This is a sensitive subject to many but I felt it really needed addressing from a Biblical perspective.
When you think of the reason why people love their pets one of the first things that comes to mind is unconditional devotion. They don’t desert us or talk about us. Even when they get angry and disappointed with us, they don’t hold a grudge. They are always glad to see us. They depend on us and give us something to care for – something we can pour into. We can be vulnerable with them without fear of being hurt. We often get attached to our animals for these reasons.
Ideally these are qualities we should be able to find in human relationships. Ask someone to picture the ideal friend or parent and you’ll get similar descriptions. We turn to our animals to get what people can’t or won’t give us. For many, people have hurt them so bad in the past, they prefer relationships with animals over people. There was a house fire in the city I work in where a dog was rescued. A photo that went viral showed a chief fire officer affectionately comforting the dog. One commenter online said (paraphrase), “I would go in and rescue the dogs before I would the people.” Others echoed the sentiment. I’m glad I don’t have to depend on them to save my life.
Naturally, those we love we’d like to see in heaven some day. From that we buy in to the hope that there will be dogs and cats in heaven. (Notice that people rarely talk about other animals such as skunks and snakes in heaven). We love to think that the best thing about eternal life is those loved ones we haven’t seen, or would like to see – including our favorite pet.
Some verses suggest there may be animals (Isa. 11:6-9). There will be animal like creatures in heaven but the descriptions of them in the Bible are so beyond what we have here on earth it seems crazy to us – 4 wings, 7 horns, head of a lion, etc. etc. Yet no mention is made about our specific pets being with reunited with us. The animals in heaven may not be earthly animals that have died and came back to life. These may be whole, newly created animals.
Of all the creatures of the earth only humans received the breath of God. Only people have had eternity put in their hearts (Eccl 3:10-11). Only humans were made clean by God-incarnate coming to die just for us. Based on that I’m doubting any other created item (animal or otherwise) on this earth will be reborn to be present in the spiritual realm of heaven. There may be newly created creatures, but not ones dead on earth then reborn again.
If anyone reading this has ever spent time in prayerful meditation or worship, and experienced the presence of God, or heard the voice of God speaking to you, I can tell you there’s nothing like it. It’s a combination of admirable, fearful respect, and peace such that even if you were to fall over dead you’d be over-joyed; an all-filling unconditional love. There’s nothing like it. When we’re in his presence eternally no one else there will matter. I don’t think anyone is going to be overjoyed by seeing a pet. I don’t think anyone is going to notice their pet isn’t even there. Things that brought us comfort and joy in this life (close friends, loved ones, pets) won’t compare to being in God’s presence.
Truth takeaway: As humans we are eternal. There is no scripture supporting that our animals have eternal life. When we’re in heaven, we’re going to be so enamored by the presence of the Creator Himself, other created beings will be a much lesser part of our concern.
Freedom takeaway: When we realize how good we’ll have it in heaven, in the presence of God, just being there. Why get hung up on what won’t be? 1 Corinthians 2:9 says nothing has seen, heard, or entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him.
For more reading and scriptural explanation on this check out this page.