Regarding God’s Animal Kingdom
Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird–each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply. Let the fish fill the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.” And evening passed and morning came, marking the fifth day.
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.Genesis 1:20-24
I wonder, do cats and dogs and fish and all the other creatures in God’s vast animal kingdom feel the same emotions we feel? How do they experience them? How does God relate to those feelings? Do they process anger in the same way that humans do? Pain? Happiness? Boredom? Animals and humans might function in profoundly different ways, but I do know that He values them and wants us to cherish them as well. He even brought them to Adam so he could personally name them. God apparently did so in order that they might serve as companions, but Adam indicated that none of them was suitable. Thus, God creates the first woman Eve to be this companion (Genesis 2:19,20).
God commanded man to rule over all of the earth and over all of the animal kingdom (Genesis 1:28). Later on, humans are also commanded to eat the flesh of animals for sustenance (Genesis 9;3) and to use select animals as burnt sacrifices to Him (In Genesis 3:21 Abel brought the first recorded animal sacrifice before God). The Bible also tells us that while the spirit of man will rise in the end, the spirit of animals will go down into the earth (Ecclesiastes 3:21). This indicates that when animals die, that is it for them. When the animals of this present world die, they remain in the earth.
This does not suggest that these animals are not important to God. They might not relate to God in the same way we do, but He still cares deeply about them. On the fifth day, He began the process of filling the earth with animals. On this day, He created all animals that are found in the sea–fish, whales, porpoises, aquatic reptiles, etc.–and all kinds of birds. (Scholars who have studied this passage extensively say the command to create bird life also included insects.). Then on the sixth day, he finished off the creation of the animal kingdom by creating all of the land animals. We know that He cared about His animal creations in part because Psalm 50:10-11 God tells us that “…every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.”
The creation account records Gods first three blessings. It is interesting that one of these should be to bless aquatic wildlife and winged creatures. It is also noteworthy that these creatures are the first things God blessed. Curious that God did not give a blessing to the land animals. I think that although God does not use the word “bless” for them, it is clear His blessing was on all the animals in every form. He blessed and sanctified them by both creating them and commanding them to multiply. Yes, God blessed them and prepared them as aids to the coming pinnacle of His creation. He loves them and cares for them. While we should not forget we are their superiors, we should remember that they are valued in the eyes of God. We should also not forget that God’s Word tells us that the life of one’s animal is regarded in the eyes of the righteous man (Proverbs 12:10, NIV).
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4 thoughts on “Regarding God’s Animal Kingdom”
I liked this! Thanks, Ben.
So, you’re saying that God blessed the mosquito? I don’t buy it. Those things are evil. Altogether evil.
In all seriousness, good job taking a very balanced and practical approach to this. We should take care of God’s creation and that includes the animals. But we shouldn’t elevate them to human-like status.
Interesting that the discussion can be held about whether there will be animals in Heaven. ( There were in Eden.) And some pastors/scholars remind us that everything we need to insure our perfect happiness will be ours, and that might include a beloved pet. But human spirits going up and animal spirits down, is a pretty strong statement.
The Bible does seem to suggest there will be animals in God’s renewed universe, but not sure any of these will be animals who have previously died. I too have heard various Christian speakers say that our deceased pets will be with us in heaven because that will make us happier. Personally, I don’t think we are going to need specific individuals, or pets, or anything else to make us happier when we (Christians) die. That land will be perfect and our bodies will be perfect but I think God Himself will be all that we really need to be perfectly happy for all eternity.