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Do Animals Go to Heaven?

For those who like to discuss and debate theology. This is a forum for people who enjoy strong and lively debate with people who may not be likeminded. Participants are requested to always treat other opinions with respect.

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Colswann1
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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby Colswann1 » Thu May 08, 2014 7:03 pm

Try this fun read, may lighten the heavy stuff:

http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article- ... p?id=23318
Colin Swann

Jesus’ love is constant and never wavers.

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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby swfdoc1 » Thu May 08, 2014 7:21 pm

Colin,

Do you mean the 4 creatures in Rev. 4:7 or 3 creatures in a different passage?

Assuming the former, yes, I definitely see the 4 creatures as symbolic. Remember, this is a vision, so there wasn’t really anything there—it was a vision of 4 creatures, not 4 creatures. But I suppose that leaves open the question of whether it was a vision of something that actually exists in Heaven or something that does not really exist. For example, John could have a vision of a fish or of a jdfkfjsk (which I just made up). But if John had a vision of a fish, we would need to decide whether there is really a fish in Heaven or whether the fish doesn’t not exist in Heaven, but just symbolizes some reality. But what we have in this vision is a sort of a jdfkfjsk. These creatures don’t exist on earth, but they COULD in heaven. But given that their descriptions contain some almost “stock” features of biblical prophecy/apocalyptic (lots of eyes, wings, mixed parts), I believe they are symbolic. I suppose there could be a variation on these themes: they could be a physical manifestation of angelic beings. Many people consider them to SYMBOLIZE cherubs, and I agree that that is better than thinking real humans in Heaven would see cherubs manifested this way.
Steve
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things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby swfdoc1 » Thu May 08, 2014 7:25 pm

Graham,

Thanks. All good points you made.

Just to reiterate my position, if I'm right about eternity being spent on the new earth, then I think it's highly likely that there will be animals there, but not ones that die in this world, go to heaven, and then some day receive resurrection bodies. Rather you will be created for/with the new earth.
Steve
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Come forth
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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby Come forth » Thu May 08, 2014 7:47 pm

Loved the article, Colin. And I also loved the heart that posted it. Sometimes we simply get to caught up in the heavy.

Steve, my position is the same as yours. I believe that we will spend eternity on the new earth, in the garden as we were created to do. As such I also believe there will be animals around, but I'm really doubtful they will have received resurrection bodies -- seems to fly in the face of man being created in God's image and the concept of man being the pièce de ré·sis·tance of creation.

Blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby Mattguddat » Thu May 08, 2014 9:26 pm

Greetings Colin and Steve,

I appreciate the general warm tone of this discussion and your kind opening words Steve. I did open myself up to plain speaking when writing a very controversial topic in Theology forum. I hope it doesn't taint my Faithwriters reputation to much haha. I am not a man of apologetics, as my personality is more of an arty, optimist (if there is such a thing), thus I wrestle with apologetics over relationship. So much appreciated.

Yes I enjoyed your point and learnt a little. I'm not sure if I agree with your statement that my logic was invalid. All the scriptures I quoted, in and despite of their context, stand to show evidence of nephesh and ruach, even if we debate the meaning of nephesh and ruach.

One thing I did sneakily leave out (to stoke the conversation a little), is that there are two variations of ruach, and you are indeed correct that animals 'life' and human 'life', is different. This does not, however, state that animals 'life' is mortal or immortal. It just supposes.

Another point of interests is what a soul is defined as. Typically it's mind, will and emotions. Thus if this is the case, when we die we loose our ability to choose, feel and think. Our personality may be on the line too (a blessing for some I suppose, lol), until it returns (new or refurbished) with our resurrected bodies. Or maybe a soul is a different thing entirely.

Maybe my statement that most theologians disagree animals have a soul was a brash statement, but I have never come across any credible theologian who undoubtedly states that. I did not quote people either as I, quite frankly, can't be bothered. Hehe. Too busy. So yes, maybe my statement was brash. Critique received.

Another huge debate is aniamals resurrected bodies. I am preterist (and please for the love of reincarnated monkeys, lets not go there now) and so hold differing views on that side.

At this point there is not enough evidence to persuade me animals are not in heaven. Whether the earthly ones go to heaven or not is the main debate here. And a juicy one too :D

It was awesome to meet you both. I hope to bump into you again in the future.
Mattguddat.com Blog, Reviews and Resources

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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby Come forth » Thu May 08, 2014 10:30 pm

Nice to meet you too, Matt. I'll just choose to belief your totally ignoring me was a simple oversight and no insult intended.

Blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby Colswann1 » Fri May 09, 2014 2:55 am

Come forth wrote:Loved the article, Colin. And I also loved the heart that posted it. Sometimes we simply get to caught up in the heavy


Thanks Graham.

Steve do you think there will be creatures in heaven? If so, what do you think they could be like - maybe some, as the 4 creatures in Rev 4v7? I wrote 3 because one was like a man. Hope references to Jesus weren't all symbolic!
Colin Swann

Jesus’ love is constant and never wavers.

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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby swfdoc1 » Fri May 09, 2014 12:31 pm

Matt, good to meet you, too.

I am confused as to what you mean by the soul is usually defined as the mind, will, and emotions. I’ve already pointed to one lexicon—Gesenius on blueletterbible.org—that shows the range of meanings of the word, and we’ve already agreed that the basic meaning for our purposes is body + spirit. But, in any event, when nephesh means something like emotions, it doesn’t also mean soul. And when it means emotions, it doesn’t mean emotions + mind + will (except that it can mean the mind as the seat of one of the other two. It just means emotions. Plus, as the “outline of Biblical Usage” on blueletterbible.org shows, “activity of the mind,” “activity of the will,” and “activity of the characher” are all dubious meanings. This actually comes through more clearly in other lexicons. On the other hand, if your point is a reference to the theology of the (human) soul of someone like Watchman Nee, all I can say is his theology is really bad.

Also, what did you mean when you said there are two different “variations” of ruach?
Steve
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby swfdoc1 » Fri May 09, 2014 12:48 pm

Colin,

OK, I understand about the 3 vs. 4.

As I’ve noted, I don’t think there are earth-originating animals in Heaven, either with or without bodies. As for non-earthly creatures, I can’t think of a non-vision passage that speaks of any beings in Heaven other than angels. And I think the natural reading of these vision passages is that the creatures are symbolic. I don’t believe there are any of these in Heaven. Are you thinking of any passages that support the opposite view?

I’m confused by your question about Jesus. It seems to be related to the point about 3 vs. 4 creatures, but that can’t be it, since the 4th creature/man isn’t Jesus, as we know by continuing to read this vision. In this vision, Jesus is the Lamb and all 4 of the creatures worship the Lamb (Rev. 5:11-12, 14). So, again, I’m confused. If you can clarify, I’ll try to answer. Thanks.
Steve
nlf.net
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby Colswann1 » Fri May 09, 2014 1:15 pm

Steve, If you make the 4 beasts who are worshipping God, symbolic - what do you make of the 24 elders joining in with that worship- surely not symbolic?

Please Steve, don't symbolize away heavens creativity (surely, more beautiful and diverse than earth's creation) and make it a less than God's lovely earth, in which 'God is glorified in all the earth'.
Colin Swann

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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby swfdoc1 » Fri May 09, 2014 3:52 pm

Colswann1 wrote:Steve, If you make the 4 beasts who are worshipping God, symbolic - what do you make of the 24 elders joining in with that worship- surely not symbolic?


I disagree. The Elders are, in my opinion, absolutely symbolic. Although I am sure others exist (and you may know many of them), you are the only person I have ever met that believes otherwise. Remember, this is a VISION. There is nothing that I can find in the text that indicates this is a "glimpse into Heaven." It is a vision that needs to be interpreted. Volumes have been written about WHAT the elders symbolize. Hereis one good example, although it is written from a pre-trib position, which I do not embrace. Just scroll down to the heading about the elders.

Colswann1 wrote:Please Steve, don't symbolize away heavens creativity (surely, more beautiful and diverse than earth's creation) and make it a less than God's lovely earth, in which 'God is glorified in all the earth'.


I hope I would never "symbolize away" anything. Where the text is clear that something is a vision or dream that is to be interpreted, that is what I try to do (but see the difficulty per the above link). Where the text is clear that something is to be interpreted as a literal description of a real thing, I take it at face value. Where the text is ambiguous, I try to consider both possibilities, and where possible, reach a conclusion, which I hold tentatively.

BTW, I try not to bring presuppositions like "surely, more beautiful and diverse than earth's creation" to bear on Scripture. I let Scripture speak for itself. Given that unfallen earth was supposed to be our home and the new earth will be our home (and given the amazing nature of fallen earth), I think its/their creativity, beauty, and diversity could be/is/will be pretty marvelous. Given that Heaven has a different purpose--the abode of God, the angels, and man temporarily--it's beyond my ability to compare the creativity, beauty, and diversity of earth with the creativity, beauty, and diversity of Heaven. I would never take "Heaven's superior creativity" as a hermeneutical principle.

