The animals are a constant witness to us that we have fallen short of God’s glory. We were commissioned to rule over the animals, and yet much of the animal kingdom is out of our control. Animals devour one another, they fight for survival. They are a constant reminder that through Adam death entered into the world. We have fallen short and creation groans under our sin. Moreover, the animals as well as the insects (created on the sixth day) are a threat to us. God uses them to execute judgment. Aaron’s Rod becomes a serpent. God sends the Egyptians frogs, gnats, flies and locusts. In the middle of God’s judgments on Egypt he even sends a plague on the cattle. The message is clear: the Egyptians are not in control of the animals and insects, neither are their gods. Moses is ruling creation through Yahweh. He is fulfilling his God given commission.
On the other hand, the Scripture gives us hope. When we come into the fullness of our salvation, creation will be liberated. Our rule will be a blessing rather than a curse and the “lion will lie down with the lamb” (Isa. 11:6ff). The animals suffer because of us and for us. But ultimately they will be redeemed.
While Jesus was on earth he foreshadowed the coming communion of salvation that humans would share with animals. Mark 1:13 states: “And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him” (Mark 1:13, NKJV). Why didn’t the wild beasts devour him? Wouldn’t they be hungry in the wilderness? But here we see Jesus at harmony with the wild beasts because he created them. He is their Lord and he is not afraid of their presence. One day all of creation––even the fish, birds, animals and insects––will praise him:
“And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!'” (Revelation 5:13, NKJV).
Prayer: Father, may my heart be set fully on the hope that is to be revealed through the coming of Jesus Christ. And as we journey on this earth may the animals be a constant reminder that this world is incomplete until you bring her salvation.