Christ Loves Creatures,
A thesis by: Norma Carol
- Edited Internet Edition -
PUTTING THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE
The question may now be asked: "Where is the line drawn between humans and animals as well as use and care?" An attempt is going to be made to answer as simply as possible by demonstrating whom mankind is in the eyes of God and who animals are to Him. To be biblical, our differences are to be looked at in this manner, a condition of purpose of life as opposed to intelligence, as some may query.
Humans are "a little lower than the angels;…crowned…with glory" (Hebrews 8:5, ref. Psalm 8:5). Believers have accepted and received his grace (2 Corinthians 8:9). Most importantly, no matter what we do, God loves us unconditionally (Isaiah 54:10).
Animals are God’s creation about whom He greatly cares: "The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made…The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made" (Psalm 145: 9, 13c). He provides food for animals (Psalm 136:25) and attends their births (Job 39:1-3).
People are put in charge of the care of animals. However, use and care can intermingle. For instance, technically having pets can be considered use. We are domesticating creatures. It is not natural. Yet, in the best instances, we are providing them with comfort, nourishment, companionship, and medical care. In return, we get unconditional love, comfort, companionship, lots of laughs, and times of tears.
Animals can be used if service is within moral reasoning and compassion. The key is that there be no exploitation. A fine example is in the aftermath of September 11. At Ground Zero in New York, dogs have breaks along with their handlers, their irritated eyes are treated, and they are kept hydrated and nourished.
As previously mentioned, the Bible states we can follow a vegetarian diet or not. It must be stressed that vegetarianism is not just refraining from meat. It is a way of life. No meat means buying no leather. One cannot say he or she has so much compassion toward animals so as not to eat meat and then buy the byproducts of slaughter. Yet we cannot be purists. When we wear our plastic shoes, we need to realize that the materials most likely have been tested on animals for toxicity.
In order to get the full picture, people also need to realize that animals feel. They love, feel joy (pleasure, contentment), experience sorrow (grief), demonstrate jealousy (just try coming home late or feeding pets out of "pecking order"), have easily shattered egos, and live by a social order. Anyone who has paid proper attention to his or her pets will already know this. If animals are treated as part of the family, they truly become one. If they are treated as insignificant, they will be aware of that and their lives are mere existence. Yet the Bible tells us that all creation praises God (Psalms 19:1-4, 65:9-13, 96:11-13, 104:10-18, 148:7-12) and has hope of redemption through the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 8:18-25, Colossians 1:19, 23).
What all this leads to is it is the very point that people are biblical stewards of animals. They are dependent on us. Their innocence in the scheme of it all (although some would doubt this since there is a theory that animals are responsible for their own sins) and vulnerability to humans makes the care position imperative. Even if after all the evidence given in this work, the reader is not convinced of animal eternal life, at the very least the importance of stewardship has hopefully been made.
The burden of caring for the animals of the world, both domestic and wild, is heavier than I would have chosen to bear. I am still dealing with depressing thoughts when I see how the enemy is a cancer. Yet I am grateful to God for the secular who are doing a wonderful job of protection, even though they do not realize their work is for Him. Thankfulness is given for the Christians who are forerunners and I am not alone in this.
Work to be done as explained in Chapter 3 seems monumental. Without the Father on my mind, Jesus in my heart, and the Holy Spirit as my guide, no progress could be made and no strength would be availed to accomplish any goal.
CLCt is a goal itself. Little by little it has been shaped during select courses at Palm Beach Atlantic, with this thesis as the cumulative result. However, even this thesis is not enough. What has been presented here could go on for 10 times the number of pages! Research will be never ending. Keeping current on the field needs to be a weekly effort.
All the while as each new hurdle needs to be met, and whenever strives in the right direction are accomplished, our eyes must be set on future glory. As Eaton puts it:
And those who with kindness rescue living things, wrestling from cruel powers a little world of peace, are children of the Creator, following his pattern. However much the cruel enemy swells over them, their transforming work is never overcome or blotted out. It will form a part of the joyful final transformation.62
62. Eaton, John. The Circle of Creation: Animals in the Light of the Bible. (London: SCM Press Ltd., 1995), 68.
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