Pastor Dave, Kids 4 Truth Advisor/Volunteer
Do animals have spirits and will they go to heaven?
Thanks for writing K4T and for the good question. This is one question that many pet-loving young people ask. The answer is found in the Scriptures in the account of creation, Genesis chapters 1 & 2. If you read carefully you will note that there is a difference between the creation of all the animal species and the creation of man. God caused the animals to come into existence in one series of creative acts (birds, sea dwellers, and land animals) and then in a separate creative act He made Adam and Eve. It was only into Adam that God breathed the breath of life and man became a living soul. The thing that distinguishes animals from man (and the fact that makes evolution of animals into man a false idea) is the fact that only humans have a "soul", a God-given feature that will live somewhere for eternity. On that basis, we must conclude that at the death of the body animals just die and decay, but humans continue to live. God has promised for all those who love Him and accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as Savior that they will enter Heaven to live with Him for eternity. So we understand that animals do not make a conscious decision to follow Christ and therefore cannot enter God's Heaven.
Having said that, however, it is a fact that there will be animals on earth during Christ's 1000 year reign. Also at Christ's second coming His saints are said enter battle to riding on horses. Although this language may be symbolic, I believe that it is literal--there are too many scattered references to animals in the kingdom, for it to be symbolic. If you go back to the creation of animal life on earth before Adam's sin and the entrance of death into the world, there were a great variety of animals. If they were not for food, they must have been created by a loving God to be companions of man, there for his pleasure and enjoyment (who has not enjoyed playing with a dog or cat?). So maybe God will have animals in heaven for our enjoyment, even though our pets will not go to heaven when they die. This is one aspect of God's love and care for His people that has not been written about too much. What do you think about that?
Hope this is a help to your thinking.