Do Animals Go to Heaven?: Afterlife Animal Miracles

Do Animals Have Souls? Is There an Afterlife Rainbow Bridge for Pets?

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Do animals have souls, and if so, do they go to heaven?. Rich Frishman/Getty Images

Do animals have souls, and if so, do they go to heaven? The answer is "yes" to both questions, say afterlife experts and scholars of religious texts like the Bible. God saves every animal after death, believers say, so not only do pets and the people who love them enjoy miracles of reuniting (as imagined in the famous poem "The Rainbow Bridge") but wild animals and others who didn't have relationships with people will also have eternal homes with them in heaven.

Created with Souls

God has given every animal a soul, so animals continue to exist forever, just as human beings do. However, animal souls are distinctly different from human souls. While God created humans in his image, animals don't directly reflect God's likeness. Also, God has assigned humans to care for animals while living with them on Earth and learn spiritual lessons in the process -- especially about the importance of unconditional love.

“God has given animals life in the same way we were given life," Arch Stanton writes in his book Animals in Heaven: Fantasy or Reality?. "An animal possesses a soul.”

Since animals do have souls, they praise the God who made them, writes Randy Alcorn in his book Heaven. “The Bible tells us that animals, in their own way, praise God.”

One of the examples Alcorn mentions of animals praising God in heaven is the "living creatures" that the Bible describes in the Book of Revelation: “… the ‘living creatures’ who cry out ‘Holy, holy, holy’ are animals – living, breathing, intelligent and articulate animals who dwell in God’s presence, worshiping and praising him,” Alcorn writes.

Once Created, Never Lost

God, the Creator, places a high value on every animal that he has brought to life. Once God has created a creature, that creature is never lost to God, unless it specifically rejects God. Some human beings have done that, so although they continue to live on in the afterlife, they go to hell after they die as a result of their sinful choices that cause them to separate themselves from God.

But animals don't reject God; they live in harmony with him. So each animal who has lived -- from bees and dolphins to mice and elephants -- returns to God, its maker, after their earthly lives come to an end.

“Nothing God has created is ever, ever lost,” writes Sylvia Browne in her book All Pets Go to Heaven: The Spiritual Lives of the Animals We Love.

"When we study God’s word in depth, we then have a full understanding the Bible reveals that animals will be in heaven,” Stanton writes in Animals in Heaven. He later notes: "We have to take into account the fact that God loves all of his creation and not just certain ones. ...God has no requirements for animals to be saved. Animals need not be saved from the sinful actions and thoughts of humanity. If God required them to be saved it would mean they have sinned against him. Since we know animals don’t sin then we have to say they are saved already.”

Joni Eareckson-Tada writes in her book Heaven: Your Real Home that God would want to keep all his creatures. "Horses in heaven? Yes. I think animals are some of God’s best and most avant-garde ideas; why would he throw out his greatest creative achievements? … Isaiah foresaw lions and lambs lying down together, as well as bears, cows, and cobras; and John foresaw the saints galloping on white horses."

Browne, a psychic who claimed to have had visions of heaven, describes it in All Pets Go to Heaven as being full of animals: "The passage of animals to the Other Side is basically instantaneous; their souls just pass through a brightly lit portal or gateway from our world to the next. This is true for our pets as well as the many wild animals that also go to the Other Side, where there are vast herds roaming about. The Other Side also contains animal species that have become extinct, such as dinosaurs, and many of us when we are on the Other Side will view and interact with them.  … there are no predators or prey. It is truly a place where the lamb lies down with the lion. All animals are docile and tame and playful. Herd animals and birds will flock together; fish will form schools, whales will form pods, and on and on it goes.”

A Rainbow Bridge for Pets?

The famous poem “The Legend of Rainbow Bridge” by William N. Britton describes a place at the edge of heaven called Rainbow Bridge, where pets who have “been especially close to a person here on earth” wait peacefully for a “joyous reunion” with the people they loved after those people die and arrive in the afterlife. The poem tells grieving pet lovers that, “Then with your beloved pet by your side, you will cross the Rainbow Bridge together” into heaven.

While the poem is a work of fiction and there may not actually be a rainbow-colored bridge that people and their pets cross over to enter heaven together, the poem does reflect the reality that people will be reunited somehow with their pets in heaven, believers say. In heaven, love bonds all types of souls together through the powerful electromagnetic energy that loving thoughts express.

Arranging heavenly reunions between pets and people "would be just like" God because of his loving nature, writes Eareckson-Tada in Heaven. "It would be totally in keeping with his generous character.”

Stanton asks in Animals in Heaven: "Could we not say God wants the animals to share life with us now but would have no reason for them to share life with us in heaven?" It makes sense, he concludes, that God would want people and animals who shared close earthly relationships to share close heavenly relationships, as well.

People who say they’ve been to heaven and back during near-death experiences describe being greeted upon their arrival in heaven by angels (especially their guardian angels), the souls of people they loved on earth who died before them, and animals they loved on earth.

In fact, when animals die, they're greeted when they arrive in heaven, as well, Browne writes in All Pets Go to Heaven: "Sometimes angels come to greet our animals, and sometimes they just go through the light and meet all ‘their’ loved ones and other animals on their own.”

Animals and people can communicate with each other in heaven using telepathy. That direct, soul-to-soul way of communicating makes it possible for them to clearly and fully understand each other's thoughts and emotions. As Browne writes in All Pets Go to Heaven: “When human beings and animals interact on the Other Side, they have telepathic communication … animals and humans are different types of creations, but animals can and do communicate regularly with us when we are on the Other Side…”.

Many people whose beloved pets have died say that they've received some comforting signs and messages from the afterlife letting them know that their pets are there, and doing well.

Heaven will be full of many wonderful animals -- just like those that surround us now -- and those animals will be able to live in harmony with God, humans, angels, other animals, and every kind of living thing that God has made.