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Aloysius Phillips

St Aloysius|India

Bless those who have hurt you. Refuse to retaliate. Rest in His love.

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Destroyers of the Earth

Nov 14, 2013

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It was March 2012 and I was on a road in rural West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh. Great countryside, fields covered in green, and a canal running alongside the road with coconut trees waving at passersby.

Then we saw a flock of crows crowding a small tree overhanging the canal, and heard harsh bird noises. Curious, we stopped. A young injured eagle lay struggling at the water’s edge. Three large crows surrounded it, their beaks ruthlessly aiming for the eyes of the fallen bird.

A day later, we came up behind a truck. Cows and goats stood crowded on the speeding vehicle, heads tied down in painful positions. They were made to rock and roll their way to the slaughter house. I felt bad for the suffering animals and angry at the cruelty of man.

Today’s paper raises the question: If there is an all powerful and supremely good intelligence, how come such suffering, how come the natural disasters with tens of thousands killed? Equally, if there is an evil intelligence ruling the world, then how come all the inspiring goodness and the awesome beauty? So, it’s not that simplistic a scenario.

In Genesis 1.29 to 31, it is clear that the newly created, uncorrupted humans, beasts, birds, and all the creatures on the ground with the breath of life in it were vegans-vegetarians. They were so designed and so instructed. And this arrangement was divinely evaluated as “very good.” Something no Right Reverend Doctor will ever tell you.

It has been a long journey of perversity from Eden to the meat-crazy culture we have today. From all reports, animals are having a hard time as humans brazenly evict them from their natural habitat, encroach on their territory, and slaughter them for pleasure and profit. It is said that animals do not have souls, cannot be compared to humans, and are therefore expendable. Who said so? Where’s the science supporting this? Are humans not mammals, part of the animal kingdom?

If God took the trouble of designing and creating the animals, did he make a mistake? Were animals created for the glory of God, an expression of his creativity, or to pander to man’s selfish cravings? What is the value, role, and function of animals on the planet? Are we to treat God’s handiwork as something cheap and disposable, to be used, misused, abused, and made extinct?

Take a look at the following passages in Scripture.

“The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches...” (Isaiah 43.20). The wild (and domestic) animals are there to honor God. And the reason given is because of God’s honourable behaviour with his chosen people, who are to “declare my praise.” How is our behaviour towards God’s creation? Is it honourable, or dismissive? Could declaring the Creator’s praise include behaving responsibly towards animals and the finely balanced, life-sustaining environment we have been provided with?

God is the author of life. Included in that is the life-support system he has designed and put in place. Modern man (and woman) is behaving like a patient on ventilator who is determined to rip off the oxygen mask and detach himself from vital equipment. 

The suffering Job echoes and expands on the creative acts of God and declares, “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.” All mankind is included in the living things, and there is no life without breath. The ownership and sovereignty of God is acknowledged, and we are held responsible not only for how we behave towards each other, but also for our actions towards all living things. (Job 12.7ff)

How does God behave towards “all flesh”? He gives them food. He didn’t just make them and then left them to fend for themselves. He provided for their sustenance. (Psalm 136.25, Luke 12.24) Just read how the psalmist waxes eloquent as he considers God’s care for his creatures, in Psalm 104.

What we are doing is factory feeding the chickens and injecting cattle to make them fit our bloated stomachs. These animals have value only when they are between our teeth. And we are reaping the consequences.

So, you are righteous in Christ! Very good! And how does a righteous man behave towards animals? Take a look at Proverbs 12.10.

And don’t forget to read Revelation 11.18 together with Psalm 50.10-11. The Creator of the earth will destroy those who rubbish the planet. Amen.

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