Animal Rights

Remember how devastated you felt as a kid when your pet goldfish died, or your hamster, or your bunny rabbit? Those tender feelings were a reflection of the heart of God. One of the beautiful characteristics of God is His sensitivity toward animals.

In the story of creation, we cannot help but notice that when God told Adam and Eve what they would be eating, animals were not on the menu (Gen. 1:29). God’s original plan involved a strictly vegetarian diet. Once sin entered the world, God did allow for humans to eat certain animals. But even then, we get a clear picture that God wants animals to be treated kindly.

The Law of Moses declared that a working animal must be allowed to freely eat during its labors and be allowed to rest on the Sabbath day too (Deut. 25:4; Exod. 20:8-11). The Bible teaches that caring for animals is “righteous,” and mistreating them is “cruel” (Prov. 12:10).

Hunting and killing animals for sport, for the “thrill” of taking life, is nowhere condoned in the Bible, and while it is not explicitly forbidden, we can easily deduce that doing so is another example of our fallen world. God fundamentally “hates” all the “violence” (Ps. 11:5). “In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death” (Prov. 12:28). God is ultimately against all killing and death. When we see God in Scripture allowing for any killing, we must understand this to be God making a necessary allowance due to the condition of our unrighteous world. When the world is finally back to the way God wants it to be, “there shall be no more death” (Rev. 21:4).