IS HUMAN PREDATION ON OTHER SPECIES AN ACCOMMODATION OF THE FALL OF CREATION OR PART OF GOD’S INTENDED PLAN FOR CREATION?
The scriptural witness has indications that it is acceptable to kill animals for food but also indicates that originally human beings were vegetarians and will be yet again when this world is claimed as part of God’s kingdom. This thesis offers a theological analysis of the practice of humans eating animals. Is it an accommodation of humanity’s fallenness after their expulsion from the Garden? Or is it part of God’s design for the world? An in-depth look at the whole of scripture is employed for arguing both sides. Additionally, the thesis offers comparative analysis of a variety of theological approaches to animal rights and animal welfare. The thesis considers scientific revelations about animal’s cognitive abilities for language and problem solving, as well as recent studies on animal grief in order to re-assess the underlying question of ethical relationship between animals and humans. The thesis argues that God has put humanity in a set of circumstances which are meant to encourage understanding of animals as part of its own growth. Specifically, human growth toward the role of being a stewards of creation, that is to say nurturers and not exploiters of God’s creatures. Fallenness is not the issue. But growth is. Thus the provision that allows humanity to kill and eat animals is afforded, while humans still require the ability to kill animals for their own sustenance. What awaits is a time when humanity and animals are in peaceful community with each other, with no death or violence in the world and a full realization of the image of God in humanity.
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