After all, the pets go to heaven? Many wonder if they will meet their four-legged companions in eternal life. Can animals enter paradise? Can we believe that life in God concerns all of Creation? See below what the Bible says on the subject.

Do pets go to heaven?

The Bible actually knows a notion of soul (nephesh), which corresponds to the "immaterial" dimension of man. But this cannot be separated from his body, his "material" dimension. But the notion of soul in the West comes more from Greek philosophy, Aristotle and Plato. For the latter, the soul is of an essence different from the body, immortal, living in the body like a prison.

In this conception, the soul is fundamentally separate from the body. Moreover, under this Platonic influence, from the first centuries of Christianity until the 20th century, it was generally considered that when a person dies, his immortal soul survives.

Is this understanding of the soul as immortal biblical? Be that as it may, even if man does not have an immortal soul, that does not mean that there is no life after death for him. Because, ultimately, it is God who gives him life, it is God who is man's vital principle. So, if there is life after death, it is because the person lives in God.

Is there also an afterlife for animals?

In Christianity, this question has never really been resolved. In the Bible, we don't talk much about animals, unlike in other religions. On the other hand, St. Paul writes that all of creation awaits the revelation of the children of God (Romans 8:19).

In the New Testament, we find the idea that at the end of history, the universe as we know it today will not simply disappear, but will be transfigured, transformed from within. One might say that it will be entirely spiritualized.

From then on, this question takes on its full meaning: Will animals also be part of this new creation? So far, however, this hypothesis has hardly been developed by Christian theologians.

In his encyclical Laudato Si (2015), Pope Francis explains that for centuries animals were considered practically as objects, which had meaning only in relation to human use, but that we must consider that animals also exist for their own sake. This idea is quite new. It has never really been developed in the Christian tradition, even if it is not absent.

In some religions, it is forbidden to kill animals, to feed on them. And in Christianity?

In Christianity, we are not so demanding on this subject. On the other hand, there are very interesting indications in the Bible about vegetarianism. 

In the first of the two creation stories, in the book of Genesis (Genesis 1 - 2:4), it is specified that God gives plants for food to animals and humans. This means that in God's "plan" for creation, animals were not to serve as food for humans . Therefore, there is a form of vegetarianism present from the very beginning of the Bible.

When we advance in the reading of the same book of Genesis, we find the story of the flood in chapters 6 to 8. God, faced with the omnipresent violence in the world, decides to submerge it with water. Noah and his family then gather a pair of each animal species in their ark - which is like an image of salvation, which also concerns animals.

The occupants of the ark will form the seeds of a new creation and a covenant with mankind through Noah and his descendants. And it is here that God will allow men to eat animals. A bit as if God wants to channel the violence that is in man. Human beings, however, cannot consume the blood that in the Bible represents the vital principle. In this sense we preserve a form of respect for the animal, even if we eat it.


Today, like other spiritualities, we take logic further: we rediscover that animals are beings endowed with sensitivity, even with a certain form of consciousness. 

Therefore, should we not, as Christians, consider them as brothers and sisters, even if perhaps not to the same degree as our human brothers and sisters? In this sense, St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) is a remarkable example. He considered the whole creation as a living being, and the animals as his brothers and sisters, as well as the sun, the moon.