- Religion and Philosophy»
- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
Do All Dogs Really Go to Heaven?
The First Premise
The answers you will get will be as varied as the number of people that you ask. To answer the question let’s start with the basic assumption that there is indeed a heaven. Most would agree that this is a place where there is complete bliss. Those who are in heaven are free from pain, trouble, or heartache. So, it is just natural to want to spend eternity with our dear four legged friends.
The Second Premise
The second premise is that there are dogs. This one on the surface seems easy. We see dogs, so we know they exist. However, can they go to heaven? What is the determining factor of going to heaven for a dog? Conversely, can dogs go to hell if they don’t go to heaven? Why just dogs? Why not cats, goats, parrots, ticks, fleas or honey bees… or chickens? Can any of these go to heaven or hell?
My mother once had a rooster named George. If a chicken ever deserved hell it would have been George. He was a mean spirited and ruthless yard bird prone to spur anything and anyone that dared to venture into his territory. Once he dug his spur deep into my ankle when I wasn’t looking. Right through my brand new boot…that same boot sent George over the fence and through an imaginary football upright…3 points!!! Okay, I’m off track…
What does the Bible say?
Dogs. What does God say about dogs? The King James Version of the Bible says “not to bring the price of dog into the house of God”. Problem is that this was a referral to a male prostitute of a pagan temple and the money he made in his…uhum…profession. So that wouldn’t do.
In Genesis it says that God created all the animals, birds, fish, etc in several days. It also says that God created man in similar fashion to the animals. So it would be safe to say that based on this reading, that God created man and animals (dogs included) in the same fashion. So what is the difference? Reading further in Genesis it says that God breathed life into man. This was a supernatural being interjecting supernatural existence into a natural creation. An existence that is eternal. So…dogs and men were equally created. Both were living creatures at Creation with this difference: God breathed life into man and not dogs. God created man in his image. Man is three parts: body, soul, and spirit. Let’s look at these in reverse order.
Body, Soul, and Spirit.
The spirit part is what God breathed into man. It is as eternal as God Himself is. This is the part of man that separates him from all other creatures. The spirit is the psyche or persona of the human. Dogs and cats do not have this spirit. So, does this preclude dogs from going to heaven? What are the criteria for going to heaven in the first place? Surely Rover or Lassie should get to go to heaven because “we love them” or “they are part of our family” or because it “just makes us feel good”. I talk to my honey bees. I have given them a personification. Wouldn’t this count? Sorry, not good enough. Heaven and Hell are purely supernatural. The spirit or supernatural part of man will spend eternity in one place or another. Smokin’ or non- smokin’. I’ll take non-smokin’ please. The spirit is what goes to heaven or hell.
The soul is the life force in all living beings. It is what keeps the body moving and breathing and existing. Dogs, cats, humans can exist in a vegetative state in which they merely exist. The thing keeping them alive…the life force, is the soul. It is not the persona of the human; the spirit is as discussed above. What about the body then?
The body is the vehicle for the soul and spirit. When the body breaks down (dies) it does so because it can no longer function properly to house the soul or life force. The soul is like combustion system for a car. The body is the car. The driver is the spirit. When the car breaks down the life force ceases. The driver does not cease to exist. He is now in a different state of being. He is now walking instead of riding. So it is with all humans. When you die you do not cease to exist. You are just in a different state of existence.
So, with all this said. Do all dogs, or any animals go to heaven? The best answer is that no dogs go to heaven automatically: only humans. God can choose to bring any creation He wants into heaven. The main importance here is whether humans go to heaven or hell since they can choose. On the bright side no dogs go to hell either. So you won’t have to worry about if your beloved family pet is in torment either…not even if it was a chicken named George.
Heaven is a Place
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