The Creator Revealed

Design In Other Animals

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: TCR

Program Code: TCR180004B

00:03 Welcome back to the Creator Revealed.
00:05 We've been talking today about our wonderful Creator
00:09 and all the beautiful creatures that He formed
00:13 from the dust of the ground for our enjoyment.
00:16 Exactly, you know, the diversity of life
00:19 is truly amazing.
00:22 It is.
00:23 And anyone who isn't just blown away
00:26 not just by the diversity but the beauty of what's there,
00:29 I don't know, it seems to me
00:30 that they've lost their soul in a way.
00:34 But there is this question that we have in our minds,
00:38 as Christians, I think all people.
00:40 And that is, how do we relate to these other creatures?
00:44 What does the Bible tell us about that?
00:47 And to assist us with that, we have Dr. Jo Ann Davidson.
00:51 She is a professor of Systematic Theology
00:55 at the Seventh-day Adventist
00:57 Theological Seminary at Andrews University.
01:01 And I'm delighted that she is joining us
01:05 to discuss this really important topic.
01:08 So, Dr. Davidson,
01:10 one of the arguments that I've heard is,
01:14 God made human beings to have dominion
01:17 over the rest of the creation,
01:19 over the other animals and so on.
01:21 So we really don't have any responsibility
01:26 to be caring for these creatures.
01:30 It is just,
01:32 you know, the earth is ours to do with what we want.
01:36 And I'm wondering,
01:37 is that really a biblical position or not?
01:41 You know, that a lot of people have that position
01:43 but they haven't learnt to read the text carefully.
01:46 If you look at Genesis 1,
01:49 and God gives a definition of rulership,
01:51 even before He creates humans and animals.
01:54 On day four, He says the sun is to rule the day,
01:57 and He put it in place so it can conserve life
02:00 and bring forth life in the ground.
02:03 And so when God asked us to rule,
02:05 He's warning us to display the same benevolence
02:08 that the sun does.
02:10 Also I think,
02:12 it's tragic that though people believe in God as the Creator,
02:17 the ideas of evolution
02:19 have suddenly affected their thinking,
02:21 often without them realizing it, perhaps.
02:23 And we just think that
02:25 animals are just little lower than we are,
02:27 and we finally advanced to a higher stage,
02:29 and we're really of more value and more worth,
02:31 and that's not right either.
02:33 That's not right either.
02:35 The creation story is so beautiful
02:37 because the first three days, God creates habitats.
02:41 And then the last three days, He fills each of those habitats
02:44 in turn with the creatures that live there.
02:47 And then He gives both humans and animals
02:50 a plant-based, violent-free diet,
02:53 and then He finishes day six, rubbing His...
02:56 You can almost see Him rubbing His hands together saying,
02:57 "Oh, this is very good."
02:59 And He gives animals and humans the same diet.
03:03 And on day five interestingly,
03:06 He talks to the animals.
03:08 It says in Genesis 1:20 to 22,
03:11 God created all the great sea creatures
03:13 of the sea and the air.
03:14 And then it says, "And God blessed them saying,
03:18 "Be fruitful and multiply."
03:21 Well, who is God talking to?
03:23 There was no humans around to listen,
03:25 and He gives the same blessing, only a day later to humans.
03:28 And He puts them in a world filled with new life,
03:32 and tells them to be fruitful
03:34 and multiplied the same blessing
03:36 He'd given to day five.
03:38 And if you go to the Book of Psalms,
03:41 over and over again, dozens of times,
03:44 the psalmist praised God for the works of His hands.
03:48 The works of your hands are the works of His hands,
03:50 referring back to that passage you referred to, Tim,
03:52 about God creating the creatures
03:55 from the dust of the ground,
03:56 the works of His hands.
03:57 And He's so excited about it and praises God,
04:02 it just draws forth praise over and over again,
04:04 the works of God's hands.
04:06 In fact, there's one choir in Psalm 1:48
04:10 that speaks of humans praising God.
04:12 But before it mentions humans praising God,
04:14 it talks about the animals praising God.
04:17 And praises venting to the great Creator
04:19 from all His creatures.
04:21 It's just unfortunate
04:23 that we have such degraded hearing
04:26 that we can't hear all the praises going to God.
04:29 In fact, one scientist wrote,
04:31 "As we're destroying these different species of the earth,
04:34 we're muting God's praise, muting God's praise."
04:38 That's really kind of a poetic way,
04:41 kind of a depressing thought when you think about it.
04:47 I wonder myself,
04:49 how is God going to respond to us
04:54 if we are destroying these works of art
04:58 that He's created?
04:59 As a scientist,
05:01 I taught to think about them more as in an engineering
05:04 almost sort of sense but also the beauty,
05:07 and yeah, this praise.
05:09 What kind of specific instructions,
05:13 if any, does God give us
05:15 about how we should be treating animals, for example?
05:20 Well, if you look at the story of the flood,
05:24 it's interesting to me
05:26 that when God had to destroy sin
05:28 because it was so corrupt...
05:29 And the word there in the original language
05:32 is the strongest word
05:33 that could be used for violence and evil.
05:36 They were corrupted that God had to destroy it,
05:39 but He wanted to make a way of escape.
05:41 God never destroys sin without making a way of escape.
05:44 In this case, He had Noah build an ark.
05:46 And then He told Noah,
05:48 "Please bring the animals in
05:50 because I want to spare them too."
05:52 And so God,
05:54 as He prepares to rid the earth of violence and evil,
05:57 He has an ark for humans and animals to be preserved in.
06:02 Then after the flood when they come out of the ark,
06:04 it's Chapter 9, it's very interesting.
06:07 God gives a major covenant statement there.
06:11 And four times in that statement, He says,
