Feb 18, 2010
My cat, Beetle, had lived eight years and had fought for his life for eight days. He was not going to win. A tumor blocking his liver function was claiming the victory. The vet was gentle and assured us Beetle would feel no pain from the injection that would take his life. In seconds, Beetle went from being a creature with personality and emotion, looking me in the eye, to a limp bundle of fur. That moment, I knew that Beetle didn’t just disappear. He lived on.
There is strong Scriptural support that animals go to Heaven when they die—not proof, but evidence. Of course, animals are not in need of redemption like humans, so they're not going to be born again by faith, but they groan because of the fall and look forward with eager anticipation to our glorification (Romans 8:22-23).Would they look forward with eager anticipation to something they will never see or experience? I don’t think so.
Animals were first created to be our companions (Gen 2:18-19) and were not eaten by man until after the flood. God saw that Adam needed a companion, so he created the animals before He created Eve. In the Garden of Eden, humans did not eat animals nor did they eat each other. Before man’s fall, there was no death.
In Numbers 22:28 where Balaam’s donkey speaks it reads, "Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth ..." It doesn't say, "And the Lord spoke through the donkey." God simply opened her mouth and she said what she wanted to, revealing real emotions, real thoughts, and even spiritual insight (e.g., she was afraid of the angel).
In the Hebrew, the word translated "living creature" is the same word translated in other places as “spirit.” It is even translated at times as the “Holy Spirit.”
In Ecclesiastes 3:21 it says, "Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?" This Scripture implies that, even if we don’t know where it goes, animals have spirits just like we do.
Also food for thought: Jesus returns from Heaven on a great white horse.
However, for me, the clincher is in 1 Corinthians 15:39-44 where the Bible talks about the resurrection body. It says that there are many types of flesh or bodies (v.39 NRSV: “Not all flesh is alike, but there is one flesh for human beings, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.” I particularly like The Message: “Just as there are different kinds of seeds, there are different kinds of bodies—humans, animals, birds, fish—each unprecedented in its form.” Then ... v44: NRSV: “It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.” —emphasis mine)
I believe that I will see Beetle in Heaven one day. You, too, can take comfort in the evidence Scripture gives us that animals live on.
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