Today, many people accept the view that animals have equal value to humans because we are just another animal species. However, the biblical concept of humans as God’s special creation emphasizes our uniqueness. We all tend to talk to our dogs or cats as if they are human, even though they are not. They also may be carriers of viruses that are not good for us. People have brought everything from snakes to chimpanzees into their households. Human interaction with animals has complicated our dealing with diseases because viruses such as the one that causes COVID can jump from animals to humans.
Apparently, viruses can also go from humans back to animals. The United States Department of Agriculture has found COVID infections in the deer populations in 14 states. Samples of 4,000 deer killed by hunters or hit by cars in Iowa showed that 60% of them had the COVID virus. However, there is no evidence that any of the deer showed symptoms. Virus-caused illnesses such as HIV, bird flu, chickenpox, others came directly or indirectly from animals.
It is interesting to notice how people treat their domesticated animals as if they were human. Animals that are not related may share physical characteristics designed for the environment in which they live. For example, a shark and a porpoise look similar in many ways, but one is a primitive fish and the other an advanced mammal. No one suggests that they are related. In the same way, we may share physical or emotional characteristics with members of the animal kingdom, but that does not mean we descended from them.
God told humans to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28). We are to care for all of life and manage all living things with care and compassion. However, that command denies the view that animals have equal value to humans.
— John N. Clayton © 2022
Reference: The Week for February 25, 2022, page 22.