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It is true that the creation story affirms the difference between domesticated and wild animals. But I think we need to be careful about finding all details of the story applicable to our lives. Just as the parable of the Prodigal Son tells us that God, like the father in the story, has undying love for the rebellious and the lost, but is not necessarily saying that God like that father has human slaves or kills animals for feasts, so the Creation story tells us that all things come from God and are in essence and the divine intention good.
I believe it is also saying that we, like God, are to be loving toward all, and thus that the vegan diet of Eden derives from the story's heart.
Domestication is more questionable. In the sense of keeping companion animals it may be part of the Divine plan for increase of inter-species fellowship, but the keeping of animals for the purpose of eating their flesh and/or their milk or eggs has led to the vast suffering of degenerative disease, not to mention the suffering of the animals when they or their friends or family members are killed or sold.
Another example: epidemiologists trace the plague of influenza to the domestication of ducks in China centuries ago, and more recent infectious diseases such as Ebola to human penetration into and contact with animals whose viruses serve them as a form of protective armor.
Myths and parables have profound and timeless truths, but rise in particular cultures at particular times, and thus some details of the story are of limited applicability. Certain peoples in semi-desert places may have needed herds of cows or sheep to keep themselves alive, but that does not mean that the practice is blessed by God for all times and places.
Go on to: Comments by Laurie - 4 Jul 2009
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