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Some years ago, my family adopted a kitten. He was so gray—even his eyes—that we named him Charcoal. We took to him right away, and he became our faithful companion and friend, living with us for years, moving with us three times. Like one of the family, he loved us and we loved him.

One sunny morning, we let Charcoal out to romp in our yard, one of his favorite pastimes. Later, when we called him, he was nowhere to be found. We searched the neighborhood, calling his name. We made signs and posted them. We advertised in the newspaper. Finally, someone answered our ad and explained that Charcoal had been hit by a car not far from our home. Not knowing who the owner was, the person who found him had kindly disposed of his body. And that was the end of poor Charcoal.

Or was it? Do you ever wonder if animals have an afterlife? Have you ever had a beloved pet die? Will you see your pet in heaven?

People generally assume not. The Bible certainly doesn’t teach it. But the Bible doesn’t deny it either. And the Bible does teach some other things that might bear on the question.

For one thing, the Bible teaches that animals aren’t guilty of sin. It was human sin, not theirs, that caused God to place a curse on creation, subjecting all living things to frustration and eventual death.[1] That’s because God created the first human, Adam, in a position of responsibility over the world. When Adam disobeyed God, he did so as head of humanity and the world. This is why the consequences of sin—including death—came not just upon Adam, but upon his descendants and the whole earth.

But the good news is that God has sent a “second Adam.” The Bible says that just as sin and death came into the world through the first Adam, forgiveness and eternal life come into the world through the “last Adam,” the God-man, Jesus Christ.[2] The Bible says that all things continue to hold together in Christ.[3] And according to his eternal plan, God will gather together all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.[4] God’s covenant promise to Noah embraced even the animal kingdom.[5] Ultimately, Jesus Christ is the One who fulfills that promise. Through him, the whole creation itself will share in the glorious liberty of the children of God.[6]

Will that include our specific animal friends, like Charcoal? Will our pets go to heaven? I’d like to hope so. But the fact is, I don’t know. I do know this, though. You definitely will not see your pet in heaven unless you go there yourself!

Are you going to heaven? That’s the real question! And you don’t have forever to answer it. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”[7] Are you ready? Are you going to heaven? Now is the time for you to make sure!

Scripture references: [1] Romans 8:20, [2] 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 45, [3] Colossians 1:16-17, [4] Ephesians 1:9-10, [5] Genesis 9:8-17, [6] Romans 8:18-22, [7] Hebrews 9:27

Written by Larry Wilson and reposted from OPC.ORG