Yesterday my husband and I lost Gretel. She
was about fourteen years old, and she began her life with my mother-in-law. She
was born feral, but she was eventually domesticated and lived a happy life as
an indoor cat. When my mother-in-law passed away, we adopted Gretel, and she
lived with us for eight years. This is the third cat we have lost in two years, and it is heartbreaking every time.
People often wonder if animals (especially pets) go to
heaven. But the bible doesn’t really give us a concrete answer. The best reference
I can find comes from Ecclesiastes 3:21--"Who knows if the life breath of mortals goes upward and the life breath
of beasts goes earthward?" That doesn’t really help us, though, does it? It only leaves
us with the notion that we just don’t know.
But here are my thoughts on the matter. I don’t believe God
creates things in vain. I think he blesses his handiwork—even the beasts.
Animals are different from humans and their souls are different. But I do
believe they have souls, and if they have souls then they are immortal and
eternal. I personally believe animals do exist beyond this earthly life.
Where is my proof?
I don’t have any.
But here is a quote from my forthcoming
novel, The Restoration of Michael Danvers, that addresses death and the afterlife, "the love he had for them didn’t die
with them. It somehow existed beyond the grave. If his love for them couldn’t die,
how could they?"
And I think that is the answer. Our love for our pets never
dies. If love can’t die, I don’t think the object of that love can truly die.