Readers answer the question” Do animals have an after life?”

Pub­lished: Octo­ber 31. 2009 12:01AM

Are there ani­mals in heaven or the afterlife?

We asked read­ers this month about ani­mals in heaven or the afterlife.

 

Adver­tise­ment
 

Here is what you had to say:

 

 

Oh, how I wish when I die my dog Skippy or mycat Peaches would meet me at the gate and we would go on like we weren­ever apart. Life would be eas­ier to live if after death we could allmeet in a glo­ri­ous place and con­tinue on with the peo­ple and pets whopassed before us.

 

Unfor­tu­nately, I believe that is not the way itworks. When peo­ple and ani­mals die, they are kept alive by our fond­mem­o­ries of them and, in the case of peo­ple, our genes that ourchil­dren and grand­chil­dren carry. Sadly for all liv­ing things, when wedie that is the end.

 

– Vir­ginia Weaver Sabol, Uni­tar­ian Uni­ver­sal­ist Con­gre­ga­tion of Erie

 

 

Bud­dhism con­sid­ers all of life to be evolv­ing­to­ward higher con­scious­ness and sees non­hu­man life to be divine, jus­tas is human life. Ani­mals are seen to be an evolv­ing king­dom of liv­ingcrea­tures des­tined in time to attain per­fect enlight­en­ment. Therefore,to harm any liv­ing thing is to do injury to the divine. Since ani­mal­sare con­sid­ered to be trav­el­ing toward enlight­en­ment just as humans are,neither are they to be harmed, dis­cour­aged or ham­pered in theirprogress.

 

– Jim Hamil­ton, Erie Karma Theg­sum Chol­ing Tibetan Bud­dhist Center

 

 

I may not be able to prove that ani­mals do ordo not have the nec­es­sary souls that would bring them to the afterlife,but I will say that the after­life will be a very lonely and hor­ri­ble­place if our dear­est friends and “fam­ily” were not there to greet uswhen we cross over the veil.

 

– Groll­wynn (Christo­pher Tem­ple), Whis­per­ing Lake Grove, ADF

 

 

I do not believe that ani­mals go to heaven when­they die. The Bible does not teach on whether ani­mals have souls or ifthey can even go to heaven. The first book in the Bible, Genesis,states both man and ani­mals do have the breath of life (Gen­e­sis 1:30,6:17, 7:17 and 7:22).

 

There is a big dif­fer­ence between humans andan­i­mals. The dif­fer­ence is humans are made in God’s like­ness and image(Genesis 1:26–27). God also breathed into the nos­trils of man the­breath of life (Gen­e­sis 2:7). Humans are capa­ble of spir­i­tu­al­ity, and­fu­ture heaven is promised to mankind but never ani­mals that die(Philippians 3:20, 1 Peter 1:4). Ani­mals are a part of God’s cre­ative­process, and God said that they were good (Gen­e­sis 1:25). I also­believe that ani­mals will be a part of the future king­dom but it isim­pos­si­ble to say whether they can die and come back to life (Isaiah11:6, 65:25).

 

– Seth Crow­ell, Assem­blies of God, Erie

 

 

I don’t think that much about the afterlife,but it seems to me that with­out all of those that we have loved (andthat includes the ani­mals who add so much to our lives), that it wouldbe incom­plete. So, if Mor­gaine Imelda, Smokey Joe and all the oth­er­furry friends aren’t there, I’m not going.

 

– Mike Mahler, Erie

 

 

Of course there are ani­mals in the after­life. Ican’t imag­ine God deny­ing us one of his great­est cre­ations. Not a day­goes by that I am not amazed, amused, enter­tained and loved by one ofGod’s crea­tures. God did not put ani­mals on this Earth just for food orsport. Instead, he put them here for three other reasons.

 

The first is to enjoy. Who hasn’t admired abeau­ti­ful bird in their yard, and look at the mil­lions of peo­ple whoflock to our forests and parks just to catch a glimpse of an elk, deeror even a bear.

