Maligning and Denigrating Animals

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Maligning and Denigrating Animals
Comments by Gayle Nelson-Folkersen - 5 Aug 2007

Hi Andrea,

I think one thing we have to remember first and foremost is that permission to eat other living beings was not given by God until after the Fall. While still in the Garden, Adam and Eve were told that they had all the plants/green things to eat. It was not until sin became a reality that permission was given to eat other living beings. When God gave that permission, God also said that from that time on, those creatures would tremble with fear in our presence.

The other thing that God gave us was "dominion" over all that God had created. Unfortunately, the human race has interpreted that word as meaning "control over". In Hebrew, the word actually means "take care of". This means that God gave everything that God created for humans to take care of, not to abuse. It is fact that the human race does not take care of other living beings but instead exercises their own control over them treating them in whatever way benefits them and not the other living beings. It is also a fact that we are to take care of everything on this Earth that God has given to us as God charged us with that care also- not just the living beings. As a whole, we don't do that either, not the plants, animals, environment, other human beings, none of it. We have taken/keep taking everything, depleting the gifts/resources God has given us and used it to our benefit/personal use without giving much back, without caring for God's creation so that it will flourish and nourish all that is within it. That includes the way we treat the other living beings (the horrible conditions we subject them to) before being cruelly, painfully, and inhumanely slaughtered and the callous disregard we treat the lives God meant for them to live many years beyond what they are actually given by humans by being breed for food and other uses that are not necessary, and living in captivity (zoos, aquariums, etc...).

So when people bring up the subject of what people ate in Biblical times and the sacrifices, I tell them we are far removed from how the animals were treated during that time. I also remind them of the original source of food God intended for humankind to eat and that it was sin that brought about the consumption of other living beings. If they persist, I tell them that the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" does not say "Thou shalt not kill humans but all other animals are fair game". I also remind them that the ideal is that one day the lion will lay down with the lamb and only then will there be peace and that we should be working towards that peace in all that we do.

There is one other thing I am looking more into that was not addressed in seminary when I was there. That is that when the word "meat" is used, it may have meant the meat of nuts, fruits, plants, etc... I'm still looking into that - not sure what I believe there and it has been a long time since I studied Greek or Hebrew so it may take me awhile to come to a resolution for myself on this. Frank, what do you think?

As far as Jesus being called the Lamb of God, it was because lambs are the perfect picture of a meek, mild, innocent, and peaceful creation of God . What better analogy to use for the Son of God who came to teach us these things as well as, love, and peaceful living with all living beings and God?

I am sure there are others who will have more to add and who probably can say these things better than I but this is my two cents worth.

God's Peace,


"Since we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our minds, our one duty is to furnish it well." - Peter Ustinov

Go on to: Comments by Greg - 6 Aug 2007

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