A solemn image of an open Bible, gently cradling a worn collar and leash, symbolizing the comforting words within scripture that offer solace and hope for those grieving the loss of a beloved pet.

What Does The Bible Say About Pets Dying?

The loss of a beloved pet can be absolutely heartbreaking. If you’re a Christian wondering what happens to your furry friends when they pass away, you likely want to know what the Bible says about pets dying and whether you’ll see them again in heaven.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible does not directly address what happens to pets when they die, but most Christians believe that animals have souls and there are several hints in Scripture that suggest pets may be present in the afterlife and reunited with their owners in heaven.

In this comprehensive article, we will examine key Bible passages about the souls of animals, dig into whether pets have spirits that live on after death, look at examples of pets in heaven, and explore the theological debate around whether all dogs and cats go to heaven when they die.

Old Testament Hints That Animals Have Souls

The Old Testament provides some intriguing hints that animals may have souls or spirits. Here are a few examples:

Animals Have the “Breath of Life”

In Genesis 7:15, God instructs Noah to bring animals of every kind onto the ark, specifying “two of all flesh in which there is the breath of life.” This phrase “breath of life” is the same phrase used in Genesis 2:7 when God breathes life into Adam.

This linguistic parallel suggests animals have a God-given vitality like humans do.

Animals Have Spirits

Ecclesiastes 3:21 poses the rhetorical question, “Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth?” This implies animals have spirits that may live on after death, just like human spirits.

Animal Blood Represents Life

In Leviticus 17:11, God says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” This verse explains why Scripture prohibits eating meat with blood still in it (Genesis 9:4). It suggests an animal’s blood represents its living spirit.

Animals Can Experience Emotion

In Numbers 22:28, Balaam’s donkey verbally complains about Balaam’s abuse. This indicates the donkey has self-awareness and feelings. Jonah’s sadness over the wilting plant (Jonah 4:9-11) also shows concern for non-human life.

While not definitive, these passages hint that animals may have spiritual qualities like humans. This could mean that pets who pass away will be resurrected somehow in the world to come.

New Testament Verses Implying Animals’ Eternal Spirits

The New Testament provides some clues that animals may have eternal spirits. Here are a few key passages:

Romans 8:19-22

This famous passage says that all of creation, not just humans, is awaiting its redemption from decay and corruption:

“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. “

This implies that animals, as part of creation, have a future hope and destiny. God seems to care about the fate of all creatures, not just human beings.

Luke 12:6

In this verse, Jesus teaches that God cares even about common sparrows, so we can be reassured that He cares for us:

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.”

The clear message is that if God cares about the fate of tiny sparrows, surely He cares about all animals great and small. This hints at animals having spiritual value and an eternal destiny.

Mark 16:15

Some translations of this famous Great Commission verse use the word “creation” rather than “world”:

“And he said to them, “Go into all the creation and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

If the gospel is meant for all creation, not just human beings, then once again this implies animals have spiritual standing and worth in God’s eyes.

While the evidence is not completely definitive, these verses point to animals being an integral part of God’s eternal kingdom plans, not mere temporal creatures.

Theological Perspectives on Pets’ Afterlife

Pets Do Not Have Souls

Some theologians argue that pets do not have immortal souls like humans do. Since pets rely purely on instinct and lack advanced cognition to understand moral concepts, they cannot reflect on spiritual matters or accept salvation.

Without a soul that persists after death, pets simply die without an afterlife.

For example, Thomas Aquinas believed animals operate solely on physical drives and thus cannot participate in intellectual knowledge of God. Pets consequently lack an intrinsic purpose outside material existence.

Most Christian thinkers have concurred that pets depend entirely on biology rather than spirituality.

Only Some Pets Go To Heaven

Other spiritual perspectives contend God only allows certain special pets into heaven. This view holds that while regular animals do not have eternal souls, extraordinary cases of loyal or sacrificial pets may receive immortal souls.

God may bless pets who demonstrate near-human love and devotion to their owners.

Billy Graham once remarked, “I think God will have prepared everything for our perfect happiness in heaven. If it takes my dog being there too, I believe he’ll be there.” His comments suggest pets who strongly impact human lives get considered for entry into paradise.

The popular evangelical view remains skeptical about all pets attaining an afterlife.

All Pets Go To Heaven

More liberal theological outlooks argue God grants all pets immortal souls just like human beings. Such progressive stances emphasize God’s universal love and redemption encompassing all creatures. Since the Bible defines animals as living souls (Genesis 1:20-27), pets qualify for the same afterlife destination as people.

Pope Francis has implied pets go to heaven by stating, “One day we will see our pets again in eternity.” Such views claim God’s grace extends salvation to pets so they may live with their beloved owners forever. An all-merciful God would not exclude innocent animals from paradise.

Examples of Pets In Heaven

Lazarus And The Rich Man (Luke 16)

In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, Jesus gives us a glimpse of what the afterlife may be like. When Lazarus died, he was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side (Luke 16:22). This indicates that Lazarus went to heaven.

While this parable features human characters, it shows that those who follow God are brought into His presence when they pass away. This offers hope that our beloved pets who trust and obey the Lord could also be received into heaven.

The New Heaven And New Earth (Isaiah 11, Isaiah 65)

The Bible says that God will create a new heaven and new earth without death, pain or sadness (Revelation 21:1-5). Isaiah describes this future paradise where the wolf will live with the lamb and lions will eat straw like oxen (Isaiah 11:6-9, Isaiah 65:25).

These passages suggest animals will be present in the new creation. If animals take part in the new heaven and new earth, it is plausible God would also grant our pets a place in the afterlife where we will one day be reunited with them.

All Creatures Praising God (Psalms)

The Bible says every creature in heaven and earth will praise the Lord (Psalm 69:34). The Psalms describe all creatures looking to God for their food and praising Him when He provides (Psalm 104, Psalm 145, Psalm 147). This includes animals and pets who look to the Lord as provider.

If all creatures will someday praise God together, it is possible He may allow our pets to enter heaven so they can join this eternal chorus of praise.


The debate around pets’ eternal destiny has gone on for centuries with no definitive consensus. However, most theologians today believe that pets do not simply vanish at death. There are compelling hints in the Bible that animals have spirits created by God, and that our furry companions will be resurrected and reunited with us in heaven.

While we cannot know for certain until we reach the afterlife ourselves, take comfort in a God who cares for all His creation. If you have recently lost a pet, you will see them again when Christ returns to make all things new.

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