Weekly Sabbath Survey
Man Named the Animals — 6-15-13
In the beginning, way back in the Garden, God gave man dominion over the animals and one of his first jobs from God was the privilege of naming them. The unfortunate outcome of this after The Fall, was that animals were at the mercy of a sometimes cruel, heartless and unfeeling race of humans. Before you jump to conclusions, I am not a vegetarian or a member of PETA. I wear leather shoes and keep animals confined for my use and enjoyment. And, I eat some of them. BUT, I treat them with the respect and regard that all God’s creatures deserve. (I avoid dangerous wild animals for obvious reasons.)
Some years ago, I began to think there was more to animals than what we have believed. Dogs are particularly known for intuitive interaction with humans. Many of them have an empathetic trait about them as they sense when we are sick or sad. And some cats have saved the entire family in the event of a fire at night. Then came the gorilla that was taught American Sign Language used by the deaf. I’ve read several articles about her and how much she understood of abstract thoughts and feelings. I also read that elephants mourn when a member of the herd dies, and in that process they cry tears just like we do. And while most people think birds who talk don’t know what they are saying, there is a lot of evidence to the contrary from people who keep parrots and interact with them regularly. While they may not know what the sounds mean, the birds connect them with certain activities and even feelings and use their words at the appropriate time. This would be the beginning language of humans when the baby’s brain connects ‘Bye-Bye” with somebody going.
By keeping and observing chickens, I have seen how the flock works like a family. They have special friends among themselves and the pecking order is more effective than the way humans handle the chain of command and power order among ourselves. The chickens appear to mourn when part of the flock is sold. The flock dynamic changes with both additions and subtractions. Adjustments take time. I can also tell you that they are not stupid as some people think.
My first indoor dogs, Boxers, served to open my eyes to the wonder of dogs as family members, not just pets. My dogs were wonderful companions. I preferred them over many people I’ve met in the business world. They were also very bonded to each other. When I lost one to cancer, the one left mourned more than I did. I tried to comfort her but she was lost in her loneliness that went on for weeks. I decided the cure was a new puppy. That goofy little tyke ignored the growls and warning snaps, trying time after time to lure the older dog out of her pain. We had breakthrough when Jolene finally allowed the intruder to nap by her side. Within a month, we were a happy two dog household again, and our grief was assuaged. Will Rogers said it all with “If dogs don’t go to heaven, I want to go where they do.” Could some dogs be angels in disguise?
I have come to believe that animal abuse is a SIN. We have been charged by God to be above the animals. But that does not give us permission to beat them, starve them, neglect them, torture them, or kill them with the malice or thrill employed to murder a human being. Despite theological teaching that animals have no soul, I believe they do. God gave them life and feelings. While they also have instincts, so do we. Who are we to think we know all about this mystery of creation? I firmly believe that some people are going to be held accountable before the Lord for the way they have treated animals.
Here’s an except from the book Animal Wise by Virginia Morell:
Animals have minds. They have brains and use them as we do for experiencing the world, for thinking and feeling, and for solving the problems of life every creature faces. Like us, they have personalities, moods, and emotions; they laugh, and they play. Some show grief and empathy and are self-aware and very likely conscious of their actions and intents.
Not so long ago, I would have hedged these statements, because the prevailing notion held that animals are more like zombies or robotic machines, capable of responding with only simple, reflexive behaviors. And indeed there are still researchers who insist that animals move through life like the half-dead, but those scientists have been left behind as a flood of new research from biologists, animal behaviorists, evolutionary and ecological biologists, comparative psychologists,and others sweep away old ideas that have stymied the exploration of animal minds. The question now is not “Do animals think?” It’s “How and what do they think?”
Jesus asked, “Aren’t two sparrows, sold for a farthing (less than a half-penny)? And yet, one of them cannot fall to the ground without your Father seeing. Matthew 10:29
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
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