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Will we see our four-legged friends in heaven?

Will we see our four-legged friends in heaven?

Maryann Gogniat Eidemiller doesn’t know the answer, but in her On Faith op-ed, she hopes they will be waiting:

I like to think that dogs, cats, and other earthly creatures can be present in the afterlife. I can’t imagine a paradise without the chirping of birds, the song of crickets, the majesty of horses, the soft paws of a beloved cat, and especially the loving eyes of a dog. I’m not saying that every lizard, dinosaur, cow and all animals that ever lived will be present. Rather, I like to think that in heaven, we will be in the company of the animals that had meaning in our lives. They will be in paradise for us because of God’s love for each one of us.

That said, I’m looking forward to being reunited, in whatever way it will be, with a lifetime of many loyal and loving dogs.

Gogniat Eidemiller goes over some of the differing opinions, along with why some Christians so strongly reject animals in heaven, and an exploration of scripture. Her piece also includes this:

Rev. Dr. Kamila Blessing is a semi-retired priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, and although the question of animals in the afterlife wasn’t raised in her seminary studies, it’s something that she has considered, especially after she had her own spirit-like experience with a beloved cat who made one last visit to her before he “died and went to heaven.”

“There is no basis to say that animals don’t have souls or a place in heaven,” she said. “God reaches people using whatever they have to work with. In John 10, Jesus says that he has other flocks. If you make that analogy with animals, they don’t have anything to work with rationally, but they are not assigned to live on the same level as we are, with our rational ability to choose God. The spirit of God is necessary to make life, and I can’t imagine him throwing away his own creation.”

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John Houghton

Part of what gives this ongoing discussion its energy is the continuing, and theologically sloppy, habit of phrasing it in terms of “in heaven.” If, after our deaths, our souls are consciously with God in heaven (instead of being, for example, asleep), that is still only an interim state. The Christian hope, and the Easter proclamation, is not, in fact, survival of the spirit in Heaven, but rather the Resurrection of the dead in a new creation. However difficult it might be to conceive of the souls of animals in a spiritual heaven, it is all the harder to imagine a new creation inhabited only by resurrected human beings: nor do the Scriptures encourage us to picture such a thing.

–John Wm. Houghton

tgflux

No Pets = No Heaven. [Q.E.D., pet-negative El Papa! >:-/ ]

JC Fisher

Connie

Famously, Martin Luther is quoted as saying to his dog, “Thou too shalt have a little golden tail!” The quoter in this case was Evelyn Underhill, who had an epistolary discussion with C.S. Lewis about this subject. She was firmly convinced we’d see our pets in heaven; he wasn’t. And my saintly piano teacher and crazy cat lady, Margaret Alexander, said that if her cats weren’t going to be in heaven, she would refuse to go.

[please sign your name when you comment – thanks, editor]

Eric Bonetti

The afterlife, if any, will be a great disappointment if those we love, including our pets, are not there.

Richard III

How arrogant of humans to assume that only they have souls and many, if not most, of the other creatures who inhabit the planet with them do not.

Richard Warren

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