Sunday, April 9, 2023

Do All Dogs Go To Heaven?

Dogs, the four-legged furballs that bring joy and slobber to our lives, have been “man's best friend” for ages. They're loyal, protective, and loving companions who make us feel like the most important humans on the planet. Some people even prefer their furry friend's company over humans - my wife, Kari-Lyn feels that way! But why do we love them so much? Is it their ability to sniff out buried bones, or their talent for playing fetch? Maybe it's because they're always up for a cuddle and a belly rub. Whatever it is, one thing is clear: dogs have a special place in our hearts and homes.

In light of Resurrection Sunday, and the hope it brings, let’s explore the different ways Christians view our beloved canines and their relationship to God. Some folks believe that dogs have supernatural powers, while others insist they have souls just like people. Then there are those who may not go so far as to believe a dog has an immortal soul, but they do say that dogs are creatures of intrinsic value who deserve our kindness and respect. But no matter where you land on the spectrum, there's one thing we can all agree on: dogs are a woofin' important part of our lives and we should love and care for them like family.  As we explore some of these theories keep in mind that I’m not advocating for any weird, witchy stuff.  Just trying to crack some of the mysteries of nature, and figure out if dogs go to heaven!

Winnie Bear, My Fur baby!

Supernatural Dogs?

Rupert Sheldrake, a biologist and author, has been one of the most vocal proponents of the idea that dogs have supernatural powers. He has conducted studies on what he calls "morphic resonance," which is the idea that there is a field of energy that connects all living beings. Wait, wasn’t that Yoda’s line?  Anyway, Sheldrake argues that dogs are particularly attuned to this field, which allows them to sense when their owners are coming home or to detect medical conditions like cancer. 

One of the most notable experiments conducted by Rupert Sheldrake involved a dog named Jaytee and his owner, Pam Smart. Sheldrake set up a series of experiments in which he would instruct Smart to come home at unpredictable times, while he monitored Jaytee's behavior from a remote location. In one variation of the experiment, Smart would come home at random intervals in different vehicles, making it difficult for Jaytee to anticipate her arrival.

To Sheldrake's surprise, Jaytee still seemed to know when Smart was coming home, even when she arrived in a different car or at an unexpected time. He repeated the experiment over several weeks with similar results, leading him to conclude that dogs have a kind of “telepathic" connection with their owners that allows them to sense their presence and anticipate their return. 

Could this simply be a God-given instinct? I mean some animals can anticipate, and respond to an impending storm.  Elephants have also been observed to sense coming earthquakes.  The Lord’s vast creation of animals is amazing, and we’re only starting to get past the tip of the iceberg in animal research!

However, not everyone is convinced that dogs are supernatural beings. While his theories are controversial and have been criticized by some scientists, Sheldrake's work has sparked a broader conversation about the nature of animal consciousness and the relationship between humans and their animal companions.

Dogs With Souls?

Some theologians and other Christian authors have argued that dogs, like humans, have an immaterial aspect. In other words, according to their “dog-ma” (see what I did there?), our furry friends are blessed with souls as pure as their love for us.

They point to the creation story in Genesis, which describes how God breathed the breath of life into all living creatures, including animals. While the Hebrew word used to describe the breath of life in animals is different from the one used for humans, some theologians argue that this distinction is not meant to suggest that animals are inferior or lacking in spiritual value.

Instead, they argue that animals have a kind of spiritual awareness or connection to God that is different from that of humans. Maybe it's because they're not as distracted by smartphones and Netflix? This idea is supported by biblical passages such as Job 12:7-10, which describes how even the animals and birds know that God is the creator of all things, and that they depend on God for their sustenance. Many of us humans would do well to remember that!  Other passages, such as Psalm 104:24-25, 27-28, and Matthew 10:29-31, suggest that God values and cares for all of his creatures, including animals.  So the next time you're feeling down, just remember: God loves you almost as much as he loves your dog.  I’m kidding… maybe!

Intrinsic Value

Not everyone believes that dogs have supernatural powers.  Even if you're not a believer in doggy miracles, you can't deny the fact that they're precious little balls of fur who deserve the love and treats we give them.  Or, in my dog’s case, larger balls of fur! Some say dogs don’t have souls.  However, most people would agree that they have intrinsic value and are worthy of kindness and respect. This idea is supported by biblical passages such as Proverbs 12:10, which states that "The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel."

Similarly, Deuteronomy 22:6-7 instructs the Israelites to let a mother bird go free if they find her nesting in a tree, rather than taking her eggs or young. This passage suggests that God cares about the welfare of animals and wants us to treat them with kindness and compassion. Other passages, such as Exodus 23:5 and Proverbs 27:23-27, reinforce the idea that we should help animals in need and be good stewards of the natural world.

Beyond the biblical teachings, there is also scientific evidence to suggest that dogs are intelligent, social animals with emotional capacities that are similar to those of humans. Studies have shown that dogs are capable of complex social and communicative behaviors, and that they can experience a range of emotions, from joy and love to fear, anxiety, and even remorse. Just think about how many times you've caught your dog stealing food off the counter, only to see the guilty look on their face when they realize they've been caught. Maybe they know it's wrong, but just can't resist those delicious treats!


While there is ongoing debate about the supernatural and spiritual nature of dogs, there is little doubt that they have intrinsic value and we should give them the kindness and respect that we are to give all God’s creation. Whether we view them as supernatural critters, creatures with souls, or simply as intelligent and emotional animals, it is clear that dogs play an important role in our lives and deserve to be treated with compassion and care. 

Romans 8:19-22 suggests that the whole creation is in a state of longing and groaning, waiting for the redemption and restoration that will come with the full realization of God's kingdom. Even the animal kingdom is eagerly awaiting the restoration and redemption that will come with the Kingdom of God. While nature may appear violent or cruel at times, this behavior could be a reflection of the frustration and longing that comes from living in a fallen world.

Perhaps, in some way, dogs and other animals are yearning, as we are, for the day when all things will be made right and the pain and suffering of this world will be no more. Sometimes I look at my dog and think maybe we’re both waiting in hope for the fullness of God's kingdom to be revealed.  And if dogs do go to heaven, hopefully there will also be lots of tennis balls and squirrels!  

Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version.  (Colorado Springs, CO:  Biblica Inc. 2011)

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