following article was first printed in May, 1987. But it could have been written
today. The things the author discusses are part of an ongoing, spiritual
process, that continues to take place within the hearts and minds of those who
are willing to listen to the message of God's love and compassion for all
Foxes and polar bears, seals that need saving, and apes that learn to
"talk"—the list goes on. Have you noticed how much news and information about
animals of all kinds is reaching the public nowadays? People have always loved
their pets. But something new is happening. We're becoming warmly interested in
animals in a way and on a scale that's new. It's an encouraging sign of he
Prime-time television news will sometimes cover efforts to save whales that
have wandered up the "wrong" river or will report attempts to prevent pods of
whales from beaching.
Recently we've been reading about the restored reputation of the North
American wolf. Turns out he's an essentially upright character with considerable
devotion to his family.
Should it be surprising, really, that as mankind matures toward spiritual
consciousness we'll see an increasing appreciation for all aspects of animals
and environment? As people grow in Christliness and spirituality,they perceive
each other differently. Instead of seeing someone to go to war with, they find
delight in the life-enhancing customs and celebrations of their neighbors.
Similarly, we're beginning to understand animals less as something to abuse and
to dominate and more something to take joy in and to understand.
The teachings of Christian Science guide thought further in this direction.
They show, for example, that just as we don't know the real nature of God's man
until we let the Christ, or spiritual idea, illumine our view of man, so also we
don't know the rest of creation as God has actually made it until we're
conceiving it spiritually. As the Christ, Truth, lifts up and transforms our
thought we can also expect to come to understand more about all God's ideas as
He has made them.
The book of Genesis, in the Bible, tells about the creation of great whales,
fish of the sea, birds, beasts, cattle, and all the creeping things. And they
are seen as belonging to God's good creation. Noah saves representatives of
these species from the flood. And in place throughout the Bible, as in the book
of Job, some of these creatures, like behemoth the hippopotamus (“Behold he
drinketh up a river, and hasteth not”), are approached with a sense of awe for
heir strength, and others are valued for their speed or beauty.
It is not God who introduced the violence of the
‘food chain’ into the world
But if we try to conceive of God as having created an animal kingdom which,
however various and beautiful, expresses the generally accepted meaning of the
word "animality" we run into great difficulty. Would God have made animals that
seem designed primarily to dine on each other—a smaller species that must die in
order that other larger ones can live? Would a loving and wise Creator have
determined the short life span of a loved domestic dog, for example? Would He
have shaped the voracious forms that seem to live only to attack other life
If we believed this, we would have to change our view of God as a loving
Creator. Instead it makes a good deal more sense to change our human concept of
creation. What isn't in accord with God the only Creator, we can assume, is not
the final word, not real and substantial. We need the humility to be willing to
look for the spiritual creation that would be in accord with Spirit, or God.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy makes the
point, "God is the Life, or intelligence, which forms and preserves the
individuality and identity of animals as well as of men."* Specifically, then,
disbelieving the picture of unbridled carnivorousness, violence, instinctive
behavior described by the senses, in favor of hewing to the divine facts of a
spiritual creation, can begin to give us a different, healing perspective. And
this perspective makes us more discerning of God's actual creation—of the true
nature of the divine Mind's ideas—in our everyday experience.
Many wonderful healings of farm animals and pets have come about through
prayer on this basis. I recall as a youngster, for example, seeing our dog
healed of a veterinary-diagnosed slipped disk and at another time of a
longstanding lump on the head. Once when she was lost I was spiritually
impelled, as I prayed, to walk off the road into the middle of a large
cornfield, where I was able to go straight to her, pick her up, and take her
home. Prayer in Christian Science has healed family cats of ear mites,
distemper, an atrophied leg, and kidney problems, without any medical help.
But we can expect to see more than the healing of animals' physical ills. As
the spiritual leavening of human consciousness goes on, we will be seeing
something of animals' true being, more of their intelligence, individuality,
compatibility, and purpose. Every one of God's creatures is, after all,
essential to the richness and completeness of God's creation. And humanity has
important lessons to learn from animals, lessons we all very much need, about
the nature of love and fidelity, goodness, grace, independence, beauty,
nobility—aspects of true being that God expresses throughout His creation.
Human beings have important lessons about love, fidelity, goodness and
nobility to learn from the animals.
Mrs. Eddy makes this intriguing observation in the chapter entitled "Genesis"
in Science and Health:" God gives the lesser idea of Himself for a link to the
greater, and in return, the higher al-ways protects the lower ...Love giveth to
the least spiritual idea, might, immortality and goodness, which shine through
all as the blossom shines through the bud." **
As we get a stronger, better conception of the wonder and the perfection of
Spirit's creation, what lessons mankind is going to be learning about these
links to the greater—what changes will continue to come in mankind's view of the
Creator's creation! #
*Science and Health, p. 550. ** Ibid., p. 518 Reprinted by permission from
the Christian Science Sentinel © 1987 The Chistian Science Publishing Society.
All rights reserved.
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