluntly says that “none is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10); “no one understands; no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:11); and all of us “have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:12). We can toss out the idea that we can do good things to get us into heaven. Jesus said we must repent and believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15), not repent and do a lot of good things. However, even though we’re not saved by good works, we are saved for good works. Paul again writes, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). No, we’re not saved by works; we’re saved for works. The truth is, none of us are good enough to be saved or can do enough good things to save ourselves. Salvation is fully a work of God (Acts 4:12).
What About Pets?
My question about whether pets go to heaven is, “Can pets repent and believe in Jesus Christ?” Of course not. But does that mean they can’t go to heaven after they die? Most Christians believe babies who die won’t be judged for sin. So why not pets, which are also seemingly just as innocent as babies are? The Bible is actually silent on this subject. We can see the existence of animals in the future kingdom, but that doesn’t mean our pets will be there waiting for us. We cannot say with absolute assurance that pets go to heaven because the Bible doesn’t tell us this. We can’t assume something to be true where the Bible is silent. And if the Bible is silent on a certain subject, I believe we must be too. We can’t speculate on what God’s Word has not clearly stated. Do I wish pets went to heaven? Of course I do, but I can’t prove to you that they will based on what Scripture says.
Do Animals Have a Spirit?
I believe pets have a spirit. But does that mean they can be saved? Solomon wrote, “For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 3:19), and “all go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return” (Ecclesiastes 3:20). This includes pets. But then Solomon writes something that’s been interpreted to mean pets can go to heaven since they, too, have a spirit. Solomon wrote, “Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth” (Ecclesiastes 3:21)? Who knows? I don’t. Only God knows what happens to these beloved pets of ours after they die. I think the key to the above verse is that man has a spirit, which goes upward; but the spirit of the beast goes down to the earth, meaning their spirit does not go to God after death like ours. We cannot say with certainty where the Bible does not say it specifically. I can only guess, but guessing is not how we find out absolute truths. All we can say is what Jesus Christ said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, they will yet live again” (John 11:25). I can’t find any animals anywhere that I’ve ever known or read about in the Bible where it can be said, “They believe.”
The most important question isn’t whether pets go to heaven but if you’ll go there. Unless a person is brought to repentance, which means forsaking and turning away from sin and then putting their trust in Christ, they will not be saved. It doesn’t matter who you are or what good works you’ve done. You must believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved. And if you are saved and you wonder about whether Fido or Fluffy is saved, you won’t know until you get there. I hope they are, but I just cannot say with certainty. I pray you can say with certainty that you have been saved because that’s the most important question of all.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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