Scripture is pretty clear that there will be animals in the new world after He folds this one up. The Scripture says He knows about every bird that falls to the ground, too. God does care about animals. As a matter of fact, there are some churches that hold a blessing of the animal’s service. “God’s hand is in the life of every creature.”
Ecclesiastes 3:18-21: “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath (literally “spirit”); humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”
Job 12:10 “In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath (literally “spirit”) of all mankind.”
Genesis 9:9-10 “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.”
Genesis 9:16 “Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
Hosea 2:18 “In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety.”
Pets teach us many things about love. They are loyal. They love unconditionally. They long for our love. When we are sad or happy they too are sad or happy because they feel our emotions. Pets also teach us how to mourn. Their lifespan is usually always shorter than ours. We learn from a young age that if we have a pet, death is inevitable.
What is heaven to you? If it is a place of joy and happiness then of course pets will be with us in the new heaven.
The Bible indicates that animals will exist after His return and the beginning of the Kingdom as Isaiah 11:6-9 reads, “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. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Here is the Word of God declaring that animals will still exist in the future, after Christ’s reign begins.
Upon examining the scriptures, we just don’t have biblical support to say this with certainty whether or not our pets will be in heaven, however it does appear that animals will exist in the Kingdom of heaven (Isaiah 11:6-9).
If our pets will be resurrected or not, we just cannot say for sure. A more important question is if you, the reader, will be in heaven. It is pointless to ponder the question of whether your pet goes to heaven if you yourself are not there.
When it comes to our relationships with pets, we not only take them into our homes: We welcome them deep within our hearts. In fact, some become so attached that they yearn to be with their pets throughout eternity. C. S. Lewis speculated on the eternal fate of animals in The Problem of Pain, suggesting that at least tame animals might enter heaven through their relationship with humans, in the same way that humans do through their relationship with Christ.
Yet the Bible teaches that God does save animals. For example, God brought Noah two of each kind of living creature in order to save them from the Flood. God chastised reluctant Jonah about the need to save not only the human inhabitants of Nineveh, but also its many animals. Such salvation is not, of course, quite the kind invited by the altar call. Even so, it should not be overlooked.
God not only saves animals. At times, his covenants include them. God’s covenant with Noah included “every living thing of all flesh” (Gen. 6:18-19, KJV). In Hosea, God proclaimed a covenant “with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground” (2:18, niv).
I have to come back to what the Bible does and does not say on the possibility. We know that death of any kind was never part of God’s original plan, and that animals will certainly be part of the new heaven and earth, where death and tears will be no more. What we don’t know is whether these will be specific animals from the old creation, including those we’ve known and loved.
My own personal view on this question is that, just as humans are redeemed through the love of God, pets may possibly be “redeemed” through our love. 1 Cor. 7:12-14 speaks of the sanctification of a household through an individual; while it may be stretching a point to suppose that this household might include pets, it’s not a completely illogical stretch.
There could be a dog boarding kennel in heaven with our puppies just waiting for us to get there. It would be amazing if every pet we ever loved was there. No death, no illness, no pain. No more leashes when walking your dog. No more dog grooming ever needing done. One safe doggie daycare in the sky.
More to the point, I believe that God uses pets to help humans learn about love. From pets, we learn mercy, compassion, patience, and understanding and we also learn what it means to receive unconditional love. If pets are a means by which we are taught about love, must we assume that once we have learned the lesson, we must then be forced to lose that love forever? Shall we assume that God, the author of love, has so little compassion for us that He first gives us pets to love and then tells us, “Yes, well, I know that you really loved that little dog or precious cat I sent your way, but rules are rules?”
This is also a handy way to address the question of whether all animals, including that mole who is currently digging up your garden — go to heaven. If there is any sort of “selection process,” I believe that process is based on love. My love sanctifies my household. Your love sanctifies yours. It doesn’t necessarily sanctify the house next door.
The Christian concept of heaven is inextricably linked with the concepts of salvation, redemption, and resurrection. Christians don’t believe that “going to heaven” happens automatically; it’s the result of conscious decisions made during one’s life. While the Bible is very specific about the requirements for human salvation, it says nothing about salvation for animals. This has led many to assume that, since animals cannot be “saved,” they cannot possibly go to heaven.
Another way to look at this question, however, is to recall why the Bible states that redemption is “necessary” for humans. It is because, in scriptural terms, humans are “fallen” beings. Humans have free will, and thus the ability to choose between good and evil. Humans can choose salvation (and heaven), or choose to reject both.
Animals, however, have never fallen and if one has not fallen, it is not at all clear that the intermediary step of redemption is necessary. Animals cannot choose between good and evil. When animals behave badly in our homes, it is generally because of a conflict between their God-given natures and our human requirements. Animals have no need to be saved because they are not considered sinners.
This doesn’t mean that we can necessarily assume that because animals have no “sin,” they are automatically received into heaven. What it does mean is that the whole issue of “redemption” does not seem to apply. Whether animals go to heaven or not, the question of “redemption” does not appear to be the basis for letting them in — or keeping them out.
The only way to be sure is to make certain you can go there. Decide today to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and have the full assurance that you will go to heaven and receive eternal life. As for your pets being in heaven or not, the only way to find out is to go there yourself. That is my prayer for you.