June 22, 2021

Do dogs go to Heaven?


If a dog dies and a kid's really distraught,it's not a bad idea to tell that kid, “If you really need Fido in Heaven to be happy, he'll be there.” Technically, that's not a lie. But here's the thing — you probably won't need Fido in Heaven to be happy, and that's really good news, because he probably won't be there...

14 comments:

  1. Seems I remember something in the Bible about fruit bearing trees. Also seems animals are a higher life form than plants. Seems God wouldn't skip from plants to Saints without having some animals thrown in there somewhere in between. Seems like if He's going to have animals He may as well have the ones that made our lives better. I could be wrong. I hope not...so much so that I completely trust I'll see my little furry and feathered friends in Heaven someday. (The stories I could tell! Some downright miraculous.)

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  2. God has always known your beautiful dog perfectly either way...if you ever get to see Him face to face...

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  3. What an insensitive and theologically blind video. Put it this way, instead. Dogs do not have immortal souls, but NOTHING prevents a loving God to resurrect in the new earth the pet you were the steward of. Why? Because God honors loving relationships, because He is love himself. So it is the bond of love and faithfulness that matters!

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  4. Correct, dogs do not have an immortal soul, therefore they may not be judged. How is this insensitive? Its not truly a relationship with a dog because they do not have a rational soul. We could say the same about our "relationship" with our material objects. Just because we "love" those objects does not mean they shall be resurrected. Aquinas clarifies the hierarchy of the soul, with animals not having a rational soul; a supposed "relationship" with them is akin to idolatry. True, we are to be good stewards with God's creation, all of it, but modern man tends to replace human relationships (i.e. a creature capable of love) with animals (not capable of love). It is not easy to love people. It is easy to "love" an animal because they can never hurt us emotionally since they have no free will therefore no capacity to love (See Aquinas). I believe it is idolatry.

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    1. As a Ph.D. in Theology I recommend you do some serious readings....Start with the recent statement ny Pope Francis: "“One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures,” said the 77-year-old Pontiff, according to Italian news sources." Idolatry? just go get me some coffee...

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    2. Though that statement can be interpreted in various ways. It is not an explicit statement that a given dog as such will be in Heaven. Of course, it leaves open that interpretation.

      My more technical inquiry is with the point that a reconstituted animal would not be the actual animal, but a physical replica. This gets extremely technical, but the soul of the composite animal, while a single principle in one sense, is also constituted of the various formal actvities of the matter that comprise it. Some of these are essential, and some accidental. We say that an animal has the same "soul" insofar as its essential activities (i.e. those needed for it to remain alive as a member of its species) are present. BUT these activities can be retained through many particular material changes. In a sense, then, a given animal could be a "replica" of that same animal even within the same "life," since the proximate matter in which those formal activities are present changes. In other words, we call it the "same animal" as long as there is a continuity of life, no matter what proximate matter actually constitutes it at a given point. Thus, it seems to me the question comes down to whether this life must be continuous for us to say it is the same animal. One might say it is a different LIFE for the SAME animals, or a NEW LIFE for a new replicated animal, OR the same life of the same animal recontinued after having been interrupted. I am not sure one must say that where there is not a continuity of function (both in terms of essential and particular features making up particular identity) one must say it is a different life or instance of that animal. One might be able to make the case that how one describes this is largely a matter of semantics.

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  5. Quoting Thomas Aquinas is not theologically blind. Chris does a great job explaining what makes humans souls unique & therefore "made in the image of God". That is the greater point being made here.

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  6. Human souls are indeed unique in their spiritul awareness of God, the universe, time, good and evil, etc. Nothing in scripture says animals with their lower souls can or cannot be in heaven. They certainly didn't experience the Fall so,nthey ought to go straight there - not necessarily capable of having the beatific vision but just to be part of the overall love equation. Perhaps defining their souls in the afterlife without God's instructions is a tad above our pay grade.

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  7. "A child will lead them ..."

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  8. Certainly St. Thomas Aquinas was one of, if not the most brilliant theologian who ever lived. Yet, as he neared death, he had a vision of Heaven and following this described all his writings "like straw". That is not to put down his writings but rather to illustrate how much greater Heaven is than our human ability to perceive and understand it.

    Anyone who claims to know the answer to this question with certainly is ultimately claiming to have been to Heaven and come back to describe it for us. I suppose such a thing is possible if God allows it but even if so that would be a private revelation to that person.

    Some of my favorite parts of the Bible that hint at the salvation of animals (and even the rest of creation) are Wisdom 11:22-12:1, Wisdom 13:1-9, Sirach 39:12-35, Sirach 42:15-43:33, The Song of Songs (symbolism found throughout book), Isaiah 11:6-9, Isaiah 65:17-25, Jonah 4, Mark 1:12-13, Romans 8:18-27 and Ephesians 1:3-10. Romans 8:18-27 in particular hints at it - note its use of the broader word "creation" rather than just the narrower "humanity".

    While it is true that we won't "need" pets in Heaven and animals in general this is a very limited and a purely utilitarian view of animals. It only considers how we use them. What if God wants them there for their own sake and not for ours? What if he wants there every single wild and tame animal that ever lived, again for its own sake and not for ours? After all if you believe everything from science (which does not contradict Catholic beliefs) then humanity has only been in existence for a tiny fraction of the time in which both the Earth and especially the Universe has existed. God certainly loves them to, in addition to humanity.

    I am not trying to put down humanity. Every human is made in God's image and likeness while nothing else is. That only means that humanity is God's greatest and highest-order creation, which a special and unique role. It doesn't necessarily mean that the rest of creation is just thrown away forever.

    Another interesting observation is that humans are the only part of God's creation who can end up in Hell. Animals either end up in Heaven (out of God's love and mercy) or cease to exist (after fulfilling whatever utility God had for them in His plans). I hope the former is what happens but concede the latter as a possibility. There is no reasonable argument that places them in Hell due to the fact that they lack a free will. Humans, on the other hand, despite being made in God's image and likeness and despite being loved by God above all the rest of creation, can end up in Hell for using our free will poorly. This infinitely worse than no longer existing.

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  9. St. Augustine postulated that animals, not being rational, could not survive death. This is not doctrine.

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  10. If there is no place in heaven for this dog, then there is no place for me.
    Yudhistira, from the Mahabharata.
    Then I'd rather be Hindu.

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  11. I don't know theology. What I observe is original sin. Genesis 3:4-5. Snake say eat it and you will be like "gods". I have many dogs through my short lives and cherish them.
    I see people humanize animals like gods. You hear and read stories of how human relationships are devalue. Example of divorce and who gets the pet are hot point. Pax Christi my brothers and sisters

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  12. Perfect! Great video. It elaborates deftly and charmingly on Catholic thinking on this subject, with the full range of logic, mercy, and love that solid Catholic theology historically expresses. Thanks, Chris!

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