Published: 1 May 2023

Will Our Pets Be In Heaven?


A couple I know recently lost their beloved family dog. Like many of us who have lost pets they grieved the loss. This reminded me of how keenly I felt the loss of our family cat a few years ago. Many of us become as fond of our pets as we are of people. It is difficult to lose anyone or anything that we care deeply about. Because this is true, it is only natural for us to wonder if our pets will be in heaven.

The traditional answer to the question is an absolute “No!” It is reasoned that animals are not like people because they do not have a soul. Therefore, death forever extinguishes our pet’s existence. Thus, the saying, “Rover is dead all over.”

What does the Bible have to say about this? Is it true that animals do not have souls? Does the Bible tell us if we’ll be reunited with our pets in eternity? 

What is a soul?

The Bible usually uses the words soul and spirit interchangeably.1,2 In fact, there is no compelling reason to think they aren’t synonymous with each other. In both Hebrew and Greek, the Bible conceptually links the words together. Soul refers to one’s whole being including the inner self. Spirit refers to the breath or wind which animates us and gives us life.

Man became a living soul

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul [nefesh]. (Gen. 2:7 KJV)

Most recent translations say that “man became a living being” which may be more to the point. You see, when God created Adam He didn’t give him a soul, Adam was a soul. The distinction is that a soul is not something we possess, it is something we are. We are an inseparable unity of the material and the immaterial. We are a body made of dust which has the spark of life which came from the breath of God. The Bible refers to our body and inner self which combine as a soul; the whole person.

The Bible says pets are souls too!

People often teach that humans have souls and animals don’t. However, the Bible uses the exact same Hebrew word, nefesh, to describe the existence of animals and humans. 

20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures [nefesh], and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing [nefesh] that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Gen. 1:20–21 NKJV)

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature [nefesh] according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. (Gen. 1:24 NKJV)

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature [nefesh], that was its name. (Gen. 2:19 NKJV)

Every word in bold above is the same Hebrew word, applied to Adam, translated as soul in Genesis 2:7. We could replace each bold word with the word soul without changing the meaning. For example, “And whatever Adam called each living soul [nefesh], that was its name.”

By the way, biblically speaking we shouldn’t refer to souls as something we “have,” but something we are. Humans and animals do not have souls, we are souls. Although humans and animals are both souls, humans differ from animals in that God made humans in His image. With this exception, animals are souls just as humans are. We are both imbued with the breath of life given by God.

Resurrected pets?

If God can resurrect humans from the dead at the end of time, can He also resurrect our pets? It’s not a question of His ability. God certainly can resurrect our pets, but will He? 

Here’s what we know for sure. God created animals therefore it stands to reason He delights in them just as He does with the rest of His creation. Humans and animals have been together since the beginning and God continues to sustain animal and human life. For what reason then could we possibly think God would decide to exclude animals in eternity? It stands to reason that animals will continue to exist in heaven with God’s faithful. 

After all, the New Testament clearly says that God will redeem His creation (Rom 8:21) and that there will be a restoration of all things (Acts 3:21). On what basis would we conclude that animals won’t be a part of the restoration and redemption of God’s creation?

Pets in heaven – the bottom line

Contrary to the assumptions of some people, there is nothing in the Bible which says our deceased pets are gone, never to return. The Bible certainly leaves the door open to the possibility of our pets being in heaven. On the other hand, the Bible is also silent about the question. It simply doesn’t give us an answer one way or the other. Regardless, it is my opinion that our pets will be with us in heaven. 

What do I base my opinion on? For one, as stated above, there is nothing in the Scriptures to rule out the possibility. Two, God loves us and He is mindful of our grief and tears (Psa 56:8). Our loving God takes delight in healing our wounds. Third, the Bible teaches that God is generous and gracious to everyone; the wicked and the faithful (Matt 5:45). How much more grace will He show to His faithful servants in eternity. Grace, in simplest terms, is the generosity of God. Why would we think that God wouldn’t take great delight in giving us the gift of being reunited with our pets?

Whatever God has in store for us in the new heavens and the new earth, it will be perfect: a restoration of the garden of Eden. How much more so if our beloved pets are there too.


  1. Grudem, Wayne A., Jeff Purswell, and Wayne A. Grudem. Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 1999. 193.
  2. Akin, Dr. Daniel L.. A Theology for the Church (p. 318). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 318.