Through years of association with general farming people, I have observed that many of them form very real relationships with their pets and their working animals. In return, their animals were obedient, protective of their masters, and had genuine regard for them.

Creatures form their own family units but they enjoy the company of their masters and have a loyalty to them. Endless stories testify that it is normal behaviour of both man and beast.

Eventually I was forced to confront the idea at a deeper level and I should like to share my road to discovery with you.

My thinking is not always in logical sequence and the idea of our creatures being "saved" with us began with Noah. Yes, I know I should have begun at the beginning, but the journey I took is the one I am sharing. It is not some rational strategy subsequently put into logical order.

It is this: I believe we will be resurrected from the grave, and I believe that at some point, our very own pet or working creatures -- cat, dog, horse, bird, wildlife -- will be with us in reality in eternal life.

Creatures were created and set in the world before we were, so our creatures may even be there to greet us as they were in the Garden of Eden to greet our very first parents.

Wish I could see your face! What feelings fill you when you hear such a thought? Are you filled with joy? Or disbelief? Do you dismiss the idea as utter rubbish, so outrageous it is not worth considering? Does it startle you or fill you with contempt? Do you see it as a betrayal of Christian belief? Or do you love it?

You see, I have heard many contemptuous reactions to such a thought down through the years of growing up and listening in Christian circles. But let us consider some facts. We have looked at Adam's history and at Noah's history so now let us look at the Children of Israel.

When the Children of Israel left Egypt it was also a narrative of Christians leaving a world that would eventually be devoted to destroying the Lord's plans and ideals for his people.

Under the leadership of the Lord, who travelled with his people over the next forty or so years from Egypt, what did they take with them? Their flocks and herds! In Exodus 10:26 Moses says, "Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind."

They were not going to their new home without their creatures any more than Noah was going to his new world without its creatures.

The Children of Israel were to build a nation that reflected the Kingdom of God. Their temple was built in every detail to follow a plan shown to Moses by the Lord and the Commandments of God, written by God himself, were central to their lives.

Yes, they were given supporting legislation, given to Moses by God, and they were to mature in understanding God's plans as a tree matures and brings forth its goodness.

Isaiah, Chapter 11 gives insight that Israel could mature to the place where it accepted the sacrifice of the Saviour and would become the Kingdom of God as was the Garden of Eden. Listen: "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox." (vs. 6,7).

Verse 9 then says: "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." It is a picture of Eden restored, and the story of Elijah and the ravens illustrates our interaction. The ravens brought food to Elijah morning and evening during a drought when he was forced from society.

It did not happen in Israel, but I long for that kingdom, don’t you? So we are not home yet and there is one more incredible story to the journey. It is a story that so many have not yet put in context.

Elizabeth Price

(To access the other parts of the "Homeward Bound" mini-series, please click here.)