The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.
God, speaking through his faithful prophet, Isaiah, indicates that this will occur after He creates new heavens and a new earth. We see this same language in Revelation 21:1, indicating that this will occur after God has poured out his wrath upon the ungodly and taken his His people to be with him. The implication is that there will be animals in eternity.
God intends to redeem all of His creation. In John 3:16, Jesus says:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The word “world” is interesting. In the Greek, it is cosmos. This word can be translated as all people, as indicated here. It can also refer to all of creation as well. God declared prior to the sin of man that:
24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Notice that God saw that it was good. There is no reason to believe that God will not redeem the creatures of the earth. Whether the creatures that had already existed in the past will be redeemed or not is mere speculation. Although they have souls, we are not told anywhere in the Bible that they have spirits. Most likely (and this is mere speculation), God will create new creatures once He destroys evil and wickedness from the face of the earth with fire:
7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
Do you enjoy the company of animals here and now? Be assured that you will do the same once God prepares the universe for His redeemed ones in glory. God intends to redeem what we have lost to His Glory and pleasure, and for our pleasure as well!
[Special thanks to T. G.]
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You show us great and wonderful things in Your word. We thank you that you are so patient with us, and that Your character is perfect. Thank You for showing us Your level of care for us as well as for Your creation. You are restoring what once was and should have been from the beginning – uninterrupted relationship and fellowship with those You have created. You are marvelous, and Your mercy and grace are seen by all by what You have done, what You do now, and what You have declared You will do. Keep us until the time of the great and terrible day when Your Son comes in glory as the conquering Lion. Guard us until that day, and give us a sense of awe and expectation for these things that are to come. This I ask in the precious name of Jesus Christ, Amen.