According to one of the most famous dog stories produced by Hollywood, all dogs go to heaven. On the other hand, some very famous religious figures have affirmed with all the confidence that comes with never having to offer proof that dogs do not possess a soul and are therefore ineligible to eternally chase after balls in the afterlife. So which is it? Well, if we go by the specifics of some Biblical verses that reference dogs, things do not look good for man’s best friend.
“As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”
When it comes to Biblical verses about dogs, few can match this one for sheer yuckiness. This bit of scripture can be found in Proverbs, so therefore it authentically qualifies as a proverbial statement. A proverbial statement about the foolishness of dogs. And you can’t deny the truth there. Dogs do eat their own vomit and, well, that does seem to be kind of foolish. On the other hand, is there anything that specifically prohibits fools from getting into heaven? On the contrary, a rather amazingly large number of people who have proclaimed the loudest their certainty about what it takes to get into heaven have been fools. And, well, let’s face it: statistical probability almost certainly ensures that if there really is a heaven, the majority of inhabitants absolutely have to be considered fools. So based on this dog story, maybe hoping to see your furry friend in the afterlife is not such a foolish aspiration.
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs.”
Bet you didn’t know that one of the most famous verses in the Bible is also part of one of its dog stories. You may know this dog story more from its verse about casting pearls before swine. Found in the gospel of Matthew, the verse quoted above seems to validate that the writers of the Bible place dogs and pigs on the same level. If so, then based solely on Biblical terms, this would be an insult. In reality, pigs have proven to be far worthier creatures than many humans and a lot smarter than some people, too. You can read this selection from Sermon on the Mount in a number of ways, including the purely metaphorical that has nothing whatever to do with actual dogs. Even so, you can’t but feel pretty bad about the chances for dogs to make it into heaven if you go by this Biblical verse.
“And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which falls from their master’s table.”
Ah, the Gospel of Matthew certainly seems to have more than its fair share of dog stories. Basically, what this Biblical verse seems to be saying is that dogs are not worthy of eating the good stuff on the table and must rely for sustenance only on what their masters do not want. The good news for all dog lovers is that this verse offer absolutely nothing specific to indicate that all dogs do not go to heaven. Let’s face the ugly truth of history: a lot of human beings have been forced to eat the scraps thrown them by their masters and surely they must all have made it into heaven if even just one of their masters got in, right?
“For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.”
From Psalms. Dog stories Old Testament style. The “dogs” in this specific instance is a metaphorical reference to Gentiles. The association could not be more clear, however: dogs and Gentiles are equated and must be avoided. This is actually a pretty troubling Biblical reference to dogs. For one thing, of course, Gentiles certainly do not need to worry about not being invited to heaven these days. For another, Psalms is allegedly the work of King David for the most part and he lived before the Hebrews ever had to worry about Romans crucifying them. And yet, the Bible seems to tell us that dogs are closely connected on a spiritual basis with the coming of that particularly unpleasant chapter of history. Unless, of course, take this and all other dog stories mentioned here on a purely metaphorical level. In which case, even the most literal-minded of those who are blindly certain that soulless dogs cannot get into heaven must be afforded all the respect for their knowledge of canine spirituality that you would give to a…cat.