Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Crowded heaven?

Over the last few weeks I've been asked about the option of animals in heaven. I was asked in scripture the last two weeks and then last Friday night.

In my head, i want to give a simple answer. Yes or no. Of course they do or sorry, nope.

But i can't.

As nice as it may seem, I'm not sold on the concept of our furry friends in heaven.

Firs of all, i usually respond with the question "can animals go to hell?" If you can only enter heaven by accepting God's offer of forgiveness through Jesus, can animals do that? Or, are they capable of rejecting God?

Another problem is the question surrounding whether animals have a soul? Or do they just posses a spirit? Is it the same as we have? Can animals ever be separated from God?

The Bible isn't clear on all the above questions. Unless you posses a massive amount of knowledge in Biblical Hebrew... And then you get a definite maybe.

Lots of folk point to the animals mentioned in the new creation or heavenly scriptures. Passages that refer to the "lion laying down with the lamb" can be explained as mere symbolic language...

But, my real sticking point is which animals get through the "pearly gates?" All of them?

Pets? Yep. Mammals? Sure. Insects? Maybe. Mozzies? Ummm

How about parasites that exist by living off other animals, causing them pain? There will be no pain in heaven, so how does that work?

I Dunno... In the end I sit happily in the knowledge of the following four things.

First, God is loving, just and infinitely more wise than me. He knows all the answers to the questions that bug me.

Second, if i say that there will be no animals in heaven and there are, then that's ok. I'm fine being wrong. It's not a salvation issue. Not even close.

Third, if i say that animals will be in heaven and they aren't, then I'll be in the presence of God (the real reason for heaven) and i suspect that I'll be getting by quite happily without them.

Finally, Ecclesiastes 3:21 says "Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?"

If the question troubled the Solomon-esque writer, then i will be comfortably confused.

1 comment:

Claire said...

Humans have always been markedly different to animals... God made us this way. So I dunno I reckon our getting into heaven and their not being another outworking of our dominion ofer them?
But even if I am not completely sure and sold on that reason... Animals can't profess a faith in Jesus. That's really all there is to it.