Friday, May 10, 2019

An argument for animals in heaven

In quick outline, here’s a valid argument:

  1. There are plants in heaven.

  2. If there are plants in heaven, there are non-human animals in heaven.

  3. So, there are non-human animals in heaven.

Let me expand on the argument.

Humans in heaven (i.e., on the New Earth, after resurrection) will have both supernatural and natural fulfillment. The natural fulfillment of humans requires an appropriate environment. That environment requires plants. A heavenly city with no trees or grass or flowers just wouldn’t be heavenly for us. This is fitting as humans were made for a garden. The fall turned the garden into a field of hard labor for survival, but all will be restored, and so there will be a garden again.

But plants, of the sort that form the natural environment of humans, require an ecosystem that includes non-human animals. There need to be pollinators in the air and worms in the ground. And how eerily quiet a garden would be with no birds chirping, how unnatural for humans.

This does not mean that there will be a resurrection of animals. Just as a plant can be perfect without living forever, a non-rational animal can be perfect without living forever. One may, however, worry that we will form attachments to non-human animals and would be saddened by their death. There are three responses. First, perhaps some non-human organisms could live forever, namely particular ones which are important to humans: say, a bonsai or a companion dog. Second, perhaps we wouldn’t form these attachments, maybe because no animals would be tame. Third, it might be that we would all transcend time to the extent that (a) our memory would not fade and (b) we would all have the correct view of time, i.e., eternalism, so that we would be constantly aware that our beloved animal exists simpliciter, albeit in the past.


Apeiros Philosopher said...

Two more possibilities?:

4. Attachments may be formed but perhaps there will be no sadness at their death because of some imperfection in us attached to our considering animal death worth sadness, this imperfection having been straightened out by God. This is unlikely though because there is likely a connection between 'attachment' and 'remorse at the breaking of an attachment' which is conceptual.

5. Sadness is compatible with life in Heaven. We may make attachments and feel remorse at their being severed by the mortality of non-human animals.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Regarding 5: Scripture says that every tear will be wiped away.

Another possibility: It could be a mistake to think that it is appropriate to be attached to *individual* non-person things. Perhaps all non-person things are fungible, and so it is only appropriate to be attached to a *type* of non-person thing. And then there is no sadness at replacement by an equivalent.

Dagmara Lizlovs said...

I know that my horses Merlin and Storm are in Heaven.

Dagmara Lizlovs said...

I know that my cats Lima and Buddy are in Heaven and that our Irish Setter, Kelly, and Lab, Shepherd and Chow?? mix , Chip, are in Heaven.