Furry puppies, kitten-paws, and the horse’s mane possess a common denominator for me, they all have the ability to ignite an allergic reaction of hives, itchy-watery eyes, and a runny nose. To say I am an animal person would be the falsehood of any day of the year. Yet I love to witness animals and their ways.
My family never tires of looking for deer in our neighborhood or feeding the horses apples while visiting family in Alabama. I have laughed with friends at an occasional cat, YouTube video or Pinterest mime as well. However, when a person mourns the death of their pet, it is total sympathy not empathy that I offer. I don’t have a personal connection with any animal. Sorry pet lovers… please keep reading!
The beautiful animals that God created from the dust of the ground and with the breath of life as an initial offering of companionship to Adam share commonalities with man given by our Creator. First that we were all formed from the dust of the ground and with the breath of life. (Genesis 2:18-20) Next, our DNA is similar in that all living organisms have DNA strands or sequences made up of differing combinations of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). These chemical bases are combined in differing codes which combinations are found in all the living organisms we observe today. Just like the alphabet we use to form words and produce differing languages, the chemicals are not what separate us from the animals, but the exact combinations which produce different animal kinds and mankind. Finally, reproduction and gestation are primarily the same for mammals with the exception of the time of gestation differing between animal kind.
With all these similarities between mankind and animal kind there remain a few significant differences that place humans above animals. The primary difference is that God made mankind in His image and to rule over the animals of the earth:
The God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26, NLT)
To be created in the image of God is to possess the ability to love, be holy, communicate through a spoken language, to think, reason, create, desire immortality, have freedom of will, and possess a spirit that remains when our body dies. Because the Lord is a Spirit He had to take on a bodily form in the man of Christ. The highest of His creation, man, also possess a spirit that will be judged at the time of death. Consider reading more here and here.
Secondly, that Christ left Heaven and came to earth to save mankind from His sins. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost of mankind. When Eve and Adam ate of the forbidden fruit in Genesis 3, the result was the curse of death on all of creation and the entrance of sin into the world. Additionally, some animals which were all herbivores in the beginning became carnivores and omnivores post fall of mankind. This is pertinent here because we see animal kind affected by sin of man and the fall as well. However, we never see Jesus say that He came to save animals from their “sin” although He will make all things new when He comes again. (Revelation 21:5) Christ didn’t explicitly come to save animals and restore their relationship with God for eternity. He came for us.
So, what about animals? Will they be in Heaven? My answer is assuredly yes, some form of animals will be in Heaven based on the teachings of the scriptures. Consider the “living creatures” or animals that are” giving glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne” (Revelation 4:8-9) Additionally, God’s declaration that, “all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. Every bird of the mountains and all the animals of the field belong to me.” (Psalm 50:10-11, NLT) Horses are mentioned throughout Revelation and in conjunction with taking people to Heaven. Consider Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) or that the armies of Heaven ride on horses (Revelation 19:11-14). Finally, a favorite passage in Isaiah 11:7-12 we read of harmonious living between herbivorous animals (like the original creation of Eden) and man. Animals, some of which are presently carnivorus, including: bears, cobras, lions, lambs, goats, leopards, wolves, and cows.
I have no doubt that animals will be in Heaven, and assurance based on the accounts recorded by John in Revelation that some will be talking animals. (Revelation 4) However, we have no promises in God’s word that the animals which will fill Heaven’s streets and skies will be our own pets made new. Conversely, to this last point, God is the giver of all good and perfect gifts and He possess the power and the freedom to recreate your pets into a heavenly form.
The bottom line concerning pets and Heaven is this, God has created the animals for man’s enjoyment, for man to rule over, and for them to bring glory to their Creator. God loves the animals and mankind He created and declared His original creation to be very good. When the New Heaven and New Earth are established, God will produce an Eden-like experience once again and the inclusion of animals will be a part of that. Your relationship of companionship with animals on earth is a foretaste of the divine.