“Are animals special like us, too?” Emma had asked. She wanted to know if animals should receive the same rights and treatment as people do. An argument had erupted at school between students and the teacher had shown a video about that issue. Now Emma was confused. Their family ate meat, and some of her relatives liked to hunt. Her father was a scientist, and she’d heard that scientists use animals for testing in labs. Who was she to believe? What was she to believe?
Other discussions between Emma and her mother Jessica that day had led to this question. They had agreed to ask her Biologist father about it during Family God time before bed.
Emma and her younger sister curled up on the couch with their mom while their dad settled in his recliner with his Bible. It was Emma’s favorite time of the day. Her mom started singing “I Believe In God the Father,” a song by The Newsboys they’d heard on the radio. Emma and her sister chimed in, and so did their dad, Michael.
“Emma, do you have a Bible verse to read for us tonight?” Michael began.
“Yes,” she began. She opened her pink fuzzy Bible cover revealing her Easy English version Bible. Carefully finding the verse, she’d marked she began to read, “God said ‘I will make different animals come up from the ground. I will make livestock and wild animals. There will be other small animals to move along the ground. I will make many different animals to live on the earth’”…”God looked at what he had made. And he saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘We will make man. Men and women will be like us. They will rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky. They will rule over the livestock. And they will rule over the earth and the animals that move along the ground. So God made man to be like God. God made them. He made some males and some females. Genesis 1, verses 24, 26, and 27.” Then she closed the book and snuggled up to her mom, pleased with herself.
Jessica spoke up. “Emma and I were talking today about how important animals are and that God made animals and humans the same day. Some of her friends think animals should be treated the same as humans because they are just as important.” Jessica smiled at Michael. She’d called him earlier in the day so he’d know to prepare for Emma’s question.
Michael responded, “I’m impressed, Emma. You’ve thought about this a lot, and it is wise of you to want to learn what is true and right about animals.” Michael was proud of his daughter and her curious integrity when faced with opposing viewpoints. “God cares for the animals He made, Emma. When He talked to Job long ago, He said He pays attention to their food and their babies and sees that they have a place to live. He even commanded people to take care of the animals. In Proverbs 1:10, the wise man said, ‘A righteous person cares for the life of his animal. but even the most compassionate acts of the wicked are cruel.’”
“So we should treat animals well because they are important to God,” Emma stated.
“Yes, we should because God made them for our benefit. He made everything on earth to be good for His children to live well on Earth. And God put us in charge of managing the earth and He is paying attention to how we do the job He’s given us.”
“So He made the animals for us?” she confirmed
“Do you remember the game ‘Animal/Vegetable/Mineral?” Michael began as he motioned for Emma to sit with him. “See, Emma, God made humans very special. We are animals and not vegetables or minerals. But look at your Bible verse again. See verse 27? It says ‘We will make man. Men and women will be like us.’ What do you think that means?”
“I don’t know,” Emma whispered
“It means that God made us like Him. He didn’t do that for the animals.”
“Oh! So we have some of God in us?” Emma was surprised.
“Yes, we do. And God made our brains larger for our bodies than the animals, so we can communicate and reason together. Birds and bugs make music, but we make much more complicated music. We use fire and cook our food, and we care about what is right and what is wrong. We’ve even explored other planets. And we are the ones who study animals; they don’t study us!”
At that, Emma laughed.
Jessica spoke up, “So Emma, humans are animals in one sense, but we aren’t JUST animals. We are much more. And we learn from the Bible that God made animals good for food and even to help us. And we learn that God doesn’t want animals to be treated cruelly, but with respect and gratitude.”
“Okay. So everybody at school was right—and they were wrong.” Emma decided.
“Oh? How’s that?” Michael asked, surprised.
“Teacher’s video said we are animals, but we’re not just plain old animals,” she explained. “And it’s okay to use animals for food, and they can even help us, but nobody should be mean to them and make them suffer. We’re supposed to treat them right. So those boys at school were wrong when they said they liked to throw firecrackers at dogs and cats.”
Michael smiled and tickled Emma, “That’s my girl! You thought about nature and listened to what God said and did your own thinking about what other people think. How does that feel?”
“It feels good. Can I say the prayer tonight? I want to thank God for making the animals for us.”
Baby sister chimed in. “I want to pway, too!”
The four joined hands to pray, and Michael included a silent prayer for wisdom to guide his girls and equip them to reason through a world they must navigate. Theirs would be a world he couldn’t foresee. But he knew the Lord was already there.
For more information, watch Are Humans More Valuable Than Animals? Dennis Prager at https://youtu.be/7JATJv8HIV8.
Significant information may be found on Privileged Species featuring Dr. Michael Denton.