I love animals. They were created by God for us to enjoy. We are to care for them, as they help us with our work and comfort us. However, given a situation where I had to choose between the lives of my children or the life of an animal, I’d choose my children’s precious human lives in an instant. I’d also choose the lives of other children and adults over any living animals.
Each human life is unique and created with love from the beginning of conception: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well ( Ps. 139: 13-14 New International Version). There is no one like you, or me, in existence, and never will there be again.
“The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel” ( Prov. 12:10). This verse shows God clearly cares about how animals are treated. He is angry when animals are abused, just as we are. However, God did not create animals to be equal to humans, just as humans are not equal to angels.
Humans were given dominion over animals, and expected to treat them well. God gave Adam the job of naming animals and reigning over them. “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground’ ” ( Gen. 1:26). Noah was given the job of saving two of every kind of animal from the great flood. Then he was given the job of caring for them for forty days and nights as they bobbed around in a storm, on a gigantic ark. God wasn’t playing around when it came to saving animals.
Sanctity of Life
God gives permission in the bible to hunt. Native Americans and other respectful people used every possible part of the animal: meat to eat, fur hides for blankets and clothing, and bones for tools. God demanded specific animals to be killed as sacrifices for people’s sins. Though the sacrifice of Jesus replaced animal sacrifices, hunting animals as a source of food supply is permissive and mentioned multiple times in the New Testament: “He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat’ ” (Acts 10: 11-13).
However, one of God’s Ten Commandments is “You shall not murder” ( Ex. 20:13). This sixth commandment refers to the killing of human beings. God’s laws, which were brought down from Mt. Sinai by Moses, are still in effect today. These commandments are repeated over and over again in the New Testament. God clearly differentiates between killing an animal for food, versus killing a human being, which is murder.
Sometimes people make grave mistakes, and sometimes they just participate in outright sin. In these situations, animals may be placed in danger, hurt, and sometimes killed. These tragic events make people angry, and they seek justice. But God is just! People who hurt animals will have to face God and answer to Him. So will those who kill humans.
What about when a human falls into the dangerous path of an animal, such as a child falling into a gorilla’s habitat at the zoo? If it’s in our power to save a human life God considers to be of utmost value, will we help? Tragic events do not change truth. God has gone through great lengths to protect his children and keep them from being killed. Wouldn’t he expect us to do the same if it is within our power to do so? One saved human life can lead to another saved life. God doesn’t play around when it comes to saving people, especially when their eternal salvation is at risk.
People are life guards, doctors, and nurses for a reason; they want to save lives. Human life is more valuable than that of any other creature. Unfortunately, protecting human life may occasionally mean taking the life of an exotic, endangered animal. In the midst of the shock, won’t we at least rejoice and praise God that a child has been spared from death? Would anyone dare judge, demanding, “That child better grow up and be somebody special!” Sadly, yes. People judge, as if an animal has more right to life than a child in peril.
Do people not understand God doesn’t want anyone to die without knowing Him? As sin threads its way through our society, people become blind to the truth. Yet, God waits: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” ( 2 Peter 3:9).
Those who love animals more than humans, do not understand the sanctity and value of human life. To not understand this, is to not understand the truth of God’s scripture. It’s true that many humans are in a place where they need healing. They may have been rejected, abused, and abandoned by humans. Animals may bring temporary comfort, but they will not bring the comfort that comes from living eternally in Heaven with Jesus Christ. Humans are given the opportunity to make this decision; animals are not. It is a privilege to be given another chance at life, a gift to be offered eternal life, a free gift!
God made it clear in the bible that Jesus died for PEOPLE. He did not die for animals. In the Old Testament, God demanded animals as sacrifices for people’s sins. In the New Testament, that changed. God sacrificed His one and only Son, so that PEOPLE, not animals, could receive Jesus and have eternal life. Jesus died, but God loved him and us so much, that he brought Jesus back to life! There is no death in Jesus! Nor is there death for those who accept him!
In the bible, Solomon muses, “Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth” (Eccles. 3:21)? There’s a distinction of questioning the difference between the spirits of two different kinds of living beings. However, God makes it clear that humans have a soul and will face judgment in the afterlife. Who wants to go through judgment without Jesus? We need him to tell God, “They’re with me,” as he opens the gates of Heaven and walks us through!
“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Rom. 8: 34).
Even though the life cycle can be sad at times, and we do experience sorrow when a beautiful animal is killed, the silver lining is in knowing that our lives are much more valuable to God…so valuable, that God is willing to redeem us and give us a second chance at life, so we can live eternally in Heaven with His Son Jesus… “For God so loved the world, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Won’t you pray, and ask Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your heart today? He loves YOU! He is knocking at the door of your heart. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Rev. 3:20).
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”