Paris Francine ( In Memory )

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In memory of our

beloved

Paris Francine

October 17th, 2002

August-03-2010

 


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In loving memory Paris Francine , you are dearly loved

and daily missed…..

All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small,

all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all. 

Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings,

he made their glowing colours, he made their tiny wings.

(“All Things Bright and Beautiful,” Cecil F. Alexander)

God also gave animals nephesh,

which means that they are created with a unique gift of life in each of them.

Nephesh is mentioned four times in the first chapter of Genesis alone,

where animals are described as “living creatures” (v. 20, 24), “living … things” (v. 21)

and as having “the breath of life” (v. 30).

N.T. scholar Richard Young describes nephesh as an “animating life principle”

which is “unquestionably, the biblical criterion for establishing a compassionate ethic toward animals.”

And it is a “special or sacred” property which means that animals have some form of “thoughts,

feelings, emotions, desires, and self-awareness.” (Is God a Vegetarian?, 24-25)

God delights in animals

As made clear in the Genesis passage above, God saw that the different animals he created were “good,”

and his satisfaction with them is emphasized in the final verse of the chapter: “God saw all that he had made,

and it was very good.” (1:31)  Michael Bullmore,

pastor and author of a superb essay on biblical environmentalism, responds:

References [to “goodness”] are there simply to tell the reader, and rather emphatically,

that the creation perfectly is what God intended it to be. 

Each thing stands in its proper relationship to God,

and each thing glorifies God by being exactly what God intended it to be.

 (“The Four Most Important Biblical Passages for a Christian Environmentalism,” 150-51)

All animals are in fact meant to praise their Creator:

All you have made will praise you, O LORD. (Psalm 145:10)

Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures …,

wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds.(148:7-10)

But animals exist for God’s appreciation and enjoyment as well.  Like Job 38-41,

Psalm 104 mentions a wide range of animals which God takes a tremendous amount of pleasure and pride in:

How many are your works, O Lord!  In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 

There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number –

living things both large and small.  There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. …

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works. (v. 24-31)

God knows and cares for animals

God knows each of the animals he created individually.

Aside from Luke 12:6, from which not one sparrow gets it’s name (c.f. Matthew 10:29),

this truth is expressed by the psalmist Asaph:

Every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 

I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. (Psalm 50:10-11)

Got not only knows his creatures, but he intimately cares for them,

collectively and one by one.  As I wrote in my paper on a Christian foundation for animal welfare:

We can be assured that God’s knowledge of his animal creations is not only absolutely thorough,

but … is an intimate and passionate knowledge as well. 

There is nothing God knows which he did not make, or retain ownership of. 

And there is nothing God made which he does not ardently care about, and for. (Not One Sparrow Is Forgotten, 6)

There are many biblical references to God’s care for animals,

including Psalm 36:6, “O LORD, you preserve both man and beast;”

 but also Psalm 104 (mentioned earlier), which gives and in-depth description of God’s provision for animals:

He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. 

They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. 

The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. …

He makes grass grow for the cattle … . 

The high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge for the coneys.

… These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. 

When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. (v. 10-28)

Christ, the second person of the Trinity and “the firstborn over all creation,”

is also key to the sustenance of all animals:

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth …;

all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things,

and in him all things hold together.(Colossians 1:15-17)

animals belong to God

The Bible is very adamant that just as God sustains and delights in everything he created,

that everything unquestionably belongs to him as well. See Psalm 50 and Colossians 1 above,

and Bullmore sums up this truth appropriately by saying that

“all things find their reason for being fundamentally in him.” (The Four Most Important Biblical Passages …, 143)

We often take this truth for granted, even as God’s children,

which usually means that we end up adopt ingan anthropocentric (human-centered)

view of creation and animals as opposed to a theocentric (God-centered) one.

Rather than first acknowledging God’s purposes for the creatures which he created and continues to care about,

we end up thinking of them almost completely in terms of our own human, and often selfish, interests.

But we’ll look at this more in the next two sections,

 stewardship and fall.

resources

– This section is adapted from Not One Sparrow is Forgotten: A Biblical-Theological Foundation for Animal Welfare by Ben DeVries (especially pg. 5-12).

– Also see our celebration section which is dedicated to appreciating animals and the wonders of their creation.

– The Four Most Important Biblical Passages for a Christian Environmentalism

by Michael Bullmore is an excellent essay which thinks of animals more in terms of ecosystem and species preservation,

but still lays a very strong foundation for understanding animals from a theocentric perspective.

return to creation main …

© not one sparrow, a christian voice for animals