Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Do Animals Go to Heaven?

The Bible’s answer

The Bible teaches that out of all the creatures on earth, only a limited number of humans will go to heaven. (Revelation 14:1, 3) They go there to rule as kings and priests with Jesus. (Luke 22:28-30; Revelation 5:9, 10) The vast majority of humans will be resurrected to life on a paradise earth.—Psalm 37:11, 29.

There is no mention in the Bible of a pet heaven or dog heaven—and for good reason. Animals cannot take the steps needed to qualify for “the heavenly calling.” (Hebrews 3:1) These steps include taking in knowledge, exercising faith, and obeying God’s commands. (Matthew 19:17; John 3:16; 17:3) Only humans were created with the prospect of living forever.—Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:22, 23.

To go to heaven, earthly creatures must be resurrected. (1 Corinthians 15:42) The Bible mentions a number of resurrections. (1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:32-37; 13:20, 21; Luke 7:11-15; 8:41, 42, 49-56; John 11:38-44; Acts 9:36-42; 20:7-12) However, every one of them involved humans, not animals.

 Do animals have souls?

No. The Bible says that both animals and humans are souls. (Numbers 31:28) When the first man, Adam, was created, he was not given a soul but “became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7, footnote) A soul is composed of two things: the “dust from the ground” and “the breath of life.”

 Can souls die?

Yes, the Bible teaches that souls can die. (Leviticus 21:11, footnote; Ezekiel 18:20) At death, animals and humans return to the dust of the earth. (Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20) In other words, they cease to exist. *

 Do animals sin?

No. To sin means to think, feel, or do something that violates God’s standards. In order to sin, a creature must be able to make moral decisions, but animals lack this ability. They usually act according to instinct during their limited life span. (2 Peter 2:12) At the end of their life span, they die, even though they do not sin.

 Is animal cruelty acceptable?

No. God gave humans authority over the animals but not the right to mistreat them. (Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8:6-8) God cares about the welfare of each animal—including small birds. (Jonah 4:11; Matthew 10:29) He commanded his worshippers to treat animals considerately.—Exodus 23:12; Deuteronomy 25:4; Proverbs 12:10.

^ par. 13 For more information, see chapter 6 of the book What Can the Bible Teach Us?