From a Christian and biblical worldview, human beings are uniquely created in God’s image — let us always know and remember that
(By Carmen Fowler LaBerge, LifeZette) As Hurricane Irma bore down on Tampa, Florida, a friend posted a plea on Facebook that someone take in her cat; another friend fleeing Hilton Head Island posted the need for shelter for her family of four — and three dogs. There was the story of the man who, for lack of a pet carrier, was denied evacuation. He chose to endure the storm’s fury rather than leave his dog behind.
There were stories of people risking their lives to care for dolphins and to save manatees, flamingos, even alligators. Horses were rescued by brave cowboys, police escorted cattle through the streets, and chickens were wrapped in newspaper burritos for careful transport in family cars.
The prayer at our house as the waters rose in Texas was not only for the people — but for the “many cattle.” As heartless as we can sometimes be, the stewardship for the creature class runs deep in the human soul and we grieve, in the aftermath of the storms, the loss of so many animals.
From whence does that affection and concern spring? It’s part of who we are as image-bearers of a good and gracious God.
God saw the animals He had made and called them good. In the pouring out of His wrath in the great flood in the days of Noah, God’s ark provided a way to preserve the animal kingdom. In Jonah chapter 4, we witness the drama of the prophet’s angry resistance and God’s overwhelming compassion toward the city of Nineveh.
God says, “And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” God’s concern for people who do not know what they do not know is clear, but so, too, is God’s concern for the many cattle.
In creation, God gave humanity the responsibility to manage and steward the earth. That stewardship extends to animals. The recent hurricanes have been reminders not only of our vulnerability and the fragility of human life, but of utter dependence of animals upon us. Animals are not human. They do not have the ability to reason or read satellite imagery, nor jump into a car to flee the rising waters. They also do not have the capacity to organize a disaster response or rebuild their own habitats.
For all the times we hear it argued that animals are just like people — they are not.