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What part do animals play in God’s plan?

Because Jesus paid the ransom price by sacrificing his perfect sinless life for Adam and all his progeny, the entire human race has been redeemed and will have a chance for life either in heaven or on earth in the future. “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (I Corinthians 15:22) 

Although Jesus’ incredible sacrifice was for humanity, not for animals, nonetheless, animals play an integral role in God’s grand design. Animals have been vital to the earth’s ecology, have assisted man in his labors, have been a means of sustenance and have been comforting loyal companions since the creation of man. God had great love for his animals and asked Adam to name them (Genesis 2:19-20). The prophet Isaiah alludes to the role animals will play in the future peaceable kingdom on earth.

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand in the viper’s nest.” (Isaiah 11:6-8)

From the above scriptures we learn that animals will no longer be predators, but will be tame, loving vegetarians. 

Will animals die in the kingdom? Will a person be able to request the return of his beloved pet? The Bible offers us no direct answers to these questions. What we do know is that God’s plan for man, the earth and its creatures is all encompassing and will be more wonderful than our imperfect finite minds can fathom. We look forward with great anticipation to the day when suffering, sickness and death of man (and God’s beloved animals) will be but a distant memory. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:4-5)