 

We also learn from ani­mals. Every day, sci­encedis­cov­ers another way we can learn from these crea­tures. It may be thes­tudy of the traf­fic pat­terns of ants or how bird migra­tion cor­re­spondswith the weather.

 

At last there’s love. That uncon­di­tional lovey­our pet gives you every day. They don’t care how you look, the mon­eyyou make or even if your breath is bad. They are there to greet andlove you after your long day.

 

No, I can’t imag­ine God not includ­ing ani­mals in our after­life. With­out them, we would be miss­ing the “life” in afterlife.

 

– Cheryl Wenslow, Unity in Edinboro

 

 

This may be the eas­i­est ques­tion I’ve had all­day. Just go to Rev­e­la­tion 6:2,4,5 and 8. I take the Bible at face­value. I’m sure John knew what a horse looked like, so there would beno mis­tak­ing it for some­thing else. Also, God made all liv­ing things. Ibelieve he can “talk” to all liv­ing things, and they have a way to talkto him. To say oth­er­wise puts lim­its on God. My God has no limiters.

 

– Bob Boyd, Immanuel Bap­tist Church, Erie

 

 

The church has no explicit doc­trine about ani­mals in heaven or the after­life. It’s a mat­ter of the­o­log­i­cal speculation.

 

How­ever, con­cern­ing “last things” the churchteaches about “a new heaven and a new Earth,” that pre­sum­ably include­san­i­mals (Lumen Gentium,48; Cat­e­chism 1042–1050). My wife and I haves­im­i­lar dis­cus­sions about whether or not ani­mals have souls.

 

Accord­ing to Aris­to­tle and Aquinas, they do.But they define “soul” very broadly as the “prin­ci­ple of life” or “life­force.” Peter Kreeft, pro­fes­sor of phi­los­o­phy at Boston Col­lege and apop­u­lar author, spec­u­lates that there must be ani­mals in heaven. Hisopin­ion can be sum­ma­rized in this sim­ple syl­lo­gism: 1. Heaven is astate of per­fect hap­pi­ness. 2. Ani­mals (includ­ing our pets) are part ofour hap­pi­ness. 3. There­fore, ani­mals are part of heaven.

 

Jesus didn’t say any­thing about ani­mals inheaven. But I often won­der what hap­pened to the don­key after Jesus’triumphal entry on Palm Sunday.

 

– Dea­con Den­nis Kud­lak, Blessed Sacra­ment Catholic Church, Erie

 

 

I believe there is a heaven for ani­mals and an after­life for them.

 

I act respon­si­bly and lov­ingly toward all ofGod’s crea­tures. Accep­tance, love, kind­ness, gen­eros­ity — all the­se­qual­i­ties can be true of the pets that share our lives.

 

I bless all ani­mals in my prayers, alway­sac­knowl­edg­ing that they, too, are being divinely cared for and loved bythe same God that pro­tects and loves all.

 

I give thanks for the pets who keep me andothers com­pany. More than just ani­mals, they are beloved fam­i­ly­mem­bers. These pets never need to be asked for love and acceptance.They are given with­out ques­tion and with­out thought of return. I givethanks for ani­mal friends and the joy they add to my life.

 

All crea­tures pro­claim their father’s power andtes­tify his love. All crea­tures are mir­a­cles and gifts from God, but Ibelieve because I’ve seen the mir­a­cle of love. These are theover­flow­ing riches of his grace. There is a heaven for all of God’screatures. They were here first.

 

– Rita Tra­bert, St. Stanis­laus Catholic Church, Erie

 

 

As Toto was in the land of Oz, so ani­mals will be in heaven.

 

That’s great news for most peo­ple, espe­cial­lyto think that in the place of per­fec­tion, there will be no more­ac­ci­dents on the carpet.

