LettersLetter to the Editor from Richard DeLorme about Hunting and the Bible - 14 Jul 2008
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Letter to the Editor from Richard DeLorme about Hunting and the Bible - 14 Jul 2008

Ms. 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. In no way whatsoever, is the killing of the Passover Lamb an endorsement by God of hunting.

God values animals so highly, that it was only in the shed blood of sinless sacrificial animals that the awfulness of human sin could be atoned, first in the Garden when Adam and Eve sinned and God Himself killed an animal to provide a literal and prophetic covering for their sin; later through the Mosaic laws, and ultimately through Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who “taketh away the sins of the world” [John 1:29]. Moreover, when the Israelites became hardened to the sacrificial animal deaths and their hearts were no longer repentant, God, through His prophets, condemned the needless slaughter of animals, [Isaiah 1:11].

God’s provision for redemption through Christ extends to the animals and the entire natural world. Animals do not exist simply for the “benefit of man” as stated by Ms. Lappe. Even the familiar verse of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” is noteworthy. The original Greek is translated as “world”, or “inhabitants” of the earth. The verse does not say “For God so loved human beings”, as the world encompasses so much more than mankind. Many of the New Testament scriptures referring to Christ’s atonement speak of His redemption of the created world, not just people. Luke 3:6 states that “All flesh shall see the salvation of God”, again, not just human beings, as the original Greek meaning is “all flesh of every living thing, man and animal”. And, since the Bible also states, “All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay” [Romans 8:19-21], it is clear that animals anticipate their own redemption in ways we do not understand. It is supremely arrogant – and unbiblical -- to believe that we are the only creation of God who matters to Him, and kill His creatures for pleasure, as hunters routinely do.

Revelation 5:13 states: “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, ‘Blessing and honor, and glory, and power be unto Him that sits upon the throne and unto the Lamb forever and ever.’” In some way in which we do not understand now, animals will be present in heaven glorifying Christ, and will be part of the restored earth as they were in the original creation before The Fall. In addition to the well-known verse of Isaiah 11:6-9 describing the wolf living with the lamb, and the leopard lying down with the goat, etc., Isaiah 40:5, declares: “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it”. The original Hebrew word translated “all flesh” is “basar”, meaning “flesh of the body, humans, animals, whether alive or dead”. The prophet Hosea, in speaking God’s prophetic Word of this future world, states: “In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle will I abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety.” [Hosea 2:18].

In light of these clear references to God’s love for and actual ownership of animals, where does hunting fit in today? That God condemns hunting for pleasure is shown in Genesis, where two men, Esau and Nimrod, are noted as being obsessive hunters, and both men were rejected by God for their rebellious hearts. The fact that Isaac loved Esau because he “ate what Esau killed”, is an utterly pointless statement by Ms. Lappe; Esau was rejected because he loved hunting more than God’s purposes.

For the following reasons, hunting is incompatible with scripture:

1. It is no longer necessary for “food, clothing, or work”; thus, hunters’ excuses for killing animals are bogus as they kill solely for pleasure.

2. Hunters are in violation of God’s commandment to steward His creation.

3. Teaching children to kill animals is unscriptural and bad parenting.

4. It brings a reproach to the gospel [II Corinthians 6:3; I Corinthians 10:32].

It is to the shame of Christians that the God-given mandate to steward His creation has been perverted by so many Christians to pillage His earth and slaughter His animals, all in the name of “subduing” and “dominion”. It is to their further shame that those outside the Body of Christ have taken up the cause of protecting the natural world and all it contains that was, in fact, the mandate first given to God’s people. Thankfully, this ignorant “Killing-Bambi-for-Jesus” mentality is changing. In 1994, several hundred church leaders, theologians, and pastors around the world signed the Evangelical Declaration of the Care of Creation to improve the long over-due ignorance in Christian views and develop restorative actions towards the environment God created. Two excellent books on the subject are “Redeeming Creation: The Biblical Basis for Environmental Stewardship” and “The Care of Creation”.

I would suggest Ms. Lappe and her hunting husband and friends start with these two books to further their Christian education.

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