What Does The Bible Say About Animals After Death?
What happens to our pets when they pass away? Will we see them again in Heaven? And what about the house fly that we smashed with the flyswatter yesterday? Will he be bothering us in Heaven too?
These are some common questions that we wonder about.
What does the Bible say about animals going to Heaven?
I’ll first say that the Bible doesn’t give us the exact details of what Heaven will be like. Paul tells us that while we’re here on earth, we can’t see or know everything. We see life as though we’re looking through a dimly lit mirror. We can figure out some things, and take an educated guess, but we can’t know everything.
I also understand that different people have had visions and experiences related to Heaven. Some of those experiences are valuable, but in this post I’m going to focus on what we can learn from the Bible.
Here’s what we do know about animals, based on the Bible:
- God values animals and knows when they pass away
- Heaven is a perfect place without disappointment
- God created animals in the Garden of Eden
- Animals don’t have souls or spirits
- There are animals in Heaven
Animals were created differently than humans
The first thing we should recognize is that there’s a clear difference between animals and human beings. When God created animals, He spoke them into creation.
"And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:20-25 NIV
We can see here that when God created animals, He had a purpose for them. God created all sorts of unique animals, and then He blesses them. God saw the animals that He created and declared that it was good.
What God didn’t do is crate any animals in His image. Human beings are the only creates that were created in the image of God. But, that certainly doesn’t mean God doesn’t care about the animals He created.
Adam and Eve had companionship with animals
Before sin entered the world it was a perfect place. There was no death. No animals or people died for any reason, which was God’s original intent for the world.
After creating them, God sends the animals to Adam so he can name them. This shows us that in the perfect world, humans and animals had interactions and some type of relationship. Our connection to animals will never be as deep or meaningful as our human relationships, but we know they’re still important.
God knows when animals die
Believe it or not, God is never too busy. We have a hard time wrapping our head around that fact that God knows everything. I struggle to memorize a list of groceries, but God sees and knows everything. In Matthew 10, Jesus says this:
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care."
Matthew 10:29 NIV
Animals and pets aren’t just important to us, they’re also important to God
We see that sparrows are worthless in the eyes of humans. They’re only worth half a penny. But they’re valuable in God’s eyes. He notices when a single sparrow dies. Jesus continues saying that we are much more valuable than the sparrow, but the sparrow is still valuable and important to God.
If you’ve lost a pet, you should know that God knows your heartache and will provide the comfort and perfect peace you need.
Animals are described in Heaven
Animals are mentioned in some of the descriptions of Heaven, which leads us to believe that some animals will be there. This makes sense considering animals were present in the Garden of Eden, which is a glimpse of what we’ll experience in Heaven.
"The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] 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, and 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." Isaiah 11:6-9 NIV
In this passage of Scripture, we can see that our interactions with animals in Heaven will be even better than it is here on earth. Animals won’t be violent or try to harm people like they do here. Even an infant can play with a cobra, and stick their hands in a snake nest without fear.
There will be animals in Heaven, and they’ll be even better than here on earth.
Animals don’t have eternal souls
Humans are unique because we have eternal souls. When God created Adam, He breathed the breath of life into him. That didn’t happen for any other creature.
What does that mean?
For humans, it means our souls go on to live in eternity when our physical body passes away.
Since animals don’t have an eternal soul, when their physical body dies, they no longer exist. That doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be in Heaven with us. We’re just not sure.
When God created animals, He created them to interact with the physical world. And angels were created to interact with the spiritual world. Since humans have a physical body as well as a spirit and soul, we can interact with both the physical and spiritual world.
Heaven is a perfect place
My last point is this: Heaven is perfect.
You will experience the fullness of joy without any disappointment.
We can rest assured that we don’t need to worry about missing our pets and animals when we get to Heaven.
“Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 7:15-17 ESV
When a young girls asked Billy Graham if she would see her dog in Heaven, this was his response:
“If it would make you any happier, then yes, he will be.”
We deal with a lot of pain and sorrow during our time here on earth, so we should be thankful that Heaven is filled with perfection and every tear will be wiped away.