 

Ani­mals don’t have souls like peo­ple, so Idoubt very much that I’ll see my dog again. But ani­mals will be part ofthe new cre­ation of God. What was cre­ated in per­fec­tion the first timewill be re-created in per­fec­tion the sec­ond time.

 

The prophet Isa­iah gives us a glimpse into thenext life, where the wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the calf with­the lion. Ani­mals are part of God’s eter­nal cre­ated order.

 

In Rev­e­la­tion 21, we behold the Lamb, a name­for Jesus Christ. The time frame there is the eter­nal state. If ani­mal­swere not in heaven, no one there would under­stand what the metaphormeans.

 

Yes, expect to see ani­mals in heaven. You’ll encounter a zoo there like none on Earth.

 

– Rev. Al Det­ter, Grace Church, McKean

 

 

“The whole cre­ation eagerly awaits therev­e­la­tion of the sons of God.” Romans 8:19 “The world itself will befreed from its slav­ery to cor­rup­tion and share in the glo­ri­ous free­do­mof the chil­dren of God.” — Romans 8:21

 

From these state­ments in the Bible, we can seethat all cre­ation — plants, ani­mals, along with us humans who care forthem on this Earth, are wait­ing for their freedom.

 

Remem­ber how God told Noah to take the ani­malsinto the ark so they would sur­vive the great flood? It was out of his­great love for the work of his hands, the inno­cent ani­mals of which manis the greatest.

 

Thus, the ani­mals will also be liv­ing with us in heaven, as in the gar­den of par­adise, as their cre­ator intended.

 

Sin entered the world by one man Adam, but byone man, Jesus Christ, we were freed from the curse of sin and­cor­rup­tion. As we will live in the glory of God in his king­dom, so alsow­ill the rest of his creation.

 

God is love, and he wants the best for allth­ings that he made — all peo­ple, trees and plants, cats, dogs ande­v­ery kind of liv­ing crea­ture. The lion will lie down with the lamb. Inthe king­dom of peace, we will be united with God, and reunited with­each other and with our beloved animals.

 

– Ann M. Filutze, Order of Sec­u­lar Dis­calced Carmelites, St. Joseph Com­mu­nity, Erie

 

 

The Bible informs us that God cre­ated Adam andEve in his image and like­ness. All the crea­tures of the Earth, the­heav­ens and of the sea were made for our use. They were put here for­food, aid­ing in labor and pro­vid­ing com­fort­ing com­pan­ion­ship as pets.

 

I per­son­ally feel ani­mals are to be used and­fully appre­ci­ated dur­ing their life span, but after­life in heaven justisn’t there for them. Hav­ing said that, in all truth I’d rather select­some pets instead of some of the earthly “human losers” I’ve worked­with over the years to share my eter­nal reward with, that’s for sure.

 

But it’s God’s call, not mine.

 

– Leo Swigon­ski, Holy Fam­ily Catholic Church, Erie

 

 

As a Neo­pa­gan, specif­i­cally an ADF Druid, Iof­fer praise to the Three Kin­dred; the Shin­ing Ones, the Nature Spir­it­sand the Ances­tors. As all liv­ing ani­mals are part of the NatureSpir­its, when their bod­ies die and they leave this world, I believethose spir­its exist as part of the Ancestors.

 

The Ances­tors are not just of my blood (in the­case of a fam­ily mem­ber or pet), they are of spirit, too. There are­an­i­mals who are now extinct, or those hunted for food (and given thegift of life to oth­ers), for those that have gone I offer praise; be itsto­ries, songs, food, to show them I have not for­got­ten them, that the­yare appre­ci­ated, hon­ored and shown praise.

 

So, these beings will exist, as spir­its, as part of the dead, as a form of the Ancestors.

 

Per­son­ally, as for an after­life, I con­cern­my­self with the here and now. If we make vir­tu­ous choices, and doth­ings well now, the next life will be taken care of when we get there.

