Friday, June 03, 2016

A moment in the sun

I'd like to consider the shooting of the gorilla (Harambe) from both a secular standpoint and a Christian standpoint.

1. I suspect most folks who wax indigent over shooting the gorilla to save the boy are Darwinian atheists. There may be some "progressive Christians" thrown in for good measure. 

From a secular standpoint, the reaction to shooting the gorilla is irrational. Animals are temporary organisms. Harambe was not immortal. He was going to die anyway. Just a matter of time. 

Animals naturally die. In the wild, many animals die a violent death: killed by predators. Many animals die young due to relentless predation. 

Although Harambe was a magnificent specimen, individual animals are utterly replaceable. One male, silverback gorilla serves the same function as another male, silverback gorilla. The players change, but the play remains the same. 

From an ecosystemic perspective, animals aren't more important than plants. There's a symbiosis between plants and animals, life and death, that sustains a balanced ecosystem. Animal death is necessary. 

Nature is utterly indifferent to the plight of animals. According to Darwinians, most species become extinct. 

Some atheists profess an Epicurean outlook on human death. As Mark Twain boastfully put it: “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

In consistency, they should view animal death the same way.

2. From a Christian perspective, animals are temporary creatures. There is no afterlife for animals. 

Perhaps God will resurrect Christian pets. I'm open to that possibility. But there's no reason to think God will resurrect animals generally. Indeed, there's not nearly enough room on planet earth to accommodate all the animals that ever lived and died. 

With the possible exception of Christian pets, when an animal dies, that's it. It's gone. It won't come back. End of story. Life goes on, but not for it. 

The animal kingdom is stark and sobering. Immortality is a rare gift. Among all God's creatures, only humans are promised biological immortality. Angels are the only other exception, and strictly speaking, they aren't alive (in the biological sense).

A few months ago I saw some coyotes frolicking in a meadow. Having their moment in the sun. That will pass. They will pass. In a few years, they will die–never to return.

A few days ago I sat down on a park bench. I noticed a little rabbit right beside me. Practically a baby. Unafraid of humans. It was busily feeding on the moist green grass.

Odds are, it won't survive until adulthood, and even if it does, it, too, will die. Mostly likely be killed by predators. 

The gift of immortality is one thing that sets us apart from animals. Sure, we die, but that's punitive. Although humans are mortal, we die once but live twice. We have immortal souls. And we will be resurrected. For some, that's a gift–for others, that's a curse.

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