Christianity, Animals, and Coronavirus: A Time to Repent?
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion

FROM Lisa Warden, PhD, SARX For All God's Creatures
August 2020

In this extended article, Dr Lisa Warden explores the Biblical mandate to care for God’s creatures, our contemporary treatment of animals and whether Christians may be called to challenge the status quo.

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Some 3,000 years ago, on the occasion of the dedication of the first temple in Jerusalem, God appeared to Solomon with a word of advice about how to respond in the event of plagues and afflictions: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7.13-14).

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COVID-19 has moved Christians around the world to follow God’s advice to Solomon. As the novel virus grew into a pandemic and nations went under lockdown, many of us engaged in earnest with our pastors’ calls to respond biblically, with times of prayer, fasting, and repentance. Second Chronicles 7.14 has echoed like a refrain on Zoom prayer sessions and Facebook live feeds across the globe.

We, like Ezra and Nehemiah in Old Testament times, have counted ourselves among the sinners and repented—not only of our own individual sins, but of those of our respective societies. We’ve confessed everything from pride, greed, and arrogance, to disunity, racism, sexual sin, violence, corruption, and much else.

Absent from the list of transgressions, however, has been any mention of that which appears to have precipitated the pandemic: cruelty to animals. Should this issue be of any concern to Christians, and if so, why?



Lisa Warden, PhD, is an independent scholar affiliated with the Animals & Society Research Initiative at the University of Victoria and a Fellow at Sentient Media.

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