 

– Grey (Paul) Whit­tney, Snow Water Grove, ADF

 

 

God said let the Earth bring forth crea­tures accord­ing to their kinds, and God saw it was good (Genesis).

 

You fall in love with pets and they fill your home with love.

 

My beloved cat and dogs have been four-legged bless­ings in my life with their uncon­di­tional love for me.

 

They know when I am happy or sad. They keep my secrets and never betray me.

 

When my world fell apart, my pet was right atmy side, ready to snug­gle, lis­ten and with her eyes say, “Mom, thingswill get bet­ter soon!”

 

Since God cre­ated pets to be my very best­friends and com­pan­ions in life, I truly believe with all my heart that­God will greet me with my fam­ily and friends along with Lady, Flipper,Pumpkin, Bozo, Turkey-Bird and Rosie.

 

We will all cross the Rain­bow Bridge to be together for­ever once again in heaven.

 

– Rebecca Bliley, First Pres­by­ter­ian Church of Waterford

 

 

I do believe that there are ani­mals in heavenor the after­life. Ani­mals have a life of their own and have some of the­same char­ac­ter­is­tics a human has. Some peo­ple even con­sider the pet­they have as part of the family.

 

I know plenty of fam­i­lies that have buriedtheir pets and gave them a cer­e­mony just as they would for humans. Just­be­cause ani­mals look dif­fer­ent and are from the wild doesn’t mean theydon’t have feelings.

 

God said that he cre­ated every­one equally. Ibelieve this goes for ani­mals as well. A big rea­son why I believe thi­sis because of pain. No one likes the word pain and hates feel­ing it,and I think that’s how ani­mals feel about it to. They feel pain, jus­tas much as humans do, and it would be wrong to not think ani­mals go toheaven or an afterlife.

 

– Jeff Slater, Christian

 

 

I have always heard about the Rain­bow Bridge.It’s the place where all the pets you ever had wait for you in heav­e­nun­til your happy arrival.

 

Our rela­tion­ship with ani­mals has evolved over­the years. We used to be the stern mas­ter. They were in the doghouse,rain or shine. Grad­u­ally, pets moved into our houses, our beds, ourhearts.

 

Ani­mals have lived with me all of my life, eachone unique and pre­cious. I’ve felt the sting of being ignored by a cat­for being gone too long. But also there’s the ecsta­tic jumping,barking, wag­ging doggy recep­tion, too.

 

Jesus left us with the most impor­tant­com­mand­ment — to love one another. I don’t know about most peo­ple, but­pets have uncon­di­tional love for their humans.

 

Ani­mals have exquis­ite minds, big hearts and, yes, souls. Why wouldn’t they go to heaven?

 

– Sally Messenkopf, First Pres­by­ter­ian Church of the Covenant, Erie

 

 

The sub­ject of ani­mals in heaven, spirit andthe after­life is one that is very close to my heart. How could any­oneever doubt that which is uncon­di­tional love would not tran­scend this­phys­i­cal existence?

 

Every being is a spark of the divine. Look intothe eyes of your dog, cat, horse and see and sense that inner being.Feel that end­less joy and peace that all of our domes­tic ani­mals bring­into our lives.

 

I believe that dogs and cats live in the­o­rig­i­nal state of con­nect­ed­ness with being. They are here to help usre­gain that feel­ing of one­ness with our cre­ator. They remain in a sta­teof deep aware­ness with all energy and life around them.

 

I also believe that ani­mals can become our­spirit guides and guardian angels, and their love truly never dies.They com­mu­ni­cate with us tele­path­i­cally, also with their hearts.

 

As a medium, I have been hon­ored with their­p­res­ence and com­mu­ni­ca­tion many times. All ani­mals bring wis­dom, love­and peace. Open your heart today and allow that uncon­di­tional love intoy­our life.

 

– Rev. Brenda Beck, Namaste’ Cen­ter, Meadville
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