Heaven is for people right? If you grew up in church you were probably taught that animals don’t go to heaven. But wait! Is that really true? Do animals go to heaven?

Recently I asked a few friends what they thought. As expected, those who came from protestant backgrounds believed they did not go to heaven. Those from catholic backgrounds assured me they did. But what does the Bible say on the matter? To my surprise I began to question my own beliefs on the subject.

Do animals go to heaven?

Animals are Gods creation and are unique in that only man and animals posses a nephesh, that is a living soul (Gen 1.20), and a ruach, that is the spirit breath of God (Ecc 3.21). We experience emotions, thoughts, and dreams by night. We have personalities, the ability to communicate, to reason and plan. We can even interact with the spirit realm.

Both animals and humans have the ability to do these things according to the Bible and science. Animals are not as dumb as we once thought. They too have free will to some extent. Take for example the story of Balaams donkey. It saw a spirit being, spoke to Balaam and chose to stop. Then it reasoned with him.

Humans are made to rule over animals and as such our value is different to God. We can kill animals but not humans (who are in Gods image). Yet does this mean they are not eternal?

The Bible clearly informs us there are animals in heaven. It also emphasises man is to look after animals. Yes we can kill them, but never inhumanly, Simeon and Levi were cursed for their cruelty to animals.

I will not join in their secret talks, Nor will I take part in their meetings, For they killed people in anger And they crippled bulls for sport. A curse be on their anger, because it is so fierce, And on their fury, because it is so cruel… Genesis 49:6-7

I have heard it said that man needed a saviour to be forgiven, and therefore animals are out of luck. Really? When Jesus came He restored all of creation and it now sings His praises. In restoring the ruler of creation He has restored all creation under his rule.

So will God surely destroy His creation in which life indwells? I like to think not. I would like to think animals go to heaven but it seems the debate is age old as the writer of Ecclesiastes comments

Who really knows if our spirits go up and the spirits of animals go down into the earth? Ecclesiastes 3:21

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