What were animals like in the beginning? Animals have emotions, they learn from experience, and they can sense spirits, which affects their behaviour. In the natural order, there are very few that make vocalizations in imitation of human speech, but some animals are clever enough to link various words or sounds with objects and behaviours.
At the beginning of Time, the animals undoubtedly understood what Adam and Eve required of them when they spoke. Even in this modern age, it happens. I had a cat who immediately obeyed me when I spoke to her in only a casual manner and told her to come out of wherever she was romping about, though she did so with mewls of protest. Adam and Eve, being of such a keen intellect, probably understood the sounds that animals make and imitated them as another means of communicating with the animals.
Besides being able to understand Adam and Eve's speech when directed at them, the animals were probably adept at communicating with other animals after a time of listening to their sounds, observing their body language, and smelling their odours. Their communications likely consisted of grunts or bleats or whistles that asked simple things such as, "Will you stand aside so that I can pass?" or, "Will you share that food with me?" or, "Do you want to play?"
Though the first animals could communicate on a much higher level than what they are able to now, they did not have the ability of Man to grasp subtle concepts, to formulate theories, nor had they any creative ability in their vocalizations. Reserved for Man is the ability to believe what cannot be seen and to creatively speak forth inspired (either by God or the devil) ideas that can take on substance in the material realm.
Numbers 22:28 tells of Balaam's donkey who spoke and expressed her distress over unfair treatment, but she was not physically capable of speech or mentally capable of putting her feelings into words. Similar to how satan projected his voice through a serpent to get to Eve, an angel of God spoke through the donkey to clarify the reason for the donkey's emotions that she had been expressing through her actions. Her mouth was opened in the sense that when a person is unable to speak for themself, perhaps because they are mute or mentally challenged, someone else speaks for them as an advocate to tell what is on their heart. The case of Balaam's donkey was not a matter of an animal's original abilities being restored, even temporarily.
It is important to understand that animals are a lower order of spirit beings than humans and have been given physical bodies, but they are not souls, as people are. There is no valid basis for a person to go off on a tangent, alleging that it is murder to kill animals for food, and unjustly placing the needs of animals above the needs of humans.
Though it is all right to kill animals for legitimate needs, animals should be treated as humanely as possible. Livestock should be well cared for, with plenty of space to run about. Calves should not be confined to a stall to make its meat tender. I've eaten veal, even when I knew that this was how it was obtained, but we're all in a process of maturing, and if we never think about these things and let them go to work on our conscience, we won't make the changes that we ought to make.
It is cruel to confine an animal to a stall even for the purpose of obtaining medicine. Rather than subject a horse to excessive suffering by keeping it perpetually pregnant and confined to a stall so that its urine can be harvested, alternative means of correcting a woman's hormone imbalance should be sought. Hormone medication is over prescribed and there really is not as much need for it as there appears to be, except to feed the greed of those who make money off of selling it. If there is no other way of obtaining this substance, its manufacture should be kept to a bare minimum and prescribed only when it really is needed.
In a perfect world, there would be no disease, but we have to deal with disease, and experimenting on animals for cures is more humane than experimenting on people, who have a much more complex psyche and suffer more acutely. If animals must be used for experiments, though, they should be used only in experiments that are absolutely necessary, and not to fulfill sadistic curiosity or to satisfy greed, such as engineering chickens to have no feathers so that they can be processed faster for food, or to develop four legs because drumsticks are a popular cut of meat. Genetic mutations of this sort cause great suffering to the subjects. Test animals should be honoured by extra care to alleviate their suffering as much as possible.
In a perfect world, animals would not be eaten, but the Earth no longer has enough vegetation adequate to feed all animals and humans, and animal populations have to be thinned. Our bodies have become accustomed to needing animal protein. When animals are slaughtered, it should be done as quickly and painlessly as possible. The Bible says in Proverbs 12:10, "A righteous man regards the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."
Also, Deuteronomy 14:21 says, " … you shall not seethe a kid in his mother's milk." This commandment was given, not at all as a prohibition against eating dairy products with meat, but in regards to considering the emotional needs of animals. It is hard for a mother goat to lose her baby. She misses it, but her master had need for the meat. It would be cruel, however, to boil that goat in its own mother's milk. Rather, one should trade milk with a neighbour for that purpose.
The mother goat would be unaware that her kid was cooked in her milk, but everything that is done in the physical realm has repercussions in the spiritual realm, which feeds back into the physical realm. The verse is aimed at training people to develop sensitivity towards animals' emotional needs rather than supposing that one can do with animals entirely as one pleases, without having to answer to the Creator.
