Question:

Hello!

I'm an 18-year-old girl who is beginning to have doubts about my faith. The reason is that I recently had to put down my pet rat and I am taking it pretty rough. It is so rough that I'm doubting myself and my religion (Catholic). My questions are these: Is she in heaven right now? Is my little rat who licked my nose, played with me, cuddled with me, ate dinner with me every night, made me happy and want to get out of bed in the morning in heaven with God? She was more than just a rat to me. She was my companion. Kind of like a daughter in a way. Why would God separate us? Why would He allow a human being to get so close to an animal if they didn't go to heaven together?

Thank you for reading this, and I hope I get an answer soon.

Have a good day.

Answer:

Almost all animals on this earth live far shorter lives than humans. Therefore, any animal you have as a pet is one you will likely see die at some point. A domesticated rat typically lives only two or three years.

It was you who chose to give love to this animal. You invested a lot of your emotions into your pet. But now that your pet has died, you want to blame God for the natural order of this world? It sounds to me that you are the one with expectations that could not be met.

Consider that in my office, I have a number of plants. I get pleasure from taking care of them and watching them grow. While I would be disappointed if one of them dies, I know that such does happen. I don't expect my plant to go to heaven. I know that it returns to the dust of the earth. From a biblical perspective, plants don't have life, as an animal does, but they do have a place in the order of this world and we can enjoy them. Animals, too, have a place in this world, but they only exist in this world.

Animals have life, but they do not have a spirit that lives on after death. Only man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27); that is, man was given a spirit like his Maker. In discussing death, Solomon mentions in Ecclesiastes 3:18-21 that men and animals face the same fate -- we both die. Though by faith we are certain that men go to heaven, we can't prove this while living in the physical world. "Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth?" (Ecclesiastes 3:21). Even though this is expressed in the form of a question, notice that there are two different fates for men and for animals. Animals return to the dust of the world, as do the bodies of men. But the spirits of men return to God. "Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

You have nice memories of your pet -- treasure the memories. However, life doesn't revolve around what you want or how you think it should operate. God made the universe, including you and me. We can only accept the rules of this sphere and be thankful for what we are given.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email