Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 26 January |
Saint of the Day: Sts Timothy and Titus
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Do All Dogs Go to Heaven?

Elizabeth-Tersigni-CC

Matthew Becklo - published on 05/07/15


Either way, this all seems paltry. Isn’t this just the kind of “angels on the head of a pin” squabble that drives skeptics away from faith? And aren’t there more important questions we should be spending valuable time debating?

But when a side question drives two geniuses (who otherwise agree on so much) into heated disagreement, chances are we’ve hit on something important, even if only indirectly. In this case, Fido’s immortality has big implications for three larger questions: the question of God’s relationship to his creation, the question of death and immortality, and the question of our own human nature. My dog’s death is not just a sentimental matter – it’s a metaphysical one.

Hart’s heart is in the right place, but his argument is saddled with intellectual misfires. Feser’s mind is in the right place, but his argument – its metaphysical accuracy notwithstanding – ends with major misgivings. He may make the more persuasive case, but is it case closed?

It’s hard to see why people of faith should discount animals in heaven as a logical impossibility, no matter our metaphysics. In The Problem of Pain, CS Lewis adopts a Pauline perspective to argue that heavenly pets are at least conceivable. It’s “possible,” Lewis writes, “that certain animals may have an immortality, not in themselves, but in the immortality of their masters.” God sanctifies humans, who humanize their pets, each chain linked to the other into eternity – or could it happen in some other way we can’t yet conceive? Peter Kreeft agrees that there’s nothing to stop us from entertaining the thought:

“The simplest answer I know to this question, so frequently asked by children, is: Why not? Children’s questions are usually the best ones, and we should beware treating them with any less seriousness than their askers have in asking them. Right now, pets, like everything else in this world, can mediate God’s love and goodness to us and train us for our union with him, or they can distract us from him. In Heaven, everything mediates and nothing distracts.”

I loved my dog, and I am heartbroken to say goodbye to him. Will I see him again? I don’t think so – not because I don’t love him, and definitely not because God doesn’t love him, but just because God has bigger things planned for his human family, who were made with reason and will in the image and likeness of God.

Still, can I say definitively I won’t be running around with him again at the end of it all? Not a chance. God is a God of surprises – that much I do know.

Matthew Becklo is a husband and father, amateur philosopher, and cultural commentator at Aleteia and Word on Fire. His writing has been featured in First ThingsThe Dish, and Real Clear Religion.

  • 1
  • 2
Tags:
BooksHeavenPope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
2
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
The 4 Ways to read Scripture every Catholic should know
3
Philip Kosloski
When did Christians start praying the Hail Mary?
4
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on YouTube for kids with...
5
LUPKOW CEMETERY
J-P Mauro
Polish statue of Christ found peeking out of a growing tree
6
PHILIP RIVERS
Cerith Gardiner
Quarterback Philip Rivers' retirement announcement reflects his s...
7
ŚWIĘTY JÓZEF
Kathleen N. Hattrup
The Litany of St. Joseph
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.