Friday, September 01, 2006

Do "all dogs go to heaven"?

Over the past 24 hours, I have received message after message about Ivan, and most of them seemed to contain some reference to the "rainbow bridge" or a promise that I will see him again on the other side. As comforting as that thought may be, I try not to pin my hopes to fluffy stories invented to console greiving pet-parents. I need something with a bit more truth to it. So, the question of whether I will see my beloved Ivan (and all the pets that have come before him, and all the ones that will come after) is a very difficult one for me. The way I look at it is this:

In Matthew, Jesus talks about God's provision for birds. Psalm 104 talks about God providing for all his creation. And in Deuteronomy, when God decrees a day of rest for his people, He requires that rest is also provided to their animals. So, clearly, God cares for the animals He has created, as well as the people. He even makes a covenant with them after the flood.

But do we know that they will be in heaven?

We know that there will be animals in heaven surely. Horses are mentioned specifically. In Revelation, it is said that "every creature" will give praise to God on the day when the Scroll of the Lamb is opened, so we know that our dogs (and bunnies and cats and any other creature you can think of) are capable of praise to the God Most High, and it would seem that they are also cognizant of his presence and His love. Even when Isaiah speaks of the creation of a new earth, wolves, lambs and lions are all included. So, clearly, we will see animals in heaven.

I would like to think that one day I will see my sweet little boy again. I would like to believe that he will come running to greet me as I pass through the gates. I would like to know that even now he is running, free of disease and pain, free of worry and sorrow, joyously celebrating the Love of our Creator. But I don't know. Because I can't find anything biblical that specifically mentions whether the animals we see in Heaven will be the eternal versions of the ones we see here, or they are newly created for that place.

I would love to hear your thoughts.


Glamorous Redneck said...

This is such a tough subject--especially when you are trying to comfort your children. I would like to believe that there is a place in heaven for our pets--as they do become part of our family--but I wonder if the relationship is the same? I suppose it's just one of those things we'll constantly wonder about until we get there.

jayne d'Arcy said...

I am so sorry to hear about your dog and all that your family has to go through. As to looking for something concrete, written down, about pets going to heaven, I can't help you there. I go on my faith and what my faith has shown me about my beloved pets that have passed. I remember the day my dad before my dad died, he told me and my brothers that he could see his father, his little brother, and our dog Lancer all waiting for him. It comforted him to know he wouldn't be going someplace scary. And, it comforted us as well.

I do believe that god has a place for the animals that we cherish, and for all animals.

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