We ended (Part Two) on the Predatory World with the thought that Jesus tells His followers that He Himself would become the instrument of healing for the world as He is lifted up as a symbol of evil – on the Cross: “As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life” (John 3 v 14).
On Animal Souls
A belief in ‘souls’ is a matter of faith, whether animal or human. It can be likened to a faith in God. Faith is faith and proof is not scientifically available.
I believe in the existence of animal souls because, to me, the scriptural evidence for them is conclusive. In Genesis 1 v 21-24 the words ‘living creature’ are the Hebrew ‘chay nephesh’. Over 400 times the Old Testament translates ‘nephesh’ as ‘soul’. The essential basis of the Gospel is that Jesus is Lord of ALL Creation and, by His sacrificial death on the Cross, He has reconciled to God ALL of Creation, “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in Heaven, by making peace through His blood shed on the Cross” (Colossians 1 v 20).
Sadly, arguments against the existence of animal souls have traditionally been weighted so heavily by the alleged importance of ‘intellect’ and ‘will’. Together with countless other Christians, I believe that animals do have both intelligence and will.
If reconciliation to God is dependent upon an intellectual relationship with Him, what then of a severely mentally-impaired human? In fact, upon what point of the ‘divine I.Q. test’ does any one of us pass or fail? Jesus Himself said, “I assure you that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it” (Mark 10 v 15).
But I believe faithful humility is the key to this issue, as it is human arrogance which centres all worth upon the human self. It is also human arrogance which can taint even Christianity and cause a sincere Christian to be insensitive to the God-given rights and needs of their fellow creatures. And what this arrogance omits to realise is it is simply not possible to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Saviour without proclaiming Him as Lord and Saviour of the WHOLE Creation.
Thankfully, it has now been established that in important scriptural passages, which speak of the scope of the Christian message and of the inclusiveness of redemption, the original texts must be interpreted in such a way as to include the WHOLE Creation, in all its cosmic immensity. Thus Mark 16 v 15 says, Go forth to every part of the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation”. Similarly, Revelation 5 v 13 says, “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever’”.
The Good News is infinite and boundless. Christ Jesus has redeemed the WHOLE Creation and in His eternal love there is a place for the soul of EVERY creature.
The Christian faith is based on the belief that all is NOT well with the world; that the WHOLE Creation is fallen from God’s original perfect will (Genesis 3, Romans 5, Romans 8, John 3 v 14-16, 1 Corinthians 15 v 21-22 etc.). It is because we are ‘fallen’ that we need a saviour, a Saviour who, as Jesus of Nazareth, came to share in the sufferings of His world. In Him and in His death on the Cross the WHOLE fallen Creation has its hope of Redemption (Colossians 1 v 19-20).
Jesus based His teachings upon love, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13 v 34). But our human attainment of love is weak and flawed, unless it is grounded in the perfect love of Jesus; and not one of us will achieve this expression of love until we know Him ‘face to face’ however one understands this concept, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13 v 12).
As we are, we are children of the ‘Fall’ awaiting the fulfillment of our ‘Redemption’. A belief in the concept of the ‘Fall’ is something which most secular animal welfarists choose to reject and, by so doing, they also reject major portions of the New Testament.
Either consciously or unconsciously, they then reject their need of redemption and their need of the salvation which is freely offered to them by Christ (Romans 5 v 12-20).
There is nothing simple about a faith in God incarnate, crucified, risen, ascended and awaited. It is a faith, extraordinary and supernatural, but I believe that this one Christ Jesus is either everything to the WHOLE Creation or that He is nothing. And that we must either choose Him in all His mysterious and complex fullness or that we must reject Him. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and that Truth will ultimately be found in Christ Himself, who will stay with us, if we ask it of Him. He says, “I AM the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14 v 6), “Here I AM! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3 v 20).
A major tragedy of today’s Christianity lies in its general absorption of the current worldly exploitation of animals. There is no justification for this in the scriptures and Christians are, therefore, corporately and individually culpable in this respect, not only for their apparent indifference to legalised animal abuse, but also for the loss to Christ of thousands of, often spiritually thirsty, animal welfarists who are drawn towards New Age and Eastern religions or no faith at all. It is, therefore, vital that Christian animal welfarists attempt to alert Christians to this fact and to assure these caring secular animal welfarists of Christ’s love for them as well as for His animal kingdom.
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My calling as a Child of the Creator is to take the Gospel, as it relates to the WHOLE creation, to the world; and to remind the Church of its Biblical responsibilities to non-human animals and the earth.
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