It’s been interesting how often this topic has come up over the past year or so. It first surfaced as we were preparing for youth thematic month last year, and going through the questions our youths were interested in. Besides other religions and life & death, animal salvation came in a strong 3rd in frequency. So it is not surprising that one would pose this question through our semi-regular segment, Ask Pastor Time, that just started this year.

Animals and pets have been a big part of my life. From my early formative days, I remember my family having an array of pets ranging from fish and terrapins, to parakeets, hamsters and rabbits. But it was only until I was halfway through primary school, when my tuition teacher’s dog had a litter of puppies, that I got my first dog, a cross-breed silky terrier, and my first taste of owning and taking care of an animal firsthand. Sadly, my parents made the decision of giving it away to SPCA when we moved around end of primary school. A few year later, eventually, my younger brother somehow managed to pester my mum to get a pure, toy-breed Maltese newborn puppy (from Australia), and we had “her” for 11 years, until she passed (mainly of old age, & jaundice) just 6 months before my wedding (and I was moving out again).

The Bible is not explicit on the topic of animal salvation. Animals feature greatly in the creation accounts, in fact, they are created before God gives Adam a helpmate, the first woman, Eve. Here we have the Adamic covenant, to rule or have dominion over all creation (flora and fauna). In some camps, this is known as dominion theology. In the early years of Israel’s birth as a nation, God establishes the temple sacrificial system, where animals are sacrificed in place of humans in atonement for their sins. Scattered throughout the Bible, there have been interesting and memorable mentions or God using animals in His grand masterplan of salvation history. The pairs of animals that were saved along with Noah and his family during the flood, the dove that bore the olive leaf after Noah sends it out after the flood, the ram that God provides in place of Isaac asked to be sacrificed by his father Abraham, the first Passover where the blood of sacrificed lambs saved the firstborns of Israel, Balaam’s donkey that rebukes him, the donkey that Jesus rode on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, etc.

Whilst we might not be certain whether animals go to heaven after death, it seems that they have a special place in God’s heart, and feature significantly throughout Bible times. Hope as much we can, ultimately we have to trust and rest in God’s sovereign and perfect plan, and know that whether we will see our favourite pets one day again lie in the hands of our almighty God, who created each of them by His will and word, for His glory and purposes alone.

Related links:

http://www.perspectivedigest.org/article/225/archives/22-2/the-salvation-of-animals

https://jamespedlar.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/john-wesley-on-animal-salvation/

http://www.academia.edu/6106098/C.S._Lewis_and_Animal_Salvation

http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/do-animals-go-heaven

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