Posts Tagged ‘scripture’

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Animals in Heaven

August 17, 2010

This started as a Facebook status comment, but it’s too long for that so… this will have to do.

The question was whether or not animals go to heaven. I had a bunch of notes I’d compiled about this issue so I tried to organize them into relevant sections for discussion.

The bottom line is that I think there is a great deal of evidence that:

a) animals know God and he knows and takes care of them
b) animals praise God with the rest of creation
c) animals were created with the same special intention God had for humans
d) animals did not sin and fall like men did
e) animals are suffering from the fall of man with the rest of creation
f) animals will be saved by God and brought into his kingdom

So, here we go.

Issue 1: Do animals know God?

The evidence shows that animals not only know God, but they also praise and worship him. He takes care of his creation, including the animals.

Numbers 22:

21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road. 24 Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again. 26 Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. 28 Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” 29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.” 30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said. 31 Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. 32 The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.”

Revelation 5:

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

Psalm 150:6:

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.

Romans 8:19-23:

19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Psalm 145:

9 The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. 10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD; your saints will extol you.

Job 12:

7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; 8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. 9 Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?

God takes care of and owns the animals:

Matthew 6:26:

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Job 41: (Verses describing Leviathan)

11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.

Psalm 104:

10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. 11 They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

21 The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.

25 There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number–living things both large and small. 26 There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. 27 These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. 28 When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. 29 When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. 30 When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.

Psalm 145:

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.

15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

Psalm 50:

10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.

Issue 2: Do animals have souls?

I don’t know that they have souls like man’s soul. They have spirits for sure. They may not have been created in God’s image, but they are his beloved creation. God loves them and cares for them.

Genesis 1:30:

30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it (H5315)—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

H5315

nephesh
neh’-fesh
From H5314; properly a breathing creature, that is, animal or (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental): – any, appetite, beast, body, breath, creature, X dead (-ly), desire, X [dis-] contented, X fish, ghost, + greedy, he, heart (-y), (hath, X jeopardy of) life (X in jeopardy), lust, man, me, mind, mortality, one, own, person, pleasure, (her-, him-, my-, thy-) self, them (your) -selves, + slay, soul, + tablet, they, thing, (X she) will, X would have it.

Genesis 2:7:

7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (H5315).

Psalm 16:10:

10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. (NIV)

10 For You will not abandon my soul (5315) to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. (NASB)

Ecclesiastes 3:

18 I also thought, “As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?

Issue 3: Did animals sin? Do they have/need salvation?

The Bible does not say that animals sinned. Who knows – maybe they did. Maybe God has his own plan of salvation for them, in the same way he has a plan of salvation for us – but, he will save them! We know that animals are paying the price for the fall of man. They suffer with all of creation – and, they wait for salvation along with the rest of creation.

Psalm 36:6:

6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD.

Psalm 145:

17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. 18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. 20 The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. 21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

Romans 8:19-23:

19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Luke 12:6:

6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.

Genesis 9:5:

5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.

God creates covenants between himself and animals (as well as men):

Genesis 9:

9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

Hosea 2:

18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety.

Issue 4: Are there animals IN heaven?

Yep, there are!

Isaiah 65: (Describes heaven)

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.

Isaiah 11:

6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper‘s nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Revelation 19:11:

11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.

Revelation 6:

2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. 3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword. 5 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.

8 I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

Issue 5: Do animals GO TO heaven?

I think they do. Based on all of this evidence of how God feels about animals, and especially how they feel about him (praising him), how they wait for salvation, and how God will give them salvation… I don’t see how they could be excluded from heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:

18 I also thought, “As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?

Colossians 1:

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

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