Hello my siblings in Christ, I am Bojan and welcome to the video that I’ve been meaning to make for the past year but I just never got around to doing it, knowing how long it’ll take. Also, I am really bad at drawing animals, so if you see a pet jellyfish, that is because they’re so easy to draw. I’ve recently put my dog to sleep so now is a good time to talk about an issue that is particularly modern, that is – – the ultimate destiny of animals. So far, I’ve had four pets: Chilly Willy the hamster, Vasa (the cat, not the nun), Tiffany the Persian cat and Čeda the Maltese dog. Next want to get Galápagos tortoise so that, when I die, it can go: ‘’Buaaa, my human died! Do humans go to heaven? I had to put him to sleep, it was the most difficult decision of my life!’’ Now, do animals animals go to heaven? Bear in mind that I am no theologian and that, at the moment, I’m extremely emotionally charged, so I am biased. Depending on what you mean by ‘heaven’, my answer is – yes and no. If by heaven you mean the time between our death and our resurrection, then no – I don’t think that our animal friends are currently frolicking around the Throne of God. However, they just might be – I’d very much like to be wrong on that part. Us Christians are people of the resurrection, and I wholeheartedly believe that our animal friends will be brought back to life at Christ’s glorious advent. Now, there is a lot of opposition to what I’m saying. For that purpose, I’ve made this handy hand puppet, which I’ll call Symeon the New Strawman, whom I’ll use to present the arguments of my opponents in a simplified manner and then reduce those simplified arguments to dust. Let us begin. Symeon the New Strawman, you have the word. Animals can’t be saved, they aren’t made in the image of God! Well, this one’s easy to refute. Are angels made in the image of God? No. And if you say that someone or something cannot be saved because it’s not made in the image of God, well… How to put this gently… Don’t grow too attached to your guardian angel. God became a man, not an animal! Yes, you are right. God would never sink so low as to take the form of an animal. Ok, seriously now. Yes, the Lord didn’t become incarnate as an animal, but the Holy Spirit sure did take the form as a dove. Now, Christ not being an animal does not imply that animals are doomed – in fact, Him becoming a man affirms the ultimate salvation of animals. Man was placed as a custodian of whole nature, and what Christ does for men extends, through His incarnation, over the whole of material creation. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t bless water, use icons, wear vestments and incorporate matter in different ways into our services. Furthermore, just look at this thing. It’s a cherub. The way it appears to humans is like 90% animal. I think that God and angels are much more affirmative of animals than us humans. Animals cannot be saved, they don’t have an immortal soul! Where to even begin with this one? I like to call this argument ‘Gnosticism in disguise.’ If you say that animals cannot be saved because they don’t have a soul, you’re essentially saying that nothing without a soul will be in the Kingdom of Heaven – we will forever hover in a great void. Do you know what else doesn’t have a soul? Clothes. Mind you, I do not want to see all the saints I see on the frescoes in the nude. That would be awkward for everyone. The argument itself is faulty. It implies that God cannot create something with an actual identity without an immortal soul, as if our soul was a disk with our entire personality. Well, it’s not, body forms our personality as well, and that is why the resurrection is so important. Yes, the animals may not have an immortal soul, and that is why I don’t believe that they exist in some way or another when they die, but they can have living bodies, and those bodies can be resurrected, as attested many times over in the lives of the saints. And if St. Sylvester can resurrect an ox killed with magic, God too can resurrect all the animals since forever. You’re being overly emotional. You don’t need animals to be happy in the Kingdom! Okay, I hate this argument because, technically, it is correct. Yes, I don’t need them. You know who else I don’t need in the Kingdom of God to be happy? My family. My friends. All the angels. The Mother of God. You. Everyone you love. While it is true that the grace of God fill any lack that we might have, it is also the most basic of Christian hopes that many will end up in the Kingdom, including, but not limited to, non-Christians, our enemies and so forth. We call that love, wishing the best for the other. It’s not about ‘me’ and ‘me being happy’ – I would just genuinely rejoice at all those animals enjoying existence again. Finally, while I don’t need animals to be happy, animals still are a manifestation of God’s love for us. What makes animals amazing is that, while that manifestation is not God’s love for us per se, that manifestation can and does love us in return. It is a literal gift that gives on giving. A Christian that has ceded animals to ultimate destruction essentially says that they weren’t that big of a gift in the first place. Saint X said that animals don’t go to heaven! Here I would simply reiterate the standard responses to Saint X said argument: the issue is not dogmatically defined by the Church, saints aren’t magically infallible, there are issues upon which saints disagree and this is something we will only be certain of after we die and are resurrected. I’d add my two cents here – Pets are a very modern thing. In previous times, people approached animals in an utilitarian fashion: cattle provides meat, milk and leather, fowl provides meat and eggs, cats hunt dangerous rodents, dogs protect. Even if one had a ‘pet,’ it was usually not allowed in the house. People didn’t bond with animals as muc and weren’t strangers to personally killing animals that would end up on their plate. Having that in mind, I could easily see why some saint would be far more detached from the salvation of animals than a modern man. However, that does not make my experience any less relevant. People invest too much time and energy into their pets, calling them their children! Yes, we can love our pets too much, but idolatry does not mean that the object of worship is bad on its own, it is just that our own love is excessive. If you proclaim the Mother of God a goddess, it doesn’t make her bad, it makes your overzealous love for her bad. For both Čeda and Tiffany, my pets from the beginning of this video, I flat our refused to have expensive surgeries which would save their lives – I thought it would be unfair to invest so much money for animals when there are people living in this world who never see such an amount in their own lifetime. I love my pets, but they’re still not human. What’s next? Dog baptisms!? Kitty communions!? Just no. Now, what does the Bible say? The Bible is clear. God proclaimed animals to be good (as with the rest of creation), and He creates no thing in order for it to be destroyed. God won’t even destroy Satan when everything comes to an end, and I seriously doubt that He’d destroy my cat Tiffany and yet allow the Prince of Evil to exist. Buddhist monks of Tibet are known for making beautiful mandalas out of sand just so they would destroy them – and trust me, neither is Christ a Tibetan monk, nor is His creation a sand mandala. St. John the Theologian saw a new heaven and new earth, purged from death and sin. According to the Scriptures, the only thing that dies, in the end, is death itself. In new heaven, there will be no new angels, just the separation of angels and demons; on new earth, there will be no new humans and no new animals, just the old ones completely freed from the clutches of death. I will just finish this with a quote from St. Justin Popović who said: “The Kingdom of God isn’t the Kingdom of God until every last little bug is in there.” I can only say – amen. Hello everyone, I just wanted to remind you: if you liked this video and haven’t subscribed already, please consider doing so, and there will be many more videos on different aspects of Christian life. Bye!