Just when I thought I had heard it all, the latest news uproar has me completely shocked. We have seen social media erupt over Donald Trump’s comments about illegal immigrants. We have seen social media erupt over police officers shooting unarmed men. But, never in my wildest dreams did I think that the killing of a lion would get more publicity than the killing of a young woman by an illegal immigrant or the killing of millions of babies and selling off their organs. Then, earlier this week, as I watched the Today show, they were talking about this couple that went to Africa on a hunting spree. They had shared on Facebook images of their African hunt. The one that seemed to draw the biggest critics was the hunting of a giraffe. This brought enough criticism that the Today show actually had the two persons involved on their program via Skype. This is what is news. Hunting. As I watched this, I couldn’t help but wonder what hunting expedition would next draw the ire of social media. Will people call out Iowa hunters because they shot “Bambi’s mom.” Will they cry foul because deer are such “innocent creatures.”
Now, before I get raked over the coals for being cold hearted or unloving to God’s creatures, let us be certain that we understand what type of relationship we are called to have with God’s creation.
For starters, we are not to worship them. This is actually the 1st lesson about the animal kingdom that God teaches us. The creation story is a reminder that he animal kingdom was created just like man was created. Man is not eternal. The earth is not eternal. The sun is not eternal. And the animal kingdom is not eternal. Only our creator transcends time. Now, typically when we use the word worship we use it to refer to singing, praying, etc. However, worship is not limited to the 5 acts of worship. The word itself is literally means to kiss the hand, like a dog licking his master’s hand. The idea conveyed is paying homage to or adoration towards something. In other words, it is giving honor to something so much so that you are willing to bow yourself before it. The worship of an animal is not just about creating an idol in the image of a calf and praying to it. It can also be placing greater value on that animal than you do yourself. It is to act as if that animal is sacred, set apart and more important that something else. The reaction of the masses concerning the hunting of Cecil the lion is the worship of the animal. People had not only issued death threats, but some have called for the death penalty because he hunted a lion!
Animals are lower form of creation than that of humans. Yes, it is true that animals were created before man, however in Gen. 2 God shows us who is of greater importance. God brought man every animal of the field and bird of the sky to name the animals. (The act of naming is about exercising authority). In Gen. 9:2 God tells us that the animal kingdom has been delivered into the hand of man. It is ours to rule. They are given unto us not as equals but for us to rule over. To view the hunting of a lion, giraffe, or a deer as murder is to violate the order which God established.
While it is true that man was originally created to be vegetarian, in Gen. 9:3 we learn that every part of the animal kingdom had been given to man for food. It is our right, so long as we live on this world to eat whatever we want on this world. In fact, the language in Gen. 9:3 is identical to the language used in Gen. 1:29 to describe man’s relationship to the plant kingdom. Both are to be meat for us. We have just as much right to be sustained by the animal kingdom as we are by the plant kingdom. Now, this doesn’t mean that it is wrong to be a vegetarian, or vegan, etc. However, if one chooses to refuse to eat meat because it is morally wrong is to ignore God’s commands concerning the eating of meat.
Finally, I need to address a proverb written by Solomon. Prov. 12:10 “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” We are to have regard for the lives of the animal kingdom. What this means is that cruelty, even unto the animal kingdom is wrong. Killing an animal for the sake of killing the animal is wrong. Hunting an animal for the sake of food is good. (The animals that were hunted in Africa were supposed to be given to villagers so that they might eat. In fact, that is part of the paper work that is signed by those that go over there. They must give the food to the nearby villagers. I am not saying that it is always done that way, but it is what is supposed to be done.) Beating an animal, torturing an animal, is wrong. Only the wicked man would be so cruel. God’s people have regard for the life of the animal placed under his control. -WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
Website design by Blythe Data Recovery & Computer Repair, LLC
The Animal Kingdom and You
Volume 6 Issue 35