This verse is also aimed at people developing more sensitivity towards people. If we should be considerate of animals, then how much more should we be sensitive towards human beings? For instance, suppose one has written a treatise against a doctrine that is taught in their church, showing it to be in error. To make some copies using the church's photocopier, knowing that the pastor would be unhappy to have the church's equipment used to reproduce that literature, is like boiling a kid in its mother's milk. Get it photocopied somewhere else.
I worked in a place where a lot of the employees felt they were overworked and underpaid. If they felt that way, they could have gotten jobs someplace else. When the bosses were not around, various employees gathered to eat doughnuts, gripe about their pay, and make derogatory comments about the employers. If people are going to complain about their job, they should do it on their own time, not on the boss's dime.
One of those employees, though she was very good at her job in other respects, used the photocopier to make several copies of a cartoon that put down the workplace, with the idea that all the departments could stick them up in the area where they worked. This is another example of boiling a kid in its mother's milk. All the laws that God gave to Moses are signposts that point to higher truth.
Though animals are to be treated respectfully, they should not be placed on the same level as humans or placed above humans. When they die, they don't have as much to lose as humans do.
Ecclesiastes 3:21 tells us that animals have a spirit. It says that their spirit goes downward upon their decease, just as the spirit of a person flies upward when they die.
The fact that an animal's spirit goes downward does not mean that it ceases to exist or that it goes to Hell, any more than the fact that a man's spirit flies upward indicates that all human beings go to Heaven. It indicates that the spirit of an animal takes a different route to its eternal abode than a person's spirit, and it indicates that Man is a higher species of creature with greater responsibility. A person's spirit flies upward because they have to give an account of themselves before the Judge of the whole Earth.
The Earth has yet to yield up all its dead, either to the resurrection of life or to be assigned to destruction, but this does not have any bearing on where the soul goes after death. Once the body dies, the soul enters a different dimension where there is no time. If a person has received Yehoshua as their Redeemer, they get to go to Heaven right away. If the Blood of Yehoshua has not been applied to a soul, Hell is the only place that it can go.
Do animals go to Heaven? Of course. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that saints in Heaven are blessed beyond imagination. If their blessings go beyond imagination, then they also encompass what they can imagine. Saints get to be reunited with their beloved pets. It does not strain the imagination at all to place that on a wish list.
A better understanding of God's character helped me to see that there is a good basis for believing that animals go to Heaven. Animals were never meant to suffer emotional or physical pain or die, but Man's sin brought it upon them. God is just; it would not be in keeping with His character to not compensate them in an afterlife for what they suffered.
Man's rebellion against God wrought rebellion in the animals towards Man. People began to have to kill animals in self–defense because various animals became fierce. Some may not have been fierce, but simply oblivious to orders to stay clear of buildings and crops, and therefore killed to prevent destruction of property. A few animals developed a taste for meat and ate other animals. It is sad to think of how animals became fearful of other animals because of the threat of pain and death that they presented.
Is God really okay with us eating meat? Of course He is. Not only did He give Noah and his offspring permission to eat meat after the Flood because the Earth's vegetation was reduced so radically, and not only does the New Testament say that it is all right to eat any kind of meat if we receive it with thanksgiving to God, but Yehoshua Himself ate meat, and He even prepared fish for His disciples' breakfast after His resurrection. I figure that if God Himself demonstrates that it is okay to eat meat, then we don't need to debate the issue.
Yehoshua didn't need a fishing pole and a hook, or a net, to catch the fish that He served to His disciples. He just called to the fish, they swam to shore, and tossed themselves on the beach. They gladly obeyed the Creator, and passed on to better place where there was no more pain, hunger, weariness, sadness, animosity, or fear; just endless peace and joy and pleasures.
The real issue, though, isn't whether or not animals go to Heaven, but rather whether or not we have done what we need to do in order to go there. If we haven't sincerely repented of our sins and received Yehoshua as our Saviour, we aren't going to get to be reunited with our pets, or with any of our offspring who died in childhood before the age of accountability, or with any other deceased humans whom we loved who put their faith in Yehoshua as their Saviour.
We need to maintain a sensible perspective and always place the welfare of people above the welfare of animals. If people become bitter because animals are given a higher priority than them, their bitterness can lead to rebellion against God for permitting them to be devalued and treated worse than animals. If rebellion against God is not repented of, it leads to eternal damnation, so we should always be careful to keep our regard for animals and our regard for humans in proper balance. The suffering of animals ends as soon as they die.