But you seem to be suggesting exactly that (but I could be wrong): Because Heaven's creativity is superior, we should see this passage as describing real things, despite the passage being a vision and despite visions routinely requiring interpretation in Scripture. I don't think that just because the Bible itself gives the interpretation or partial interpretation of some visions that we should assume that those whose interpretations are not given are different. That is, the lack of a stated interpretation does not change their content from symbols requiring interpretation into descriptions of real things in Heaven.
Steve
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby rcthebanditqueen » Fri May 09, 2014 4:04 pm

Hi everybody, just wanted to say that I really liked reading through all of the posts here and pondering the different views. I have an opinion on the subject, but I don't like getting into theological debates. :) I just have a thought I wanted to add.

Maybe someone said something similar already, but I think that a big piece of the puzzle is the fact that "now we see through a glass darkly, but then we shall see face to face." (Think I mixed several translations there.) Living in a broken world makes it hard to comprehend a transformed eternity. Right now, our thinking is restricted to the finite-ness of our humanity. So, since "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared..." it seems that the new heaven and the new earth will be something that no human can even come close to guessing at.

In other words, maybe the debate of "do animals go to heaven or not" is simply the way in which we think of it in our human brains, but the renewed creation in the end will be so different that there is no way to compare.

That is just my two cents, not relating to a black and white answer, but more in how we look at the matter.

Hope that maketh some sense. I haven't had lunch and am a bit loopy. :)

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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby WriterFearNot » Fri May 09, 2014 8:03 pm

C.S. Lewis raises some interesting points on this in his book, The Problem with Pain. He makes comments like, "Man is to be understood only in his relation to God. The beasts are to be understood only in their relation to man and, through man, God." And "Man was appointed by God to have dominion over the beasts, and everything a man does to an animal is either a lawful exercise, or a sacrilegious abuse, of authority by Divine right. The tame animal is therefore, in the deepest sense, the only 'natural' animal--the only one we see occupying the place is was made to occupy, and it is on the tame animal that we must base all our doctrine of beasts. Now it will be seen that, in so far as the tame animal has a real self or personality, it owes this almost entirely to its master." And... "I am now going to suggest--though with great readiness to be set right by real theologians--that there may be a sense, corresponding, though not identical, with these, in which those beasts that attain a real self are IN their masters."

And Lewis in essence concludes his argument by saying that animals might enter heaven based on their relationship with humans. They sort of ride with the immortality of their masters...or, become part of their master's immortality.

I like this line of thought. My mind can easily go there because I know when I look into a "tame" animal's eyes, there's something more than just that cat or that dog. There is a connection that is unlike any connection among humans.

But in the end, the truth is that I really don't know.

Here's another interesting article: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/201 ... eaven.html

Theresa

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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby swfdoc1 » Fri May 09, 2014 9:34 pm

rcthebanditqueen wrote: I think that a big piece of the puzzle is the fact that "now we see through a glass darkly, but then we shall see face to face."


It's definitely true as you and Scripture say , that we see through a glass darkly. The most interesting thing about that to me is that God intends it that way. He has revealed certain things to us absolutely. Many other things He has dropped hints about. Others He has left open to multiple interpretations. About other things, He has revealed two or more things that seem (at first blush only) contradictory. I think the multiple possible interpretations and the seemingly (only) contradictions are designed to drive us continually to His Word to wrestle with them, so that we will be more likely to feed on His Word.

On top of all of this, I am sure there are things that we can't even think to think of or about. And I totally agree with this:

rcthebanditqueen wrote:Living in a broken world makes it hard to comprehend a transformed eternity. Right now, our thinking is restricted to the finite-ness of our humanity. So, since "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared..." it seems that the new heaven and the new earth will be something that no human can even come close to guessing at.


However, once He puts a yes-or-no question on our radar screen, I'm not sure the through-the-darkness problem plays out in the way you suggest. Rather, I think it plays out in the way the article Theresa linked to suggests (Theresa's post is the one after yours): Because we see through a glass darkly, we can;t know whether the answer to this question is yes or no. However, this is one of those things that I only believe tentatively; you view COULD be right.
Steve
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

Postby swfdoc1 » Fri May 09, 2014 9:46 pm

Theresa,

I really appreciate your posting C.S. Lewis’s thoughts and a 3-views essay that (at least per 1 view) questions those thoughts. (FYI, even with “registering” for free access to CT, I couldn’t read the entire essay, although I could see more than I could before registering. Apparently, you have to “subscribe,” i.e, pay” to see the entire article.)

I was aware of Lewis’s “Problem of Pain” views before I made my initial post. I find his speculations—and that’s all they are—unconvincing in the extreme. I suppose that’s the (or rather, an extra) reason why I appreciate your posting BOTH Lewis’s views and the CT essay.
Steve
nlf.net
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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