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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Living Creatures

Others have been talking about how the reading of the scriptures does not end in understanding but rather transformation - the word at work in your life.

As I wrote about Genesis - and John continues here - I realized that I was seeing much that I wasn't aware of before. I was able to see that in Hebrew, in Gen. 2:19, the "living creatures" - that is, the animals, is the same expression as the "living soul," Adam, in Gen. 2:7. נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה. We, who are Adam, are fellow creatures with all of God's creatures.

If I write about a fellow feeling for animals, at least, I am in good company with C. S. Lewis. Dogs are creatures of great emotion and individuality. Daisy, my visitor, loves treats, and sits and begs with her eyes like no dog I have ever had before. But she snaps them from my hands with such power that she almost rips my fingers off - my precious fingers. So I have to drop the treat on the floor for her. I am a little intimidated by her strength.

However, Daisy gets lonely, she longs to be rubbed and petted and just simply be close. She is getting older and life's pleasures are a slow stroll in the woods and a snooze in the company of her loved ones. I am so used to my own dog, all velvet nose and droopy jowls, at 110 pounds he nibbles tenderly on a treat sniffing it and daintily easing it from my hand as if he were a surgeon extracting a fleck of glass from your eye.

Don't forget that creation is not about who is on top. It is about an appreciation for all God made, and how he made it, every creature with its own personality. Its pretty amazing actually.

For a friend, whose dog passed away today, a better Bible would let us know that we are fellow creatures with all God's creatures and the death of an animal is an occasion for grief.


At Wed Aug 22, 05:42:00 AM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

Good reminders about how we're co-creatures with animals, who have soul. Your mention of C.S. Lewis reminds me that he comments on difference of communication between animals and humans, when (in his essay "Transpositions") he writes: "You will have noticed that most dogs cannot understand pointing. You point to a bit of food on the floor: the dog, instead of looking at the floor, sniffs at your finger. A finger is a finger to him, and that is all. His world is all fact and no meaning." I've thought about that a long time. I think a salient word of Lewis is "most." Lewis imagined, in his stories, animals and humans talking. George A. Kennedy (in his book Comparative Rhetoric) says animals have rhetoric. And Monty Roberts has astutely developed techniques for communicating with horses (and deer). I guess my point is, yes: God's made us with animals with things in common.


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