Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Society • Does Jesus Condone Hunting and Killing Wolves? Part 1 of 2

“The greatness of a society and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Recently, churches throughout the world published an invitation to bring pets for the annual, Blessing of The Animals Ceremony. This observance and blessing commemorates the life of St. Francis of Assisi, known for his deep love of all creatures. He truly was the Patron Saint of Animals.

Jesus Himself was born in a stable surrounded by animals and will return to earth riding a white horse during a time when the lion shall lie down with the lamb.

Animals were so regarded that Job said that we can learn from the animals. Here’s the exact quote:

“But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee; or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee, and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? in whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:7-10.

In the account of the creation, Genesis 1:25 tells us: “And God made the beast of the earth, after his kind; and cattle after their kind and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

Genesis 1:26 takes it further: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle and all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

God essentially said that man shall have dominion over all the animals. Unfortunately, man has misread that to believe that they can do whatever they want to do with and to the animals in order to make a profit for themselves. And man thinks that the word, dominion, means that animals can be mistreated.

Interesting, the word dominion also translates, ‘obey,’ the very same ‘obey’ as used in wedding ceremonies. Does that mean that a man can mistreat his wife?

Another translation of that word is, cooperate. So what God is saying in those verses is that man should cooperate with the animals, AND his wife, all of which is a translation of the word, ‘dominion.’

Those who observe animal instincts can be amazed at how human they can be. Bob Boyd, host of the national radio program, Issues in Education, sent me a stunning photo story about a lion cub that slipped over a cliff, and dangled from the sheer steep rock part way down.

The terrified little lioness clung to the side with its little claws hanging on for dear life. Four lions went to the top edge of the cliff wanting to rescue it but it was too dangerous and they are seen looking down at the helpless cub.

However, the MOTHER of the cub looked over the situation and without thinking twice, lowered herself down the side, and just as the cub’s strength was readty to give out, which would have plunged it to its death, the mother lion quickly but delicately maneuvered herself down and under the cub where she was able to reach up and grab it in her mouth, then managed to carry it up the hazardous steep cliff to safety.

Animals have deep feelings and in this case, the lion knew she could be killed in the rescue of her cub but that did not deter her. There is no such thing as, “just an animal.”

So what about hunting animals for sport? And organizations like “Christian Bow Hunters of America” that bring slow agonizing deaths to the animals they hunt?

And what about the cruelty of nature itself? Big creatures eat smaller creatures, and not always quickly, where horrified little bunnies die of heart attacks while being hunted down by a hawk or eagle that will tear its flesh from its bones.

Charles Darwin carried it further with his theory, “Survival of The Fittest,” which encompasses human beings as well. A theory that turns hearts to stone as man works to overpower others while those with physical weakness or handicaps want to live as much as the ‘fittest’ humans and can be mistreated and overpowered by them.

Nature is cruel and unkind. But wait…..Isn’t God the Author of nature? Does this mean that all the suffering and cruelty of life is at the behest of God?

See More in Part 2 of “Does Jesus Condone Hunting and the Killing of Wolves?”

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