The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973


The Universe: Q&A
'Do animals go to heaven?' (1994)

 The answer is a definite YES. John in Revelation 21:5 tells us, "Then the one who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' He also said to me, 'Write this because these words are true.' "

All things must include animals, so it is certain they will be in the eternal now, which will contain the past.

Mrs J Scowcroft (1/5/94)

Ecclesiastes 3: 19-20 says, "For that which befalleth sons of men befalleth beast as the one dieth, so dieth the other. They have all one breath and man hath no pre-eminence above the beasts, for all is vanity.

All go to one place..."

Mary Ragge (1/5/94)

The Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare has produced literature on this subject, part of which I quote here: "Animals possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren . . . animals are as near to God as men are."

Mrs Minton (8/5/94)

I think that anything created by God is "potentially eternal". Sin is a barrier to eternity for man and Christ is the only way to surmount that barrier.

Man offended against God but the rest of creation never has. The animal kingdom has no knowledge of sin. Jesus referred to animals and birds so often in his preaching; a dove descended at his baptism, he rode a donkey in his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

I don't know if animals have souls. All I can say is that I cannot imagine a heaven without them.

Miss Vera Howell (8/5/94)

Two wrong answers were supplied last week. Animals do not go to heaven as they are not humans and have not got a soul.

Kathleen Livesey  (15/5/94)

When Mary Ragge quoted from Ecclesiastes 3:19-20 to support her belief that animals go to heaven, she omitted the vital end of the verse, thus changing its meaning.

The full passage is: "For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other.

"They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity.

"All go to the same place; all are from dust, and all turn to dust again." (RSV)

The preceding verse says: "I said in my heart with regard to the sons of men that God is testing them to show them that they are but beasts."

In these verses the author of this book seems to question whether even humans go to heaven.

It is dangerous to read and interpret isolated parts of the Bible.

P Whitney 15/5/94)

The answer is no. All living things have souls - the soul being the animating and vital principle of life. In earth we have three degrees of life: plant life, animal life and human life. An animal has a soul but that soul is mortal, finite; it dies with the death of the animal. An animal, therefore, has no potential whatsoever for life after death. Only humans possess an immortal soul, made in the image of God. Only we have the potential or possibility, by God's grace, of entering into the everlasting happiness of heaven.

Rev A Winn (22/5/94)

Has the Rev Winn been to heaven? Does he know the mind of the Lord? All animals, surely, return to the love of God from whence they came. If you want to see your favourite cat, dog, horse or whatever, you will. Jesus Christ dwelt on this earth of ours, He was human like us, and God, the Father of Him and us, created the animals for all mankind. They committed no original sin - why would they not be in heaven?

P Ash (19/6/94)

Two extreme doctrines were presented in respect of this question.

First, and one that has been revived in modern times is that animals have rational souls. Secondly, that of the philosopher Descartes which states that animals are mere machines. St Thomas Aquinas addressed the same question and presents us with a teaching that stands midway between these two extremes. St Thomas admits that the animals have souls, by which they live and feel, know and desire the particular objects that are presented to them.

They possess memory and imagination but further than that they cannot go. They are not capable of forming abstract ideas and they have no free will. In the behaviour of animals, St Thomas states: "We see certain instances of sagacity, inasmuch as the animals have a natural inclination to proceed with the most perfect order, and, indeed, their actions are ordered with supreme skill". (1a, 2ae,q.13,a.2) He explains that this skill comes from God, the supreme creator.

For St Thomas, all operations of the animal soul are performed through bodily organs. The imagination and the memory, sight and hearing are sensitive powers but it is only the intellect and will which deal with immaterial ideas and act without material organs; intellect and will are lacking in animals.

Without matter they are incapable of operation and so of existence. So their soul is extinguished with the dissolution of the body.

Anon (17/7/94)

St Thomas Aquinas believed animals have a soul of a kind, but only for this world. We do not know the answer as it has not been revealed to us. However, Our Lord said the Father knows when one sparrow falls to the ground, which shows his great love for the whole of creation. He also said we are worth hundreds of sparrows, showing that we are different from them. I find it difficult to believe the wonderful relationship which so often exists between human beings and animals has no lasting value.

H. Paine (31/7/94)

See: 'Will there be animals in heaven?' .

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