In a question and answer session recorded by Charisma News, the popular Evangelical writer Randy Alcorn recently laid out his position that animals will be reunited with their owners on the other side of eternity. This is preposterous. The idea that because God created the animals for the current world does not mean they will be in the next. Alcorn addressed the issue stating “our pets who have died on Earth will be reunited with us when God creates the new heaven and the new earth.”
Alcorn also explained this was not his position for years but he recently changed his mind on the Bible’s teaching regarding pets. Apparently, this change of heart is due to some emotional plea from someone who was just too attached to their pet in this life.
During a recorded Q&A, Alcorn gave an extended answer to the matter. Here is the response he provides:
“Look at Genesis 1 and 2, and the highlight of all creation built up to is people. But right before people came animals. Those living beings, the first living beings that God made, animals. And it’s magnificent and wondrous that the first responsibility God gave to human beings along with to be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth was to manage and care for animals. Adam named the animals. With the Flood, God makes a covenant not only with people but with animals. This is stated again and again in Genesis 6 through 9 and the Flood account. What we find in Isaiah 65 is the wolf and the lamb—and he specifically calls this the New Earth, so this is not just the Millennium. This is the New Earth. In verse 25 of Isaiah 65, ‘the wolf and the lamb shall graze together, the lion will eat straw like the ox,’ and then in Isaiah 11, it’s got leopard, goat, calf, cow, bear, ox, lion, cobra. When God remakes the earth, why would he not remake it with animals? Well, we know He will for sure because of these passages that have animals on the new earth, but also because Romans 8 says the entire creation has fallen. Creation fell on the coattails of human beings. So animals suffer death because humans sinned, and humans suffer death. But it says in that passage that not just human beings but the entire creation—well then, who does that leave that has suffered on this earth? Animals will experience the resurrection of the sons of God. So since some animals who have suffered [and who are] alive in this lifetime on this fallen earth will … be raised, which animals will those be? I think the most logical answer to that would be—and wouldn’t it be just like a loving God to do this for His children—that He will bring back those precious pets that He has entrusted to our care. We have a golden retriever named Maggie, we had a dalmatian named Moses, [and] we had a springer spaniel before that named Champ. Those dogs are very real to me and I anticipate actual reunion with them in heaven. By the way, I didn’t use to believe that, until I spent those two or three [sic]studying Scripture intently every day on that subject. The Bible changed my mind on that subject.”
Alcorn’s entire case is built on a few texts. First, Romans 8, about the whole creation groaning seeking the liberty of the sons of God, and second, the Genesis creation account. Of course, his favorite passages are from Isaiah 11 and 65.
Randy Alcorn is missing the point. Animals are a gift to humanity for this life, even as family ties are, prior to the resurrection. No one ought to diminish the value of animal companionship. But think this through for a moment: if the most sacred bond, that of a husband and his wife, which, incidentally, is utilized to speak of Christ and His church, is a temporary feature that is for this world alone according to Jesus (Mark 12:25), it is surely a stretch to think of our pets having some sort of tie to us in the eternal state. If our closest family members, husbands, wives and children, do not have a claim to eternity merely through their temporal tie with us, are we to consider that pets of Christians are “elect animals?” This is a laughable conclusion, should one be as so bold as Alcorn to adopt it.
The idea that animals are victims of human sin that plunged them into their present predicament is also a bit ridiculous as an argument for why they should or must have a stake in the eternal kingdom. Even if it is just some animals. But one must wonder about the rest of the animals. Surely, animals are not ‘saved’ by being believers in Christ. Jesus did not dies for the animals. The introduction of animals into the discussion about heaven actually begins to de-value the eternal state.
Furthermore, animals are not made in the image of God, and do not have a spirit that can communicate with God as does mankind made in the image and likeness of God. Other heavenly beings such as angels are spirit beings designed by the Creator to exist unto the eternal ages, just as mankind will. There is no justification for seeing animals in the eternal state. If Alcorn wants to see animals in the eternal ages, then he should also expect the death of children, albeit at a hundred years old (Isaiah 65:20). This is quite unthinkable. Alcorn has missed the import of the poetic language that Isaiah employs.
Alcorn’s argument is driven more by emotion and sentimentality than a true understanding of the nature of the eternal state. Indeed, in eternity we will not need the close ties of blood family nor will we need the companionship of animal beings. So, when compared to the bliss of fellowship with Jesus Christ Himself, and the blessedness of serving and living life to the fullest potential there can be, animals, as well as marriage, will be a thing of the past.
[Author’s Note: Alcorn’s statement taken from a post by CharismaNews]