The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
Family Foundation
and All-Creatures.Org

Letters and Responses

Letter to the Editor from Richard and Maureen DeLorme About Hunting Being Unbiblical - 13 Jul 2008

This is the first in a two-part response addressing the incompatibility of hunting with the Bible. Tina Lappe’s recent column, outlining her “interpretations” of Biblical scriptures to justify hunting are contextually inaccurate, outdated, and self-serving.

Let’s see what the Bible truly says about how God feels regarding killing animals rather than have hunters the ultimate arbiters of interpretation. First of all, animals were created prior to man, and God saw that “it was good” [Genesis 1:21-25]. Secondly, when God created animals, they were given a soul. The Hebrew word “nephesh”, is translated as “creature”, “life”, and “soul”; this word is used interchangeably as “soul-life” more than 130 times in scriptures referring to both mankind and animals.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” [Psalm 24:1], and what He has created is for His pleasure, not ours. Colossians 1:16 states all things were created “by Him”, “through Him” and “for Him”. Revelation 4:11 states: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” God Himself declares in Psalm 50:10, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains and the wild beasts of the field are Mine.” Furthermore, Revelation 1:18 makes it clear that God will judge those who “destroy the earth”, indicating that the earth belongs to Him, and perversely abusing His creation will be judged.

God’s care for His creation is also clear. Psalm 145:16 states: “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing”. Kindness to animals is declared in Proverbs 12:10: “A righteous man regards the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel”. God commands that the oxen treading the millstone be allowed to eat from the threshed grain; Jesus declared that His Father cares for the “birds of the air” and feeds them [Luke 12:6].

Ms. Lappe’s interpretation of “dominion” and “subduing” is completely erroneous. The mandate given to man to have “dominion” over the animals is accurately translated from the original Hebrew as “stewardship” or “care-taking”, not exercising despotic rule over them. Moreover, the interpretation of “authority” given humans over animals actually comes closest in original meaning to that of “service”, as in the example Jesus related in washing the disciples’ feet in John 13:3-5. In the eyes of God, the one who “rules” is the one who “serves”. The meaning of “stewardship” is the same as what an owner of a business would give an employee; the employee must care for the equipment at the business, but it belongs to the owner. History has shown how the perversion of this scripture by “Christians” has led to horrendous cruelty to animals, the decimation of entire species, and environmental devastation of this planet. This is to the utter shame of Christians, and has brought a well-deserved reproach to the gospel message. Unfortunately, Ms. Lappe’s repugnant attitude is all too prevalent today.

Furthermore, and this is imperative in interpreting scripture, God has two wills in dealing with mankind: His absolute will and His permissive will. It is also essential to understand how His will is revealed dispensationally; that is, in what context of time and place did God say what He said. In His absolute will, God never intended for man to eat meat (Genesis 1:29), but only allowed man to kill animals for meat in His permissive will when mankind was already killing them in disobedience after the Fall. Just because God allows people to do something, doesn’t mean it is permissible in all situations at all times – or, most significantly, for all motives. It is well-known that the motive behind hunting is to kill animals for pleasure. In no way whatsoever is this Biblically sanctioned.

Tina Lappe’s use of the example of the Passover Lamb being killed and eaten as an endorsement of hunting is absurd. The Passover Lamb was a dispensational command for one purpose only: that of atonement for sin, and a foreshadowing of the future atonement of Christ as the Lamb of God. Again, in no way whatsoever, is the killing of the Passover Lamb an endorsement by God of hunting.

In our next column we will continue to address the Biblical basis for stewardship of God’s creation in opposition to hunting and hunters’ perversion of “dominion” to justify animal killing.

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