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Sanctity of Life

By Mary Craig

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I love animals and appreciate Godís art, His masterpieces that come every morning and every evening. I support humanitarian relief efforts wherever there is oppression and poverty, be it regarding people and/or animals. I decided to write this article because of the abuse I have seen in nations lacking compassion, nations that worship the creation and bring upon themselves the judgment and curse of God. I decided to write this article because of the increasing abuse in the United States of America! I am personally appalled at the abuse of the innocents, of the weak and helpless, of little children and of animals, birds, and all Godís creation. It is but another evidence of human beings failing to hear and heed Godís commandments. The irony is that in Egypt of old and India of late, where animals were/are worshipped as gods and given places of honor and esteem above man who was created in the image of God, those places do not sanctify life as they should. Beasts are overburdened. There is no rest, no peace, no joy, no time to be healed.

I call you to pray whenever and wherever you see abuse towards humans and Godís creation. I call you to join me in seeking forgiveness and grace from God to repent for abuse, dishonor, disdain, disregard, and contempt for Godís creatures/creation. And I call you to preach this gospel to all creation, to every creature.

With honor comes responsibility. God created the heavens and the earth and then made man, who was made in the image of God. Male and female, God created them. Given qualities like reason, personality, and intellect and thus a superior capacity to speak , to hear, to see, and to relate, Man received Godís command to have dominion over every living thing that moves on the earth. (Genesis 1.27, 28) As God rested on the seventh day from His labors, He established the precedent for the Sabbath. (Genesis 2.3; Exodus 20.8) God took the man, Adam, and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Adam gave names to each living creature. (Genesis 2.15, 19-20) Clearly, as Adam was created to live in relationship with his Creator, so also Adam was to live in relationship with Godís creation, the work of Godís hands.

Adamís sin corrupted and disrupted the peace of Godís good creation. Adam broke covenant with the Almighty, bringing just consequence upon himself and his posterity. By dishonoring God, by disdaining the word and will of God, by unbelief, by obeying a lie instead of truth, Adam brought upon himself and subsequent humanity the curse. The creation began to suffer. Adamís failure in his fundamental role as tender/provider would mean tension and discord rather than harmony and peace between him and the ground. The hostility of the breach which would place humanity at enmity with God, living alienated from the life of God, would bring creation into frustration, futility, a groaning for redemption. Romans 8.19-21 states: For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility (frustration, vanity), not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Adam had the capacity to hear and see God, to speak to and with God, to live in relationship with God. The disloyalty and disobedience of his unbelief corrupted the system, the good order of creation as God intended it. In dishonoring God, Adam fell from the honor given him by God in creation. Hostility and discord entered the system. With harmony and order countered by forces opposing the Creator God, God became the preserver of life, the One holding things together. (Colossians 1)

"Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds; Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep; O Lord, You preserve man and beast." (Psalm 36.5, 6, NKJV)

God is Lord of the creation. God speaks and creations result from the creative power of His Word. All of creation stands at attention ready to obey Godís commands. Thus we are to marvel and praise the Creator. Everything that has breath is to praise the Lord (Psalm 150). Creation lives in relationship with its Creator. Creation is not to be worshipped or served (Exodus 20.1-7), for to do so is to take the Name of the Lord, who is Creator, in vain. Creation stands separate from and distinguished from the Creator but in vital union with the Creator, who is the Author of all that exists. (John 1)

Unlike the first Adam, Jesus as the Second Adam, lives as the Incarnate Son of God in perfect relationship with His Father and demonstrates for us how to live in unbroken confidence and trust in the Source and Sustainer of all life and blessing. We are to rest and to let those under our dominion rest from labor (Mark 2.27). We are not to use the creation in opposition to the will of God, to exploit positions of power for personal advantage (Matthew 4.1-11). As the Father cares for the birds and for the flowers, much lower on the order of creation, those things that have not the intrinsic honor given to Man who was created in the image of God, so also He will care for us and we seek Him first and His kingdom. (Matthew 6)

Because of what man has done, all creatures are dependent on the restoration of a right relationship between God and Godís representative in the cosmos. The coming of Christ into the cosmos demonstrated Godís love for the cosmos, for His creation. God so loved the cosmos that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3.16). The Son, Jesus Christ, is God, the God-Man come to effect and restore Peace.

Through Christ, and those who are the children of God through faith in Christ, the creation has hope for harmony, order, goodness, and love. Men and women, boys and girls, living in right relationship with God the Creator can bless and do good, honor and have regard for Godís cosmos, the creation, the work of Godís hands, by obeying His commands through faith working by love enabled by grace. Those who truly believe can:

  1. Honor the Sabbath and extend the sabbath rest to all who labor, both man and animal, even the ground and its yield that supply food. (Exodus 20.10; Exodus 23; Isaiah 58.13, 14; Isaiah 14, e.g.)
  2. As the fallen ox was to be helped to its feet (Deut. 22.4) and the straying ox was to be returned to safety (Exodus 23.4; Deut. 22.1), and sheep and cattle need tending and care even on the Sabbath, so also caring and merciful intervention extends moreso to people, even on the Sabbath, regardless of material advantage. (Matthew 12.11; Luke 13.15; 14.5)
  3. Do not allow the unequal yoke. Oxen and donkeys were not to plow together (Deut. 22.10). Jesus invites being yoked to Him because in doing so we are yoked to One whose burdens are light and to One who gives rest to our souls. (Matthew 11) We are not to be yoked with Belial, with those hostile to the Creator God (2 Corinthians 6).
  4. Do not muzzle the ox as it treads out the corn (Deut. 25.4). Those who labor, whether human or animal, are entitled to support from the benefits of their work. (1 Corinthians 9.9; 2 Timothy 5.18)
  5. Regard the life of animals. Proverbs 12.10 says: "A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."
  6. Tithe and bring offerings of all your increase to the Lord that the Lord god may bless you. (Deut.14; Deut. 26; Malachi 3; 2 Corinthians 8, 9, e.g.) Be generous. (Proverbs 22.9, 16, 22, 23)
  7. Serve the Lord God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything. (Deut. 28.47; Psalm 100)
  8. Do not shed innocent blood, nor sacrifice to idols. "Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every manís brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds manís blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man." (Genesis 9.5, 6) See also Leviticus 17, Psalm 94.21; Psalm 5.6; Psalm 55.23; Deut. 18; Exodus 23.7)
  9. Do not overwork to be rich (Proverbs 23.4).
  10. Bless the creation and the Creator, not as ones conditioned by the cosmos, but as ones sent into the cosmos by the Son to keep His word and commandment. (John 17.18, 20.21, 14.15, 23)
  11. Be an instrument of Peace and Good will giving glory to God by enjoying Him and the works of His hand. (Psalm 104; Psalm 19; Psalm 24, e.g.)
  12. Love and cherish life. Be a good steward and fulfill the responsibility of your God-given honor as a child of the Almighty. (Psalm 33, Psalm 34.11-14; Galatians 5.22, 23; 1 Peter 4.7-10)

Jesus came into the cosmos to bring life and to bring it more abundantly (John 10.10). He calls us to a life of blessing, a life free of exploiting others for personal advantage, a life of giving, a life of joy. He calls us to sow seeds of life wherever we go, wherever He sends us in the cosmos. We are messengers of the good news. Wherever we are, we give hope and love and the hope of harmony and order to all creation.

"Go into all the world (cosmos), and preach the gospel to every creature (ktisis)." Mark 16.15

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