Will Fido Follow You To Heaven?

Many have endeavored to resolve this discussion yet I find many people are still undecided. I, myself, am still undecided, though I lean towards no. I thought that maybe my position might be the most rational but after a short survey of twitter followers it seems as though I have been outnumbered.



What does the Bible have to say about our pets?

Sadly, the biblical writers did not concern themselves very much with pets. Most likely because they did not have pets in the same way we do today. In fact, most animals back then were used as food or work tools. But is it possible that God had a higher purpose for animals? After all, they were initially created in an effort to find a partner for Adam.

This is a difficult issue because we are not talking about regular life on earth. We are speaking of a future space and time which we do not know much about. What we do know is a bit confusing because the information seems to conflict. For example, we see in the first letter to the Thessalonians that when Jesus returns those who are “asleep” in Christ will be risen to new life and meet Him in the sky.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)

It would seem as though those who were not followers of Christ (which would likely include animals) will remain in the grave. Furthermore, the passage seems to indicate that perhaps those who rise to life in Christ might not be staying on the planet. This is further evidenced by certain NT authors discussing the topic of heaven and Jesus.

Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2,3)

But we also know that certain passages in the NT make it seem as though God and His people will dwell in a newly re-created earth. If this is the case then I would see it much more likely to have animals still alive, although that is not to say that the soul of your old pet is reanimated in this new world.

“But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29)

We also have indication that we will have a new physical body when we get to heaven, wherever it might be.

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)

In addition to receiving new bodies we are also going dwell in a new earth!

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.” (Revelation 21:1)

Treatment of animals in the Bible

This would be a good time to talk not just about what heaven might be like or who might be in it, but to also see if the Bible gives any indication weather or not they should be treated as if they were human. Whether or not we will have animals in heaven or in the new earth does not yet answer the question of whether or not the animals who have passed away will be raised to new life. That is the real question.

While there are things we don’t know yet, there are things that we DO know. Let us examine them now.

  1. Some have used God’s killing of the first animal as proof that their life does not matter.
    1. “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).
    2. This is not a compelling argument since God also killed many humans.
  2. The sacrificial system was one by which animals were used as payment or for ceremonial practices. No such thing was ever done with humans.
    1. This is a fair point and we should note that throughout the OT God never once care for the animals like he did for humans.
      1. Though, one could fairly state that Jesus’ own words counter that point. Yet, at the same time Jesus notes that humans are of a higher status. “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?” (Matthew 6:26)
  3. Only humans were made in God’s image.
    1. Presumably, only humans have souls since they were made like God.
  4. Jesus once killed an entire herd of pigs with no reason or remorse (Mark 5:12).
  5. God commanded mankind to have dominion over the animals.
    1. Probably signifies that animals and humans are not on equal footing.

Probably more could be said on this matter but I don’t want to be too long winded.


While it is hard to be sure on this issue, since this is one of the topic the Bible does not really discuss intentionally, I believe we should consider the following. First, we have no evidence showing that animals have souls that can carry on after their flesh is gone. Secondly, if all the animals that ever lived were going to heaven and heaven is eventually going to be the renewed earth, we might have a space issue. recall that the dinosaurs would all come back as well. Secondly, even though there will eventually be a new earth and likely will have animals, the Bible does not say that these animals will be the renewed animals that once lived. It’s perfectly acceptable to believe that these animals are soul-less animals and when they too pass away another will take it’s place. Lastly, if God is going to have certain animals in heaven and not others, like our pets, we have a fine line to draw. At what level is an animal a pet? My father grew up on a farm and sometimes your pets became your food. Do they also get reanimated in heaven? Just asking the question.

In conclusion I do not believe that animals have a strong case for being in heaven, even though I would LOVE to see my sweet little Terra Byte (she’s a pit bull) greet me on the way in.


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