Animal Rights? (...cont)

An article by Dwight Schuh
Reprinted by permission from Bowhunter Magazine Oct/Nov 1999 issue

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Biblical Answers

Obviously that response must come from the Bible itself, and three central questions must be answered: 1) Are man and animals created equal? 2) In God’s eyes, is killing animals right or wrong? 3) Was Jesus a vegetarian?

To answer these questions, I’ve selected numerous references from the Bible. This is not a complete list, only a sampling. To meet space limitations, I’ve shortened some with ellipses, but the meanings remain unchanged. All quotes are from the New International Version.

1) Did God create man and animals equal?
Genesis 1:26-28 - "Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

"God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. "

Matthew 10:29-30 - "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?...So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Romans 5:8 - "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

1 John 2:25 - "And this is what He promised us - eternal life."

2) In God’s eyes, is killing animals right or wrong?
Genesis 3:21 - "The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them."

Genesis 4:2-5 - "...Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor..."

Genesis 9:3 - "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

Exodus 12:1-13 - "The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, ‘...The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire...and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt."

Exodus 16:8-13 - "Moses also said, ‘You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning...’ The Lord said to Moses, ‘I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your god."

"That evening quail came and covered the camp..."

Deuteronomy 14:3-6 - "Do not eat any detestable thing. These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope and the mountain sheep. You may eat any animal that has a split hoof divided in two and that chews the cud."

2 Chronicles 5:6-14 - "...and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted...Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God."

2 Chronicles 7: 1-5 - "...and the glory of the Lord filled the temple...And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God."

Acts 10:9-15 - "About noon the following day as they were approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 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 of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, ‘Get up, Peter, kill and eat.’ ‘Surely not, Lord!’ Peter replied. ‘I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.’ "The voice spoke to him a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."

1 Corinthians 10:25 - "Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, ‘The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it."

Hebrews 9:22 - "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."

3) Was Jesus a vegetarian?
Mark 7:14-19 - "Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean’...’ ‘Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.’ (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods ‘clean.’)"

Luke 24:41-43 - "And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he (Jesus) asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence."

John 21:4 - "Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
"He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ " ‘No,’ they answered. "He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish...When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
"Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ "Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153...Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast’...Jesus, came took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish."

From the Bible verses listed here we can clearly draw some answers to the three questions:

1) God did not create man and animals equal nor gave them equal "rights."
God gave man dominion over animals and put animals on earth for man’s use. More significantly, He created man in His own image, meaning that man, unlike animals, has an eternal soul. God sent his Son Jesus to die for mankind, not for animals. Never does the Bible suggest animals have the potential for eternal life. Clearly, man and animals are not equal in God’s sight.

2) God does not prohibit, but honors, the killing of animals.
He clothed Adam and Eve in animal skins. He honored Abel’s animal sacrifice but not Cain’s plant sacrifice. God spared households with blood of slaughtered lambs on the doorframes. When Solomon sacrificed thousands of animals, God’s glory filled the temple. The entire biblical sacrificial system is based on the shedding of blood - initially that of animals, ultimately that of God’s Son, Jesus. The morality or cruelty of killing animals is never an issue.

3) Jesus ate fish, he encouraged the killing of fish, and he declared all foods clean.
Not only was he clearly not a vegetarian, but He apparently was not concerned about animal rights, vegetarianism, or animal cruelty since He never addressed these topics.

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