9-16-2018 For Animal Lovers

FROM THE PASTOR

September 16, 2018

 

Over the summer I’ve had close encounters with swans, eagles, osprey, beavers and muskrat. This week I encountered the friendliest family of Common Loons I’ve come across. A family of 4 on two occasions came up to my boat on Klinger Lake and followed along within 10 feet of me for an incredible amount of time. It was fascinating to watch them fearlessly swim back and forth under the boat several times each encounter. The only conclusion I could come up with is that they had learned that fisherman mean fish and fish mean they eat.

 

I’m always impressed by the intelligence God has given His creation. He has created all living creatures with intelligence, a need for relationships and an ability, at some level, to interact with other segments of creation. God’s Word is clear that because of creation mankind is without excuse concerning His existence…

 

Romans 1:20 (NASB)
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

 

We should make no mistake; animals are lower than mankind. It was only after mankind was created that God said, “It was very good” (Gen 1:30). God gave mankind dominion over the animals (Gen 1:26). Mankind was the only recipient in all creation created in the ‘image of God’ (Gen 1:26-27). And mankind is the only creation brought about by direct, personal interaction with God (Gen 2:7 and Gen 2:22). For the balance of creation God simply stated, “let’ and there was.

 

The differences however don’t stop there. Man was created as a ‘trichotomy’ of 3 – body, soul and spirit. The body is self-explanatory, the soul is that part of us that makes us who we are… personality and reasoning, whereas the spirit is that part of us distinctly attributed to being the only creation created in the ‘image of God’. The spirit also gives us the ability to interact with God, understand morality and therefore makes us accountable to God.

 

The distinction comes as we recognize that animals were created as a ‘dichotomy’ of 2 - body and soul. Again, the body is self-explanatory, anyone who has an animal knows they can be smart and have personalities. Yet animals do not have a spirit that is accountable to God. They lack that one essential ‘piece’ … being created in the image of God. They, therefore, are not accountable to God in the same manner mankind is. That is a huge difference.

 

I’ve been asked if I believe animals go to heaven when they die. The animal lover side of me wants to shout, “yes”. I’m not alone, all you have to do is go on the internet and you will find numerous faithful pet owners allowing their emotions to rule their understanding by proclaiming, “yes”. But the theological side of me proclaims two things… 1) God’s Word is silent on this matter. It does not provide a clear enough statement that I could faithfully teach “yes” with certainty and 2) given the clear distinction in God’s Word concerning the created differences between animals and mankind, I am suspect of my pets going to heaven. However, one thing I am thankful for… regardless of my suspicions, God will allow what God will allow.

 

This I can teach though with 100% certainty … for you horse lovers… it appears that horses will be in heaven. When Christ returns, we will return with Him on what? Horses…

 

Revelation 19:14 (NASB)
14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.

 

All I can say is… “Saddle up and be ready to ride!!”

Thank you for your faithfulness. Pastor Larry

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