Animals are not capable of sinning in a way that surpasses a little child's ability to sin. All little children go to Heaven. God does not hold them accountable until they have reached a degree of intellectual maturity that enables them to comprehend the eternal consequences of their actions. Though a serpent was cursed for lending itself to satan to deceive Eve, its punishment was confined to its existence on Earth.
When it was judged, the serpent lost its superiority over other creatures and became an animal that is despised and abhorred, its valuable protein injections from its fangs becoming poison as people and animals increasingly developed an allergy to it. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 11:8 that when Yehoshua returns to Earth to rule it, snakes will be rendered harmless to everyone once again.
Adam and Eve probably could communicate with animals telepathically, projecting pictures into their minds about which trees and hedges to nibble on so that the Garden didn't get overgrown. It is likely that they communicated telepathically with the animals more often than verbally.
As the old saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Communication through thoughts is clearer than communication through words. There is a verse in the Bible that I could not comprehend at all until the Lord projected a picture in my mind when I was in prayer, and then I finally understood what the verse meant.
The animals likely communicated with each other telepathically, as well. Their ability to make sounds was probably exercised more often for the sheer joy of making noise, rather than out of necessity.
Telepathic communication is not the sole prerogative of the demonic realm. The devil and his angels are created beings. They do not have any original thoughts or abilities. All they have has been borrowed from God and twisted, sometimes beyond all recognition of the original gift or virtue, to serve their selfish purposes.
This natural type of telepathy among Adam and Eve and animals was broken, though, in the Fall. It came through everything in Creation being connected to God and in full communication with Him and each other. When the connection was broken, a strange silence fell, and it is a mercy that it did. It would be hideous if everyone in the world could tell what everyone else was thinking when they had contact with them.
First of all, our greatly reduced intelligence is not able to process all that information, and it would be icky to read other people's every thought, considering how depraved humans are. We know how to behave properly and what not to say so that we can get along with each other, but it would cause a lot of fights if people could hear us thinking, "What is she thinking of wearing that colour? Boy, look at the size of her backside! She should stop eating those fries." We have these ugly thoughts about each other, if we don't monitor them and repent and get our heart cleansed of a critical and judgemental spirit.
It would have created a lot of contention between Adam and Eve if they could have communicated telepathically with each other after sin came into their hearts, and it would also have grieved the animals if telepathic communication was automatic, as it had been before. Without submission to the Holy Spirit to let Him be the connection and keep it under His control so that it stays wholesome, telepathic communication is like a loaded gun in the hands of a child or a criminal. It best, it could unwittingly injure someone, and at worst, it could be used for evil purposes.
The serpent probably had the keenest telepathic abilities of all the animals, thus making him a handy messenger for his masters. The Bible says that the serpent was the cleverest of all animals. The serpent was therefore the most vulnerable of all the animals to pride. It liked seeing the other animals comply after he delivered the messages. It wanted to imitate its powerful masters, though it probably would have been puzzled about what to tell the other animals to do.
Even now, animals are capable of having the ambition to emulate higher orders of creatures. Because cats have a strong desire to control, of their own volition and without any training, they will turn doorknobs and press light switches, not only for their convenience, but also for the thrill of doing things that humans can do.
Intelligent animals get frustrated at not being able to do what humans are capable of. I had a cat who got annoyed on warm days when I forgot to turn the fan on for him before I left for work. As soon as I'd get home, he'd run over to the socket where I usually plugged the fan in and stare at it with his neck outstretched, letting me know what he wanted. Poor guy. Or he'd bite my leg to let me know his dish was empty.
We laugh when we see animals acting out human qualities, such as how a cat will act huffy when it is embarrassed. Adam and Eve probably found the serpent and its mate vastly amusing for their cleverness, as well as their yearning to be like them.
The serpent and its mate probably looked ridiculous to them, darting about on ludicrously short legs for their long, slender bodies, poking their faces curiously into their business. Scientists have discovered that some snakes still have the remnant of legs within their body.
For further information on animal mutations, I recommend Roger Oakland's website Understand the Times to listen to his video series on Creation vs. Evolution, where he eventually gets to that topic.1
There is a lesson to be learned from how Lucifer used the serpent to capture Eve's attention so that he could communicate through it. Animals need to be kept in their place.
1The whole series is fascinating and well worth listening to. Roger Oakland is a biologist and used to teach Biology in university when he believed in evolution, but he became convinced by the evidence of the complexity of cells that everything came into being through a Designer, rather than by random chance.
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The Majesty of God, Chapter 8
Copyright © 2010, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on March 29, 2010
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.