Saturday, September 20, 2003

Do all dogs go to heaven?
In memory of Shasta, 1996-2002
I think the orthodox answer is animals obviously are like us in that they are sentient - they feel, and they have emotions (of which dogs, for example, are charming in their display). Which is why empathy for animals is a virtue we try to inculcate in children and we teach that cruelty to animals is a sin. But: plants have the lowest kind of soul, animals have a sensitive soul and people have a spiritual soul, which is why we receive sacraments and definitely have a chance at heaven, and our animals don't receive them! (Ecce Panis angelorum... vere Panis filiorum, non mittendus canibus.)

As for the ultimate destiny of our animals, I think there are two ways the orthodox can go here. 1) is the harsh one, that they simply cease to be when they die. But some orthodox but modern people offer the hope that 2) at the general resurrection all creation will be renewed, and that will include our animals, so we might have them back in the end after all. Think of it as another reward for the blessed - you'll have Fido or Fluffy back.

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