Don’t All Dogs Go to Heaven?

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Medically speaking, as a veterinary practitioner you get an array of challenging questions. Every day it seems there is something new that I have never considered. As we navigate life in an ever-changing culture, the struggle to communicate effectively is a real one. Without rival, the prized event of any veterinarian’s day is the new puppy or kitten visit. Bundled with the newness of life, the soft fur, and the puppy breath are inevitably the client with a list of questions, or even better yet, the child with ” a question for the doctor.” In anticipation of the challenge, I am often reminded of sound advice from one of my early mentors who said, “If you take the child by the hand, you take the parent by the heart.” Therefore, every inquiry is a test, an interview, a treasured opportunity to be an ambassador.

So begs the question, all dogs do go to Heaven, right? The answer is not a simple one. The Bible does not explicitly state that we will see our pets again in Heaven. However, Isaiah 11:6 says “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them.” Taking into account the character of God and His love, 1 Timothy 6:17 tells us, that He “gives us richly all things to enjoy.” So in God’s provision for us here on Earth, we can trust that His provision for all creation will certainly be likewise in Heaven, only better than we could imagine. Let us apply this similarly to the question: Don’t all religions lead to Heaven?  The answer here is much more clear-cut: No. Ultimately, we must define what do you mean by Heaven?

First of all, the basic premise lies in how one defines Truth. Is there such a thing as absolute truth, or is truth relative? For example, can what is right for you be true for you, and what is right for me be true for me, although it contradicts your truth concerning the same circumstance? For instance, a dog can be either inside the house, or outside in the yard, but not both at the same time. This idea is known as the Law of Non-Contradiction.

Next, apply the claims of a few individual belief systems to the idea of Heaven. Judaism believes that if Heaven exists, we will all be there. Islam claims Heaven is for those that Allah chooses. Hinduism purports Heaven as Nirvana, where you are free from all desires. For Buddhism, it is a place of emptiness, free from conscious thought. For Christians, Heaven is a place of eternal joy for those who have accepted the free gift of salvation from Jesus Christ. For secularists or atheists, Heaven does not exist. Easily one can see that they all can’t be true at the same time, and they are in essence contradictory claims.

Third, in considering the options, can the truth be known, or is the truth just a matter of our feelings or preferences? Dr. Frank Turek presents a great analogy for this dilemma. You can read a book and understand its contents (truths), yet deny there is an author (God). But without an author, there would be no book! In such case life only becomes a matter of my preferences over your preferences and leads to chaos in the absence of rules to govern anyone’s behavior. Such an issue of existence in untenable and does not favor the flourishing of society because there is no standard of behavior. If there is a measure of behavior, called morality, then there is a moral law. If there is a moral law, there must be a moral law-giver. In his book Stealing From God, Dr. Turek outlines actually why atheists need God to make their case against Him.

Finally, if all religions cannot lead to Heaven based on the Law of Non-Contradiction, which one does? I suggest you consider the evidence for each religious claim. A serious examination of the facts will bear out the truth. This exam may take some time, but don’t despair. If you are brutally honest, the reality of the truth will be self-evident after the discovery that there is more positive evidence for Christianity than any other worldview. In doing so, you must set your feelings and preferences aside. Often feelings and emotion lead you away from the truth. As Blaise Pascal, French philosopher and mathematician once said:

“People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.”

My challenge to you is to make haste and become convicted by the truth. To do otherwise is to say to God, “Not Your Will, but My Will Be Done.”

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