06:15 "I'm making this covenant with you, and your family,
06:18 and all the animals with you in the ark."
06:21 And He lists them, He mentions them,
06:23 many of them by name.
06:24 Four times, He repeats this in one covenant statement.
06:28 And we're knowing now
06:29 as we're learning to read biblical narratives
06:30 that anytime something is repeated,
06:32 it's a key point.
06:33 The ancients didn't have underlining and italics
06:36 and bolding letters
06:38 to emphasize something important,
06:40 so instead, they would repeat it.
06:41 And in this case, God four times repeats it.
06:44 He has a covenant with all the creatures He's made,
06:47 humans and animals.
06:48 You know what?
06:50 Oh, I'm sorry. Go ahead.
06:51 Go ahead. I just wanna add with that.
06:54 When God gives the Ten Commandments,
06:55 the fourth commandment is the Sabbath blessing,
06:58 and He includes the animals even in the Sabbath blessing
07:00 that they deserve to rest too, they deserve to rest.
07:04 And the Old Testament laws, the Mosaic laws,
07:06 marvelous how God says.
07:08 I love some of them.
07:09 I'll repeat one of my favorite, God says,
07:11 "If you see a donkey overloaded
07:14 with a heavy load and he falls down,
07:16 you need to help that donkey back to its feet,
07:18 even though that donkey belongs to your enemy."
07:21 Yeah.
07:23 I guess the text that jumps to my mind
07:25 is the one that says that
07:27 you shouldn't muzzle the ox that treads the corn.
07:31 You know, these animals are worthy
07:37 of their wages in a way as well.
07:43 They should be allowed to enjoy the harvest
07:44 that they're reaping.
07:46 Yes.
07:47 They're ostensibly working for humans,
07:49 but they're part of the team,
07:51 and they deserve to enjoy the harvest too.
07:53 So if we sort of say,
07:56 "Well, these animals are of such great value,
08:00 and they're very much like us,"
08:04 then what does that do to human beings because...
08:08 Does it degrade us to say, "Hey, you know,
08:14 we're not as special perhaps as we thought we were
08:17 or how are we supposed to think about that?
08:22 Well, you know, that's the idea of hierarchy,
08:25 thinking that the people up higher are more important,
08:27 but God has a different system, I think.
08:30 He gives us the privilege of caring for His creation.
08:35 And the animals depend on us for that,
08:37 and we should be caring for the creation
08:40 just like God Himself
08:42 doesn't say it's very, very good.
08:44 Instead of thinking that,
08:46 because we supposedly have more intelligence
08:49 that we are above them
08:52 and don't have to care for them.
08:53 But, you know, this thing of intelligence
08:55 is really significant to me
08:57 because scientists of which you are a noble one,
09:00 Dr. Tim, are coming out with many, many books now
09:03 about the intelligence of animals.
09:05 And like the last one I read, I love the title.
09:07 It said the Wise Guys of the Avian World,
09:10 Ravens and Crows.
09:12 And it talks there about
09:13 how the scientists used to think
09:14 that monkeys were closest to humans in intelligence,
09:17 but now they realize that
09:18 ravens are smarter than monkeys.
09:20 And the fact that...
09:22 And tongue in cheek, the author says,
09:24 "Now when you call someone a birdbrain,
09:26 that's a compliment,
09:27 because they're really smart."
09:29 Oh, it is amazing how smart they are.
09:31 But, Jo Ann, you will agree.
09:34 Humans are special in a way
09:35 because we were created in the image of God.
09:39 So there's a form and a function for everything.
09:43 That's right.
09:45 And when we see how God cares for the animals
09:48 as well as He cares for humans, that should give us a lesson
09:51 on how we should care for the animals.
09:54 If we're created in the image of the Creator,
09:55 we need to have the same care,
09:57 and love, and concern for them as He does.
10:00 Okay, well, thank you so much for joining us, Dr. Davidson.
10:03 It's been a privilege to hear your thoughts
10:06 and the way that you have bought out these lessons
10:09 that are contained there in God's Word.
10:12 I am absolutely convinced
10:15 that we have a duty, as Christians,
10:20 to care for the entire creation but especially
10:24 these intelligent other beings
10:28 that inhabit the earth with us.
10:30 You know, it's so funny, because you and I were talking,
10:33 I think yesterday, we were talking about
10:36 the intelligence of animals in pigs.
10:39 You know, like how intelligent a pig is.
10:42 I want a pet pig.
10:44 But, you know,
10:45 I have never lived in a household
10:47 where the true bosses of the house
10:50 would allow me to have one.
10:53 You're saying your mother and your wife won't allow it.
10:56 You know, sometimes I think they just don't understand me.
10:59 But we don't always appreciate the intelligence of an animal.
11:03 And you know, my mother always told me,
11:06 "Don't trust someone that is not good to animals."
11:10 Exactly.
11:11 That was one of the core pieces of advice I gave my daughter.
11:15 Do not date anybody who is cruel to animals
11:18 because they will be cruel to you as well.
11:21 At the same time when you see kindness to animals,
11:24 and when we ourselves
11:27 develop these amazing relationships
11:30 that we can have...
11:32 I talked about my dog, Jack,
11:34 but I still have our other dog, Jill.
11:36 You know, and the joy and the love
11:40 that we share with each other,
11:42 even though we're not the same species,
11:44 it is a beautiful thing.
11:46 And I suspect it model something
11:48 about the relationship
11:50 that we ourselves can have with God.
11:51 Amen.
11:53 And I think in many ways, it makes us,
11:55 as we are totally dependent upon God,
11:58 when you have any creature
12:00 that's totally dependent upon you,
12:02 you can't help but love them for some reason.
12:04 So it's just an idea, a model of how much God loves us.
12:10 We hope that you've been blessed today,
12:12 and you will join us next time.


Revised 2019-03-14