August 23, 2011

"Animals, Our Selves"? Not!

I am browsing through one of my favorite magazines, one I've only recently discovered. The magazine, Yes! , has articles about healthy living, sustainability, social activism, etc. A recent issue, the Spring 2011 issue, features an article titled "Can Animals Save Us?" on the front cover.

I already know the answer to this question.

I also wonder why caring for the environment sometimes gets disconnected from a Christian belief in caring for creation. Maybe it's because so many who call themselves environmentalists don't accept that the God of the Bible created everything and that hugging a tree is not hugging a person, nor are we hugging God expressed as a tree. It's just a tree. Or a bird, a fish, or a deer.

Still, since we have a command in Genesis 1:28 to subdue the earth and rule over things, some people have gotten it wrong. That command challenges us with the responsibility to love and care for creation. Anything created by God is worthy of love and of loving care; God's creations are not objects to be used, worn out needlessly, tossed away when no longer "useful" or simply disregarded. Creatures and creation have value because they were placed here by God for us.

But we are not just extra special, extra-evolved animals. According to Genesis, we are the only beings created in God's image, the only ones into whom He expressed the breath of life, the only ones with whom He walked in the garden of Eden in the cool of the day. It was only to Adam that God called "Where are you?" It was only for Adam and Eve that God made clothing as these people prepared to exit Eden after The Fall.

I love animals, and I fear anyone who needlessly or gleefully injures any creature.But we humans truly are in a class all by ourselves and for that I am grateful.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praiseb
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

--Psalm 8









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