Monday, April 03, 2006

All Dogs Go to Heaven

Listen, you can laugh at me if you want to, but I love my dog. No, I do not love her more than my family, nor do I hold her in higher esteem than any human being, but I love this dog nevertheless. I believe that this is a noble sentiment that the Lord God greatly approves of. He Himself delights in animal life, and I can prove it. First of all, Biblical sense dictates that this must be true because He created them in the beginning and called them good. Secondly, I can find explicit truth that God delights in the creatures He has made from Scripture itself.

Psalm 104 glories in the creation that God has made, and part of that creation specifically mentioned are the animals that He made to inhabit the earth. The Psalmist says that the lions, "roar after their prey, and seek their food from God" and that He put the Leviathan in the sea "to play there." Then the Psalmist prays that God will "rejoice in His works," which I believe that God does.

This is enough for me to believe that God loves the creatures that He has made, that He daily provides for their needs is another tip off that He is concerned for their welfare. In the Garden of Eden, part of the stewardship of Adam was that he name all the animals (cf. Gen. 2:19-20). He was given the stewardship over them as well; I can only deduce that this meant he was to care for them in some way (cf. Gen. 1:30). They were not expendable, worthless creatures. They were to be cared for and provided for by God's man.

I believe that this is why I have the fondness for animals that I have, especially those animals that are most loving of man. My dog has an undoubted fondness for me as well. She even knows when I'm in a bad mood. She's a good dog.

I further believe, because I am a literalist, that there will be animals in heaven. Behold the Revelation, all ye Left Behind lovers!

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war...And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses (Revelation 19:11, 14).

Here we have Jesus Christ coming out of heaven sitting on a white horse. Not only is Jesus riding on a white horse, but so is everyone in the heavenly army. If there are no animals in heaven, then where did the Lord get all those horses? And if the elect are a part of that host, then I may deduce that I have a horse to ride as well. And if horses are there, then why not dogs? They are noble creatures as well.

Perhaps you will blanche at such a literal interpretation of an apocolyptic text. Well, get over it. Jesus Christ is coming on a war horse and the hosts of heaven will ride with Him in one final, glorious charge against the forces of darkness. Charge of the Light Brigade indeed!

I had a dog when I was a boy named "Tramper." As to her breeding, she was an American dog. That means we had no idea of her ancestory, and as for love of a genetic "class" my family has historically been no respecter of breeds. This dog followed me to school, played with me at home, gave birth to multiple litters of puppies, and was generally one of the greatest dogs to grace the planet. Tramper died at a ripe old age doing what she loved best: chasing cars. She finally caught one, much to my dismay and grief, but much to her delight I suppose.

So here it is then, will Tramper be in heaven? I honestly couldn't tell you if that exact dog will be there, but I believe, sincerely, that there will be animals in heaven. I believe that they will be glorious ones who will exemplify the greatest aspects of our pets here on earth. They will be loyal, loving, and gracious, and they will enjoy our affections for them. If this is the case, then I will most certainly see Tramper, only I will see her magnified a thousandfold in all of her most outstanding attributes. Heaven is, of course, magnificent because Christ Jesus is there. The golden streets, the Father's house, the walls of the New Jerusalem, blooming fruit trees, the rivers, and yes, even the animals that I believe will be there will make heaven that much more heavenly. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

P.S. And whoever ran who over her without stopping, a pox upon you and your house!! That such a noble dog should have to lie in the street like a common animal is repulsive. She should have had her dignified burial immediately.


Jim said...

Just a suggestion, but I wouldn't preach this as a sermon. :)

Too many people might just think their little fluffy was waiting for them. It's bad enough with people giving their pets mini funerals, sheesh! Whatever happened to the good ole' shovel burial in the back 40'?

BugBlaster said...

A friend of mine was cat-sitting while his parents were away. Unfortunately the cat died on his watch. My friend's 4 year old son was heartbroken; grandpa's cat was dead. So they decided to have a burial. My friend took his son into the workshop and they made a cross for a tombstone and then headed to the back forty with their shovel. They picked the spot, and then the little guy asked the question. "Daddy, How are we going to stick the cat to the cross?"

Jim said...

