Animal Rights

 

“You have made [Man] to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen— even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:6–9, NKJV)

A Willet hovers over the waters at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach, California.

This can be looked at a few different ways. One way is to say that we, as human beings, have domination over the animals, so we can do whatever we want with them, kill them, destroy their habitat for our own gain, or be complacent and not care about what happens to them. But I see this a little different. 

I do not believe that animals rise to the level of human beings. I believe they are our wards for which we are responsible. Man was created for this purpose, to tend the garden and care for the animals. Man named the animals, which gives ownership to the man. He was now responsible for their well being. 

Conservation is so important. We must preserve animal habitat and therefore, preserve the animals themselves, whether they are domesticated or wild, they must be given a space to live as we, as humans, possess. How we do this is up to the individual. We can support our local zoo. Some conservationists do not like zoos because they see them as putting wild animals, that should be free, in jail. But that is not what these animals experience. Most zoos treat their animals extremely well and, most zoos deal in animals that were born in captivity, not in the wild. Zoos provide a great opportunity for humans to see wild animals up close, see their majesty and beauty and want to save and preserve their wild cousins. 

Hereford Bull sits under a shade tree with other cattle in Heavener, Oklahoma.

Other ways may be to support one of the conservation organizations. But be very careful, some of these inflate statistics to pull at your heartstrings to make you give more money so they can purchase equipment and take expensive trips around the world for their own gain. 

I would love to spend time going out in the wild and capturing photos and documenting behavior of the animals that live there. That would be a dream job. But God has other plans for my time right now. Perhaps He will allow me to visit the wild every now and then. We’ll see, I have been blessed to be able to travel in the past, perhaps there is travel for me in the future. It is amazing to be able to be there, to see these beautiful creations up close and personal.

This is one of the reasons why I reject evolution. If I believed in the survival of the fittest I would not save the environment, habitat or animals. According to Darwin, they must survive on their own and if another “animal” destroyed them, then they were not fittest and deserve to be destroyed. Darwin calls human beings animals, therefore, my argument is that if we want to destroy habitat so we can thrive, then we have every right to do so in the evolutionary world.

Asmara, a female Malayan Tiger, takes a dive and a drink into the water feature at her habitat at the Little Rock Zoo.

But I reject all of that. The Christian should reject it all as well. We should have it in our hearts to make sure our world is taken care of, even if it is marred by sin. Obviously this is not our primary function. Our primary function is to spread the gospel and disciple (teach) those who receive Christ how to follow Christ and love others. Of course, what I wrote is very simplistic, not being the focus of this article. 

But we should love what God loves and cares for. He loves people. He loves animals. He created them as he created us. There is an interesting passage in the ancient book of Jonah, a man who rejected the plan of God in his life and ended up as whale vomit on the shores of Nineveh. (😁)

“And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?” (Jonah 4:11, NKJV)

Perhaps I am interpreting or applying this incorrectly. Jonah was upset that his greatest enemy, the Assyrians (capital was Nineveh) were not only not destroyed, but they were saved from destruction by God Himself! God’s argument was, why should He destroy a nation where there were 120,000 innocent babies (not knowing right hand from left) and lots of animals—yes, animals, livestock. He cared about babies like he cared about the animals. Both were innocent.

Goats gather under a shade tree to keep themselves from the hot Oklahoma climate.

All this to say, we should care about people above animals, but we should have a care about animals as well. We should make sure that we are doing what we can to do what we were originally created for: Worship God and tend to the earth and its animal population. 

I pray that you were encouraged and blessed by today’s devotional. If you were please follow me @pastorstmarq on Instagram and www.stage4ministries.com

Steve Marquez is the founder of Stage4 Ministries and was the founder of Calvary Chapel Fort Smith, Arkansas and was the Senior pastor there for 15 years. In 2014 he was diagnosed with Stage Four Renal Cell Carcinoma and had multiple surgeries and came close to death several times. Visit www.stage4ministries.com for his testimony and other teachings designed to encourage those who are in their “stage4” of life. 

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