CHRISTIAN APOLOGISTS AND THEOLOGIANS WHO BELIEVE IN THE PROBABILITY OF ANIMAL RESURRECTION

dscn0111-640x480Part Eight:  WHAT DOES THEOLOGIAN RICHARD BAUCKHAM AND APOLOGIST JOSEPH BUTLER HAVE TO SAY ABOUT ANIMALS IN HEAVEN?

Richard Bauckham

A few years ago I wrote a review of two books written by this British scholar and theologian for the Christian Research Journal: The Bible and Ecology and Living With Other Creatures. Although Bauckham did not outright state in either book that animals would be resurrected, he did make tantalizing statements that implied they would. For example, in Bible and Ecology he wrote, “If the new creation is the transformation of the whole of this material creation so that all creatures may share in the life of the divine eternity, then Jesus’ resurrection must lead the way to new creation for the whole community of creation, not just humans” (171).

In order to get clarification, I emailed Professor Bauckham and asked this question: “What’s your belief (and why) on whether or not pets and other animals alive today will be in the new heaven and earth?” Bauckham replied, “I take seriously that the new creation is the new creation of all things. So plants too and rivers and mountains! God will take everything of value into the new creation. Redeemed from all evil and suffering.”

It appears certain that Bauckham believed, as John Calvin put it, that all creation “aspires to the hope” of resurrection (see part three). ©

Joseph Butler

Eighteenth century English bishop, theologian, and moral philosopher, Joseph Butler, is probably best known for his apologetic refutation of Deism in The Analogy of Religion. Butler argued that the evidence for an Intelligent Being (i.e. God) is reflected in the design and creation in nature. He further believed that evidence for Jesus’ miraculous resurrection can be drawn from analogies with nature, such as caterpillars dying and resurrecting as butterflies. As such, in the case of animals, Butler argued that nothing in the whole analogy of nature gives the slightest indication that on the future restored and transformed New Earth earthly animals will not survive physical death. In short, Butler believed that just as Jesus’ resurrection guarantees human resurrection, so too animal resurrection is an effect of Christ’s resurrection. ©

Note: The sources for all the quotes and comments by the theologians and apologists referenced in this series are cited in my book, Will Dogs Chase Cats in Heaven?: People, Pets, and Wild Animals in the Afterlife.

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