27 October 2021  |

Read this essay in preparation for this class.

Excerpt:

A little over a year ago, my beloved Siamese cat named Inca tragically passed away. He was hit by a bus. Inca was the first blue-eyed “baby” my wife Amy and I had
Inca was an amazing pet who was very much part of our family. As is often the way with momentous events, Inca’s funeral prompted some interesting introspection. A major question being, “Will we ever see Inca again – do pet cats go to heaven?”

Whether it was the right thing to say or not, I told my small children that they will see Inca again when Jesus returns and establishes His new heaven and new earth. But was I right to say this?

When bad theologians hate pets

The question prompted a bit of Google searching. I would say the results were mixed. Many Christian commentators thought the gospel was a sort of how-to manual for humans to get to heaven. As such, animals didn’t have a place in the schema of salvation.

Other commentators were even harsher and suggested the question itself was blasphemous. As if it might somehow distort our understanding of everlasting life if we even asked about the eternal fate of pets.

Still others pointed to passages such as Psalms 104:27-29 or Ecclesiastes 3:21. These texts supposedly teach only humans have what many Christians consider an immortal soul.

Finally, others pointed out that only humans were made in the image of God, and it was as a human God incarnated Himself as Jesus. Therefore, it is only to humans that God offers salvation, as set out in passages such as John 3:16.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced these theologians and commentators are plain wrong.


Guest teacher:

Stephen Ferguson is a lawyer from Perth, Western Australia, with expertise in planning, environment, immigration and administrative-government law. He is married to Amy and has two children, William and Eloise. Stephen is a member of the Livingston Adventist Church.

Moderator:

 

How to join:

You can watch a video of this class here.

When:

ATSS starting time depends on where you are. If you’re on the west coast of the United States, it’ll be 10:30 AM. On the east coast, 1:30 PM.

Times around the world:

    • Reykjavík: 5:30 PM
    • College Place: 10:30 AM
    • Lincoln: 12:30 PM
    • Denver: 11:30 AM
    • Bracknell: 6:30 PM
    • Loma Linda: 10:30 AM
    • Nairobi: 8:30 PM
    • Gackle: 12:30 PM
    • Hosur: 11:00 PM
    • Waco: 12:30 PM
    • Tulsa: 12:30 PM
    • Helsinki: 8:30 PM
    • Stockholm: 7:30 PM
    • Hamburg: 7:30 PM
    • Cape Town: 7:30 PM
    • Madrid: 7:30 PM
    • Paris: 7:30 PM
    • Honolulu: 7:30 AM
    • Cooranbong: 4:30 AM (Sunday)
    • Perth: 1:30 AM (Sunday)

The class is intended to last about 2 hours, though the conversation often continues to 4 PM.

About our class:

  • The AT Sabbath Seminar is intended to be a courteous forum. We discuss and ask questions politely. We don’t accuse, get angry, or put people down.
  • Stick to the topic in both comments and chat discussion.
  • Make your comments and questions short—don’t dominate.
  • Keep your microphones muted unless you are called upon to make your comment or ask your question.
  • Indicate your interest in speaking by raising your electronic hand—under the “reactions” button.
  • Please use your name when you sign in! Not your phone number, not your initials. This will help us differentiate you from unwelcome guests who want to disrupt us. You can set your name after signing on by clicking on the 3 dots next to your picture, which drops down a menu.
  • If it should happen that we are attacked so that we have to stop the meeting, we’ll quickly post a new meeting link on our AT Facebook page.

We look forward to getting acquainted with you!

Coming up:

  • November 6: Michael W. Campbell
  • November 13 – Laurence Turner
  • December: Denis Fortin on Ecumenism
  • Stanley Patterson

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