I can only post from my own thoughts..... I asked this question some time ago to explore the answers within orthodox Christianity. These were my
initial thoughts an conclusions:
- Animals have no way of accepting or denying god, so redemption as such for them purely as individuals doesn't make sense.
- We are told that some kind of new reality is in store eventually (i.e. the idea of a purely spiritual eternity is not Biblical or traditional and we
should expect some kind of transcendent physicality).
- God seems to like physicality in some way, given He made it, and given He participated in it.
- We hear of visions of strange "other" orders of creation, that seem to be phyiscal. Beasts with knowledge of God. And man. Angels. Cherubim.
- the Incarnation and how it leads to a redemption of things makes just as much (if not more) sense if we think of it as creation-redeemed as just
man-redeemed: God-become-man is arguably less extraordinary and far-reaching as God-become-his-own-creation. In fact, as a point of logic, God could
become "man" in the spiritual sense without the Incarnation. The fact of Him descending into the biological - nay the "mineral" - seems to me to
suggest that as much as man is changed forever by that union, so is all physical matter and law.
Any more than those observations seemed to be imputing too much. But those in themselves indicated this kind of conclusions to me (in no particular
- I do not expect to see animals "judged" according to knowledge of God and action in good and evil.
- I do not "expect" that animals are given eternal life - inverted commas important.
- If the granting of an animal an eternal life is a "good thing" (once we finally understand finally what the Good Things are) then of course animals
will be granted an eternal life.
- God is the only root "good thing" and all of what we think of as good things are only really Good Things because they repose in Him and His will
- If He went to the trouble of creating so many perfect pussycats, terriers, Elasmotheriums, stag beetles, HIV viruses or stinging nettles then He
might have had a love for them that means He sees a greater purpose for them in a transcended and redeemed reality too. I cannot imagine how or what.
But for sure their purpose would be as different as ours in that reality.
- I have no idea what that reality will be. Though it will be "different" is taught, and that much seems obvious.
- I do not know what our own existence is to be in that reality either. I don't know what it means to speak of an individual in that reality. Are we
to be discrete things or part of one thing? I don't know. Are we to be able to "think" in the sense that our temporary biological brains allow us to
"think"? I do not know. Are we to be self-aware, as we think ourselves to be now? I do not know. Maybe we will be more than all of that. Or less. Or
just so different (and, one would hope, so much more) it is worthless speculating...
- He may have some mysterious other reason for allowing or denying animals - but He's certainly not explicitly told us. Whatever the case, when we
finally know, we will agree that His view is the right/correct/true/merciful/blessed/perfect view. So we need not unduly worry either way.
- I do not think there is an eternity for beings who want to frolic in their own happiness independently of some knowledge of God. Though having used
the word "happiness" I reflect that IN THE END there is no happiness other than in God and created by God. So any animals perhaps would have to be
granted some measure of knowledge. Reflect again on my doubts about brain-based-physical knowledge though. But maybe, the new creation involves an
transcended physicality with something like physical/brain-based knowledge - who knows?
- Given what we feel about our animals, our plants, our world, our universe... if we need those things in order to be with God then they will be
given. If we don't then they can only be a hindrance and will not be given. But there's no way that being with God could ever be compromised. If the
truth is that we are with Him and the animals are not, we will realise and love that fact. If the truth is the other way, we will love and adore that
- Always if any aspect of things seems to be a "good" to us then we will find that "good" in the same God an infinite time over, including all the
life and all the goodness of what we thought here was an independent life and goodness.
Best wishes, and hoping that wasn't too sermon-like. It was all quite Christian so might not be very relevant if you don't come from that
edit on 4-12-2012 by d60944 because: (no reason given)