Bugblaster, that is too funny!!

BugBlaster said...

But seriously, Brad, your last paragraph sounds like it's right out of C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle.

Interesting. I haven't really thought about it before, and I'm not sure if the best aspects of all the earthworms that I used for bait and mosquitoes that I've whacked and bats that I've tussled with will be represented in heaven, but it is interesting to ponder. Maybe it will only be animals with the "breath of life" (i.e. no creepy crawly bugs?)

Jeremy Weaver said...

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
(Rev 22:14-15)


LuvMyPuppers said...

Jim...of course our pets will be in heaven. By the way...God Bless You. :-)

Sojourner said...


You know, I think that maybe C.S. Lewis may have inspired that. I am currently reading Out of the Silent Planet, and I have read The Last Battle recently. Maybe I should have footnoted him.

BugBlaster said...

I think that The Last Battle is the best description of heaven I've ever come across.

Jeremy Weaver said...

I like the book of Revelation, Buggy.

Herb and Beth said...

OK Brad, you got me thinking. Who can argue against what you say "Biblical sense dictates"? I am a literalist like you so I'm trying to apply some good old theology to this thing. I'll buy your premise, dogs can go to heaven, or are in heaven, not necessarily any specific dog that we've cherished, but sort of a heavenly uberdog. (You're a little fuzzy on that doctrinal statement. It should probably be refined before submitting it for addition to the apostle's creed.) I'm not sure where dogs are on the sin chart, or if they need to be forgiven of anything to go there. I sure know of some dogs that are mean to the core. One of them bit me in the face as a child, and I hope that dog isn't going to share eternity with me. I wouldn’t feel too bad if it’s roasting in hell. Maybe not for eternity, that’s a little harsh, but for several hundred thousand years. But I digress. Anyway, so if dogs can go to heaven, some dogs must go to hell. Like Cujo, he was a really bad dog. Or Romulus and Remus more, on moral grounds than anything, I mean founding Rome, sheesh, that's pretty wicked. They say a dog guards hell (Cerberus) so he's gonna let them all in (you know how dogs are). Maybe some dogs spend time in limbo peeing on the clouds, or purgatory peeing on the flames if you lean the catholic way. But you seem more like a fundamentalist than a person that would buy into some of that stuff. Maybe all dogs go to heaven and cats go to hell? If so, where does that leave other domesticated animals like cows, chickens and pigs? I think we’re on pretty safe ground saying that wild animals go to heaven, but that would allow pests in. Maybe they become sanctified, you know, get the white robes and all that. Are cockroaches and rats considered to be wild? I don’t know. I can’t really picture them wearing robes either, but as they say “with God all things are possible”. And what about exotic pets? What the hell is gonna happen to parrots, boa constrictors and guinea pigs? What if the guinea pigs were abused by perverts and died in the process? Are they martyrs for the kingdom? And snakes? I just can't picture a snake in the heavenly multitudes. That kinda goes against the whole Garden of Eden thing doesn't it? But just for arguments sake let's say a snake (not an unsaved snake, a believer, aren't all animals beleivers?) has a serious moral problem, like say, compulsively masturbating, which is not just a venial sin, but a mortal one, probably, and I quote Father Phillip here "Obviously, a careful, prayerful, and thorough reading of the "Catechism" leads us to conclude that masturbation can be a "serious mortal sin", but we must also admit that the "Catechism" foresees situations in which masturbation may not be "a serious mortal sin." I guess he's not really sure how bad it is, but let's not let that throw us off track. So anyway, let's just say that the snake knows it's wrong to masturbate, and feels guilty about it afterwards, and if you think something’s wrong and you do it then it's a sin to you, right? After a time of prayer and fasting (which is easy for a snake because they only eat once every few weeks, but let's say he didn't eat first to bolster my premise) the snake overcomes his struggle with masturbation and gains victory over his sin. Does he get to go to heaven then if he's run over by a car while he's slithering across the road? That's probably a bad example, because how can a snake wank anyways, it doesn't even have any hands. And we Protestants don't buy into that mumbo-jumbo about mortal and venial sins and limbo and purgatory anyway. Man, it's all so confusing; you gotta help me figure this out.