Will animals be resurrected?
Recently, I received the following Facebook message from "Sandra," a woman that I've never seen or met before. After a pleasant greeting she writes: "I have to tell you I am intrigued by the Jehovah's Witness religion. As a Catholic myself, I feel that my religion is outdated and somewhat hypocritical, truth be told. I fear I have been losing faith in God these past few years and I have been exploring other religions because I feel I need a stronger connection to God because of some personal issues I am having." What are her "issues"?
"I need to believe there is a better place that we go to after death, and [that] I will see my loved ones once again. I hope I do not sound desperate but it is important for my own sanity to have this connection with God. Firpo, can you please tell me what the Jehovah's Witness religion's belief is for animals after death? I have a couple of pets who are very dear to me and one is dying right now and this is very traumatic for me. Please do not think I am strange or that this is a joke. I find you to be a very intelligent man who doesn't 'hold back' and speaks his mind, and I admire that about you."
Michael Joseph Jackson was also attached to one of his pets--a chimpanzee named Bubbles. And though chimpanzees, like gorillas and orangutans (a combination of two Indonesian words, orang and hutan, meaning "man of the forest") belong to the order of great apes, it made little difference to the Moonwalker that Bubbles wasn't a monkey.
What Witnesses Believe: The Bible says "people with God's approval and those without it will come back to life." (Ac 24:15, God's Word Translation) It nowhere says this about animals say the Witnesses. The ancient Egyptians found this difficult to fathom. They had "their special cemeteries containing literally hundreds of thousands of mummified cats, baboons, crocodiles and jackals," say the Witness magazine Awake! July 8, 1972. "Yes, animals are wonderful in their place," says Awake! "But they can never really substitute for humans. To avoid becoming off balance in our viewpoint or emotional attitude we should appreciate that it was the world of mankind that God so loved that he gave his only-begotten Son. (John 3:16)." But, is that the end of the matter?
Intelligent Plants & Animals?: Animals have IQ. For instance, the Bible says "the snake was wiser than any beast of the field" (Gen 3:1, Bible in Basic English), and that Christ's disciples should imitate its 'sagacity.' (Matt 10:16, Weymouth New Testament) Did the snake have a capacity for morality, hence making it eligible to be cursed by God? (Gen 3:14) Plants, too, have IQ, and can perform some amazing humanlike feats.
Not only do we have the carnivorous Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) that 'shrewdly' lures it prey (as does other very 'clever' flesh-eating plants), we also have a tree that literally walks toward the sunlight in order to live. When other very tall trees grow in front of the shorter "Walking Tree," thereby blocking life-giving rays from the sun, the Walking Tree will, as one source puts it, walk "toward the sunlight by growing new roots on the sun side and allowing them to die on the shade side." I saw the Walking Tree firsthand when I trekked through the incomparable, description-defying Amazon jungle.
But can plant life be morally responsible? Did the "tree in the middle of the garden" make itself "desirable to look upon," thereby cooperating in the seduction of Eve? (Gen 3:2, 6) "Call me crazy," said one observer, "but God did curse the ground from which the tree came (Gen 3:17), and the tree itself was destroyed along with all other vegetation during the Flood." True. "Even Jesus angrily cursed a stubbornly deceptive fig tree." (Matt 21:18, 19) But what about plants and animals already consumed? Like cannibalized humans, could some still be resurrected? What about extinct animals? Will humans ever get the opportunity to see these? Did God create animals to die? Will animals die in the future earthly paradise? (Isa 11:6-9; 65:25) Is death an enemy to animals too? (1 Co 15:54-57) Will pet owners like "Sandra" suffer sadness in the new system? No.--Ps 145:16.
But as to the details, let's all be there, and see firsthand. In the meantime, peace and blessings to all. Amen.