This is a subject that has long been on my heart. It has lain heavy, like a great heartache. Who knows the condition of our pet's souls? From those who believe that we all merely melt into the ground, with no hope of any afterlife, to those who believe we can kill a chicken and find wisdom, to those Christian theologians who profess to know the mind of God -- all profess to know the condition of an animal's soul.
I have often said that someone who abuses an animal is just as likely to abuse a human being. The study of human psychology, or abnormal human psychology, has proven it to be the case. However, this is not an intellectual treatise. This is from the heart of a woman who believes the words of Jesus when He gave His sermon about worry.
"Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" Matthew 6:26 KJV
"Therefore do not worry...." Matthew 6:31 KJV
Jesus has given us a perfect example of our worth, compared to the value that our Father in Heaven places upon these little creatures. The significant phrase is "more value than." We have more value in God's eyes, than the value of His precious creatures whom He feeds. God feeds these wonderful creatures, because they have value to Him. He loves them.
Jesus tells us in another part of Matthew, just how precious are these small creatures.
"Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will...Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29, 31
A copper coin was not worth very much in Bible times. Yet Jesus was not telling us to have contempt for the little birds. He was holding them up as an example of how precious we are to God. We have value to Him. He loves us.
Let's take a look at that Scripture with today's yardstick. In America, a copper coin would be a penny, which is worth very little. So, perhaps we could say we are worth many pennies. Doesn't make us seem worth very much does it? But that's not what Christ was saying. He was saying that our Father in Heaven has placed great value upon us, though I sometimes wonder why. He was saying to our stubborn, hardened hearts that God loves us, and His love is worth everything.
It's not about us. It's about God. He holds the yardstick, not us. We are not to place value upon ourselves. He is the one who places the value. We are to be as humble as the smallest sparrow who comes to my back deck to feed.
My point is that animals are precious, especially our pets. They are not only precious to us, but they are precious to God, and I don't see why that is not crystal clear. I have heard more than one preacher extol on the worthlessness of animals, citing one of the most misunderstood passages in Scripture.
"Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth?" Ecclesiastes 3:21
That is the single line in Scripture that a Christian preacher will seize upon to teach a doctrine that the Bible doesn't even speak about: the false doctrine of animals without souls. It infuriates me. It makes me angry because that is NOT what that Scripture says. Look at the end of that sentence. There is no period. There is no exclamation point. There is a question mark. And the first two words hold the key. "Who knows...?"
Who knows? You? Me? Them? No. That is why we must not take Scripture out of context. Read the entire passage. Shoot! Read at least a paragraph. How did a question turn into a statement? I don't know, and it makes me heartsick. I am no theologian. I make no claim to be. However, where the Word of God is concerned, I tread lightly. We must not pretend to know it all. We know little, especially when we try to understand the heart and mind of God.
On a very human level, however, I am certain that we have been given these close relationships with God's creatures, who were created before us, so that we might learn from them. They teach us a lot about ourselves. And according to the Son of God, they teach us a lot about God.
Who knows? Only God knows. We can only hope to try.