Q: I wonder if after their death is there a kingdom for our beloved pets and any animal that is killed. Does The Urantia Book mention this?
A: This is such a heartfelt question…you are not alone in wondering about your beloved pets in the afterlife. The best response to this question is found in the Jesus Papers. On the tour of the Mediterranean world, Jesus and Ganid come across an intelligent dog, and Jesus has this exchange with Ganid about it:
130:2.8 That afternoon Jesus and Ganid had both enjoyed playing with a very intelligent shepherd dog, and Ganid wanted to know whether the dog had a soul, whether it had a will, and in response to his questions Jesus said: “The dog has a mind which can know material man, his master, but cannot know God, who is spirit; therefore the dog does not possess a spiritual nature and cannot enjoy a spiritual experience. The dog may have a will derived from nature and augmented by training, but such a power of mind is not a spiritual force, neither is it comparable to the human will, inasmuch as it is not reflective— it is not the result of discriminating higher and moral meanings or choosing spiritual and eternal values. It is the possession of such powers of spiritual discrimination and truth choosing that makes mortal man a moral being, a creature endowed with the attributes of spiritual responsibility and the potential of eternal survival.” Jesus went on to explain that it is the absence of such mental powers in the animal which makes it forever impossible for the animal world to develop language in time or to experience anything equivalent to personality survival in eternity. As a result of this day’s instruction Ganid never again entertained belief in the transmigration of the souls of men into the bodies of animals.
It is kind of a hard truth as we realize that our pets will not have an eternal existence with us; we feel so close to them, and they give us such comfort, companionship, and joy. But I am sure that you can see the logic of Jesus’ explanation. If our pets do not have the capacity for spiritual growth, they simply cannot survive as a mortal does. They—and their goodness—are simply absorbed as a part of the “cosmic force.”
It’s good to know that those positive emotions that you feel as a result of your experiences with your pets MAY survive, if those emotions and ideas were helpful to you for your eternal career. Those feelings of love and devotion that you feel are certainly good—and who can say whether you will retain memory of your pets?
112:5.22 The Thought Adjuster will recall and rehearse for you only those memories and experiences which are a part of, and essential to, your universe career. If the Adjuster has been a partner in the evolution of aught in the human mind, then will these worth-while experiences survive in the eternal consciousness of the Adjuster. But much of your past life and its memories, having neither spiritual meaning nor morontia value, will perish with the material brain; much of material experience will pass away as onetime scaffolding which, having bridged you over to the morontia level, no longer serves a purpose in the universe. But personality and the relationships between personalities are never scaffolding; mortal memory of personality relationships has cosmic value and will persist. On the mansion worlds you will know and be known, and more, you will remember, and be remembered by, your onetime associates in the short but intriguing life on Urantia.
This passage speaks of “relationship between personalities…” People swear that their pets have personality—that they are quite individualistic. But, do pets really have personalities like humans? In spite of a pet-lover’s certainty about this, animals do not possess this most important element of eternal survival—at least not as we might understand the word “personality.” If you read THIS DESCRIPTION of human personality, you’ll see that an animal is very unlikely to posses it.
36:6.5 The life bestowed upon plants and animals by the Life Carriers does not return to the Life Carriers upon the death of plant or animal. The departing life of such a living thing possesses neither identity nor personality; it does not individually survive death. During its existence and the time of its sojourn in the body of matter, it has undergone a change; it has undergone energy evolution and survives only as a part of the cosmic forces of the universe; it does not survive as individual life. The survival of mortal creatures is wholly predicated on the evolvement of an immortal soul within the mortal mind.
160:2.2 Since animals cannot communicate ideas to each other, they cannot develop personality. Man develops personality because he can thus communicate with his fellows concerning both ideas and ideals.
It makes us happy to think that our pets will survive in a kingdom of their own—to happily play and frolic in the eternal worlds…but my feeling is that once we arrive on the Mansion Worlds, with all the newness and adventure that will await us there, we will be so absorbed in our new life, and new spiritual companions, that we will likely not miss the companionship of our departed pets—even though they can play such an important role for us in our earthly life.
Thanks again for writing. I wish I could give you a more positive response, for I know this is so important to pet-lovers everywhere…for now, just be grateful that God has provided the sweet and loving presence of pets in our lives, and trust that their ultimate welfare is the province of God, who is all Love.