Matins Devotion: December 5, 2022
When I was growing up, there was a certain young girl my age at church who always asked the same question in Sunday school, every year, regardless of whatever subject the teacher was talking about. That question? “Will there be cats and dogs in heaven?”
Now, every time she got the same answer. “No, there won’t be animals in heaven because animals don’t have souls.” But the young lady kept asking the question anyway, hoping against hope that she’d eventually get the answer that she wanted. Well, I have some good news for the tenacious young lass: I think our Sunday School teachers were wrong. I think there will be cats and dogs and other animals in heaven and I think the prophet Isaiah makes a pretty clear case for it in our first reading for today.
When Adam fell into sin, all of creation fell with him, something we see reflected in the brutality of the natural world. God did not create wolves to devour lambs, but to dwell with them in peace. He did not create the cobra to pierce the flesh and drain the life of little children with its venom.
And so, when the shoot of Jesse arrives, when the Savior comes to His people, what will He do for them? As Isaiah tells us today, He will restore creation. Having crushed the serpent with His righteous foot, Jesus will rip this world out of Satan’s hands and having conquered sin, death, and the devil with His resurrection, Jesus will return His Father’s creation to its original state of perfection at the moment of His return. The lion will do what it was created to do and lay down with the lamb. The child shall put his hand into the adder’s den and the serpent shall lovingly coil itself around its little friend.
So will there be cats and dogs and other animals in heaven? Yes, I believe there will be. They will be there not because they’re cute and fluffy, but because God made them to show you His majesty and love, the same majesty and love that were made your own forever in the blood of Jesus Christ. Will the birds of the air and the beasts of the fields be with us in glory? I believe they will. Because their chirps and barks and roars and meows will proclaim that you belong to the God who was always going to take back everything Satan took from Him, the God who was never going to leave you in the jaws of the serpent, the God whose only begotten Son died and rose again to restore Eden and to restore you forever.