By Reverend Paul N. Papas II
January 2, 2022
It is pretty well known that pets have assisted and comforted man for a long time. What happens when they need our help? Some are cast off, abandoned, or brought to a shelter. Some shelters only hold on to the animal for so many days before euthanizing them. In today’s throw away culture I expect euthanizing unwanted pets, animals, and humans to become more prevalent. Someone said “Rescue Dog does not mean damaged… It means they have been let down by humans” That may not be 100 percent accurate, however it does reflect the throw away culture.
How does the throw away culture bear a true witness to real love? If you deny our one Creator God; love would just be a word which some like to use.
Love is a verb, an action word. Love is not that tingling feeling based in lust.
Researchers are finding that pets truly have the power to heal their owners, especially the elderly. The most serious disease for older people is not cancer or heart disease, but loneliness. (1)
When Mr. Shadow entered our home over fifteen years ago this cat could jump six foot high fences at a single bound. He was a playful, loyal, loving gentle soul. If he didn’t trust a person or two at the door he would sit or lay down between me and the person at the door. When needed he growled like a Sheppard, which none dare challenge.
Some months ago things started to change for Mr. Shadow. The first of the two signs I remember is his lack of interest in his favorite treat and he began to walk back and forth. (2) He got to the point where he had trouble walking or doing other common tasks. He received all the assistance he needed to eat and accomplish other common tasks right to the end. At sixteen and a half years he passed away in my arms on December 6, 2021. I am glad he was not alone.
His furry friend (Mittens) of about fifteen years misses him as well. I tell her we’ll just have to wait until we get to Heaven to see him again.
“Scripture does not conclusively tell us whether our pets will make it to Heaven. However, the Bible does provide us with some significant clues regarding whether or not animals will inhabit the new heaven and the new earth.
First, animals populated the Garden of Eden. Thus, there is a precedent for believing that animals will populate Eden Restored as well. Animals are among God’s most creative creations. Thus, it would seem incredible that he would banish such wonders in Heaven.
Furthermore, while we cannot say for certain that the pets we enjoy today will be “resurrected” in eternity; I am not willing to preclude the possibility. Some of the keenest thinkers from C. S. Lewis to Peter Kreeft are not only convinced that animals in general but those pets in particular will be restored in the resurrection. If God resurrected our pets, it would be in total keeping with his overwhelming grace and goodness.
Finally, the Scriptures from first to last suggest that animals have souls. Both Moses in Genesis and John in Revelation communicate that the Creator endowed animals with souls. In the original languages of Genesis 1:20 and Revelation 8:9, nephesh and psyche respectively refer to the essence of life or soul. Not until Descartes and Hobbes and the Enlightenment did people think otherwise about animals. However, because the soul of an animal is qualitatively different from the soul of a human there is reasonable doubt that it can survive the death of its body. One thing is certain: Scripture provides us with sufficient precedence for believing that animals will inhabit the new heaven and new earth. In the words of Isaiah: “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).” (3)
“God has a special reason and place for each of His created beings. Animals, too, have a purpose in God’s creation. Man, as the highest order of creation, has been given dominion over the animal kingdom (Genesis 1:26-28).
We believe that animals were intended for man’s enjoyment and use. The Bible itself does not indicate that there is life after death for animals. It may be that God’s purpose for animals is fulfilled on this earth. However, if animals would make us happier in heaven, surely there will be a place for them there.” (4)
Mr. Shadow exhibited and received unconditional love. Unconditional love is what our Creator God has for each of us. Individuals are free to accept God’s unconditional love or reject it.
Mr. Shadow was a joy and brought us a lot of happiness.
Happiness is rooted in circumstance. Happiness doesn’t bring joy, and joy isn’t the byproduct of happiness. Joy is an attitude of the heart. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and when we find joy it will be with comfort and wrapped in peace. It’s an attitude of the heart and spirit, often synonymous with but not limited to following Christ Jesus and pursuing a Christian life.
Our Creator God who can make the stones cry out and made a donkey speak certainly can use Mr. Shadow or others like him to evangelize God’s love to the world,
The world needs more Mr. Shadows to overcome the God deniers.
Some related scriptures of animals in heaven: Genesis 1:24, Genesis 1:25, Psalms 24:1, Psalms 145:21, Proverbs 12:10, Ecclesiastes 3:1, Ecclesiastes 3:21, Isaiah 11:6-9, Isaiah 65:25, Matthew 10:29, Luke 3:6, Acts 3:19-21, Romans 8:19-22, 1 Corinthians 2:9, Revelation 5:13, Revelation 19:11, Revelation 19:14