3 November 2021 |
by Stephen Ferguson
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?
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.
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.