(When Randy Alcorn wrote his Biblical Theology of Heaven in 2004 simply entitled “Heaven” I preached a series at my church on the subject for three months. I read half a dozen books in my series preparation, and His book was by far the best of the bunch. It’s Theologically deep; contains every passage in the Bible that addresses Heaven and the New Earth; extremely well organized; thought provoking; and full of good argumentation for his interpretations and ideas based on his extensive study. Honestly, I was never that excited about Heaven until I read his book! Now I can barely contain myself about how awesome it will be to be with Jesus for eternity! Alcorn’s writings are always saturated with Scripture, cogently articulated, and interesting. Here is a sampling of his thoughts on animals on the New Earth – enjoy! – By the way, another excellent thought provoking book on this topic is Peter Kreeft’s Heaven: The Heart’s Deepest Longing – DPC)
Animals in Heaven?
I have included two full chapters on this fascinating subject in the book Heaven but I will try to summarize the main points here (Randy Alcorn. Heaven. Wheaton: Tyndale 2004 – pictured above). Animals were part of God’s perfect original design for Earth and mankind. “God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:25).
Because animals were a significant part of life on the original Earth and Scripture makes it clear that God will remake the earth just as he will remake mankind, it stands to reason that animals will be part of the New Earth. (Why wouldn’t they be?)
We’re told that animals, along with all creation, long for the deliverance that will be theirs at the time of the redemption of our bodies, at the resurrection (Romans 8:19, 23). They await and long for it, because they will be part of it.
As the entire creation, including animals, plants, and nature itself, fell on humanity’s coattails, so shall the entire creation rise on our coattails, as beneficiaries of Christ’s redemptive work.
Isaiah 11, 60, and 65 depict animals on the New Earth. (For reasons I explain in the book – Heaven, the application of these passages cannot be restricted only to the millennial kingdom.)
God’s plan for a renewed Earth after the Flood—the judgment of water—prominently involved animals. Wouldn’t we expect his plan for a renewed Earth after the future judgment of fire to likewise include animals? The rescue of mankind and animals in the ark is a picture of the resurrection, through which people and animals are rescued to live on the New Earth. Since according to Romans 8 it is those presently suffering and groaning who will be delivered, it’s likely that some of the same animals on the present Earth will be remade to live on the New Earth.
Because the New Earth will be earthly, we shouldn’t be surprised to realize it will have animals. Like all of God’s other creations, they will declare his attributes and we will find joy in God by finding joy in them.
About Randy Alcorn
Randy Alcorn is a versatile and prolific author, and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), a nonprofit ministry dedicated to teaching principles of God’s Word and assisting the church in ministering to the unreached, unfed, unborn, uneducated, unreconciled, and unsupported people around the world. His ministry focus is communicating the strategic importance of using our earthly time, money, possessions and opportunities to invest in need-meeting ministries that count for eternity. He accomplishes this by analyzing, teaching, and applying the biblical truth.
Before starting EPM in 1990, Randy served as a pastor for fourteen years. He has an MA degree in Biblical Studies from Multnomah University and an Honorary Doctorate from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon and has taught on the adjunct faculties of both.
A New York Times bestselling author, Randy has written more than forty books, including the bestsellers Heaven, The Treasure Principle, and the Gold Medallion winner Safely Home.His books in print exceed seven million and have been translated into over thirty languages.Randy has written for many magazines including EPM’s quarterly issues-oriented magazine Eternal Perspectives. He is active daily on Facebook and Twitter, has been a guest on more than 700 radio, television and online programs including Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, Revive Our Hearts, The Bible Answer Man, and The Resurgence.
Randy resides in Gresham, Oregon, with his wife, Nanci. They have two married daughters and are the proud grandparents of five grandsons. Randy enjoys hanging out with his family, biking, tennis, research, and reading.
The short article above was adapted from Randy Alcorn. Heaven: Biblical Answers to Common Questions (booklet). Tyndale House Publishers. Wheaton, 2009. Check out Randy’s excellent website featuring all kinds of fantastic resources: http//www.epm.org.