THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE & THE INNOCENTS
(Why should the guilty be forgiven while the innocent pay the price?)
Shall not the Righteous Judge of all do right? You can bet He will! And just what is right when it comes to our pets and other animals living again? The right thing for them is that He will allow them to live forever, and the main reason it's right is that God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 3:16), has paid for all the sins of man (1 Cor. 15:3).
We must recall how that God created everything in the beginning (Gen. 1) and said that it was all very good (Gen. 1:31). There was nothing about any of His creation that was in any way less than perfect. But then Adam and Eve disobeyed the only command they were given by God (Gen. 3) and, just as He had said would happen, all of creation fell and became corrupted and began to die. All the suffering and death of creation can be traced to that "fall" in the Garden of Eden (Rom. 5:12). Even though it was only man that had sinned, yet God, in His infinite justice and wisdom, allowed all of creation to be affected because of it. This means that all of the "innocent" creation--all the animals and other life forms, as well as all that was not life--also had to pay the price for the sins of man.
Yet, again, it was only man that had sinned--it was only man that was the "guilty" party. But God, in His infinite love (for "God is love," 1 Jn. 4:8), loved the human beings that He had made in His image and, in the course of time and in the person of Jesus Christ, became man Himself in order to pay the price for our sins so that we may live again--with Him.
So what we have now is this. God has paid the price for the sins of man, for the sins of the "guilty," and all of the guilty may now live--that is, if we choose to. But we have been redeemed and we may now live forever and ever with Him in the restored Paradise right here on the renewed earth (Rev. 21:1-5) when this age is over. It was our sins that stood between our God and us but He has now removed them out of the way (Col. 2:14). And it was our sins that also stood between God and the rest of His creation (the innocent ones), too, but, again, those very sins have now been removed out of their way, as well. The curse has been reversed (Gal. 3:13; Rev. 22:3) and the total manifestation of its reversal now only awaits the end of this age and the entering in of the New Heavens and the New Earth.
So, what about those "innocent" ones and what about all those other creatures who never sinned against their Creator and yet were included in the penalty anyway? Must they continue to suffer the effects forevermore? Especially now that the very cause of the penalty itself, that is, the sins of man, has been taken out of the way?
The way I see it is this. It would not be just and right for God, the Righteous Judge, to allow the "guilty" ones to go completely free and to be forgiven of their sins never having to suffer again while, at the same time, continuing to allow those who were "innocent" to pay the price forevermore! Remember, none of creation would have been corrupted and allowed to suffer and die had not man sinned in the first place. And if, as it would turn out, those "innocent" creatures were never revived to live again, after having already lived a life of pain, suffering and death (often violent death) for something they were never even guilty of, that would seem to be unjust.
How could it be that the Righteous Judge would ever render such a verdict as this? The guilty get to escape their deserved punishment forever while the innocent must undeservedly pay the price for sins that they were not even guilty of? You tell me: how does this sound just and right? Is not God's justice a perfect and infinite justice? And, as such, can we not expect it to include the innocent ones in the great redemption of "all" that is in heaven and earth (Eph. 1:10; Col. 1:20)? And is not God's righteousness also perfect and infinite? Or does it have arbitrary limits? Is there a limit to God's righteousness--to His doing that which is right? Does the Righteous Judge only go so far with this justice thing? Does He limit Himself to the exoneration of the guilty and the wicked alone, while assigning eternal annihilation and extinction to the innocent, to all of the "good" creation (having remained "good") that He had originally made to live forever? Personally, I don't think so. I could be wrong , of course, but I don't think so. Instead, I think the Righteous Judge of all shall do right. If the guilty are able to live, then so will the innocents!
Note: More discussion on the topics of Articles such as this can be found in the book, "Will I See Him Again? (A Look at Pets in Heaven)," by Tom Waldron. The book is available from Amazon.com (see home page of Mybutchie.com for link). Also, please feel free to e-mail me with any comments or whatever you may have at: