I have been reading the Left Behind series. Of course, it has brought up many questions. One for now is in the Rapture, will God take animals? He takes all believers and all children under 12. Why would he create animals for us to love like children and then not allow them to be saved?
The Bible has much to say about being kind to animals. One of my favorite verses is,
A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast, But the compassion of the wicked is cruel. (NASB) Proverbs 12:10
This meant much to me while my dog, Prince, was alive. He died about five years ago, but I will probably not see him in heaven. Animals do not go to heaven as far as we know, nor do they go to hell. Scripture only says men and women have spirits (1 Corinthians 15:45-46), and it is men and women who go to heaven (John 3:16) or hell (John 3:17-18). If animals do not have spirits, they cease to exist when they die. But scripture has made it clear that men and women will live eternally either in heaven or in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14-15).
And nowhere in scripture are we told that children under twelve (12) years of age will automatically go to heaven. However, King David lost a son because he killed Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba. In the mourning that followed, David indicates that he will see his son some day in heaven,
But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me. (NASB) 2 Samuel 12:23
This passage indicates that babies will go to heaven. They apparently go to heaven because they are not accountable for their actions since they are not old enough to know right from wrong, and they will never have a chance to believe or not believe in Jesus. Do older children automatically go to heaven? The answer is probably yes, but we can only guess as to how old is too old. When a child is able to know the difference between right and wrong, he probably becomes accountable for his actions before God. We are guessing – scripture is not clear!
Scripture does not give us answers to all of our questions. Scripture is mainly concerned about our sin and our eternity. Our only certainty is that human beings are spiritual beings who will live forever – eternity in heaven or hell. I believe that when God created mankind in His image He created us as spiritual beings (Genesis 1:26; 2:7). Scripture does not really give us answers about little children and animals.