History indicates a gradual heightening of mankind's respect for human rights, including the dignity of life itself. We have a long way to go, but we see signs of progress.
For many, however, consideration of mankind's relationship to animals remain just barely on the horizon. Yet animals have an undeniable impact on our lives, and we on theirs. If we are to recognize—and not ignorantly or willfully abuse— our relationship to them, we need to understand better the spiritual nature of God's creation.
The Bible provides a basis for improved understanding, beginning with its very first chapter. Here we find that all that God made was good. Further, "God created man in his own image" and gave him" dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth."
We can faithfully express our God-given dominion only by thinking and acting in a fashion reflective of the divine nature, as illustrated by Christ Jesus through his teaching and works. The Bible defines God as Love and speaks of His bountiful provision for His creation. Expressing dominion that is reflective of God's love, we would necessarily be loving, sensitive to the nature and role of each of God's creatures and to the proper atmosphere within which these can blossom.
But how can we know the nature and role of God's creatures? We already have our first clue: God saw that what He had made was good. The adjective 'good' connotes 'qualities' and urges us to look beyond a limited, physiological concept of animals in order to detect the spiritual nature of God's creation. Each of His creatures is good, a distinct and essential expression of God in His infinite goodness...
As we better understand the divine nature manifested throughout God's creation, and let our relationship to animals grow out of that understanding, our thoughts and actions will be characterized by respect and caring appreciation.