Do Animals Yearn for Heaven Like People Do?
The world, as it is, is not as it is supposed to be. Christian believers who live in expectation of heaven are already aware of this. But did you know that all of nature knows it too?
"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." (Romans 8:22)
Why is creation groaning? Because human sin has crippled it from being all it was meant to be.
"For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it." (Romans 8:20)
Adam subjected creation to judgment. Nature had no say in the matter, nor was it at fault for the world as it is. Nevertheless, nature strives for its true purpose and place, but it can never reach it. It suffers in frustration for its freedom from the curse of Adam. Yet all of nature has the spiritual awareness to know that there is a future event in which all will be made right again, and it patiently awaits its own restoration.
"For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed" (Romans 8:19). In that day, believers will be given their adoption to sonship, and "creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God" (Romans 8:21). Animals too live in hope of freedom from this present terrible world.
Just as believers will be gifted with the redemption of their bodies, so will the world of animals, plants and all created things be renewed. In his book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn says, "Mankind and animals and all creation are linked together not only in curse and judgment but also in blessing and deliverance."
The gospel is not just for humans, but for all creatures. The apostle Paul acknowledges that the gospel "has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven" (Colossians 1:23). Scripture also tells us that creatures in all realms will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. Every knee will bow—"in heaven and on earth and under the earth" (Philippians 2:10)—at the name of Jesus.
In fact, even inanimate objects will rejoice. The Psalmist says that the rivers will clap their hands their hands, and the mountains will sing for joy when the Lord comes to judge the world in righteousness. Then all of creation—man and nature, everything that has spirit—will rejoice together.
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:19-23)
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Phillippians 2:9-11)
Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity. (Psalm 98:7-9)
If you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. (Colossians 1:23)