Children & Pets
It is well-known that actors tend to avoid working alongside children and/or animals lest they be upstaged! Children and pets have a habit of being cute! Some people treat their pets like children. There is a pet mentioned in the Bible, albeit in a parable, whereby a poor owner of a single lamb that ‘was like a daughter to him’ was taken from him by a very rich man who owned many flocks. This story was used by Nathan to illustrate the wrong that King David did when he committed adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12).
My twin adult daughters were taking a very lost but also very cute little dog to deposit it at the local vet’s when they pulled up alongside a distraught looking lady on the street. ‘Did you lose a little dog?’ ‘O Lizzie!’ she replied as she saw her dog in their car. She wept as she hugged and kissed my twins and then cradled her little doggie in her arms. We can become so attached to our pets!
Dorothy and I wept audibly and shed painful tears when we had to have wee Jamie our sixteen year old silky terrier put down. He was blind, deaf and incontinent. Afterwards, I buried him in our backyard with his favourite stuffed toy between his front paws, his little kangaroo. I planted a tree over his grave. I got the guilts when my father died soon after. I grieved more for my wee Jamie than for my dad!
Two of my favourite theologians differ as to whether Christians will see their pets in Heaven. Both agree that there will be animals on the renewed earth, but one of them doesn’t believe that the Bible teaches the resurrection of our former pets! I’ll leave this issue for discussing another time, but it would be nice to see wee Jamie again!
More importantly, it is the desire of every Christian parent that their children be part of the resurrection to life as opposed to condemnation (John 5:29). However, when it comes to children and pets it is sometimes easier to train the latter! We must persevere in teaching our children the things of God, for Scripture says, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it’ Proverbs 22:6. Indeed our faith in God and His Gospel even as adults is to be childlike. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it’ Mark 10:14b-15. The kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are the same thing (cf. Matthew 19:14).
There will be children and animals (maybe including our pets!) in Heaven. However, like the Christian who dies as a centenarian, so the child who dies in infancy, in the Resurrection at the Last Day each will be like a thirty three year old – without the effects of sin! ‘Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is’ 1 John 3:2. What was Christ like after His resurrection? He ate and He drank and He invited Thomas to touch Him, all to prove that it was really Him and that He had a solid physical body and was not some kind of phantom! (See e.g., Luke 24:39-43; John 20:27).
Begone with the image of Heaven as a place of people floating on clouds with harps and halos! Let us stand on solid (Biblical) ground!