A few weeks ago I posted about my daughter's pet rat dying.
When my dad read the blog entry he sent my daughter an e-mail response with his thoughts on animals and death. My dad is not a theologian or a pastor, but a physician who deals with life and death daily. His love for scripture and life and everything in between came through so beautifully in this response that I asked him if I could post it here.
So here are Dad's thoughts.
We're sorry to hear about the premature passing of your beloved pet.
It was nice that you were there to comfort him at just the right time.
May I give my opinion about animals and heaven?
It is, of course, just opinion, but based on the Bible, so I think you can trust it.
God's Word (the Bible, words Jesus said would never pass away - see Matthew 5:17-20, for example) talks about animals living together peacefully, not hurting each other. When Jesus brings in the new heaven and new earth, I believe that everything that is wrong with the world will be corrected and restored, like it was in the garden of Eden, before Adam and Eve sinned. At that time there was no reason to be afraid of a talking snake, until Satan deceived them. Anyway, here's a picture of the kingdom of God, from Isaiah's prophecy, chapter 11:
11 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea. (esv, copied from http://bible.logos.com )
So, I think all the animals and insects, all the life-forms God created will be there, but restored to their original, beautiful, harmonious purposes, including rats and spiders.
Once I heard a man talk about having a vision of heaven in which he walked across a field of beautiful flowers. He was afraid to step on them, but when he did, and turned around to see where he'd walked, the flowers stood back up and smiled at him. Jesus knows that we love our pets, and I trust that he'll satisfy our desire to have them restored in heaven. It may not be exactly the way we imagine it, it will be even better.
God will comfort you about losing George. He even comforts us about people who have died. In fact, I think God lets us go through grieving about losing pets to prepare us for losing people. It is especially comforting to understand that we'll see them in heaven, restored, never to get sick and die again. Isn't God good to us, to give us those promises? Jesus even went through death for us, to show us a glimpse of what it is like on the other side (we're told that our new bodies will be like his).
I love the pictures you've had on the blog of you and George.