Thursday, June 15, 2006

The animals in the New Testament

In N.T Jesus doesn’t give clear teaching regarding the animal world.

But N.T speaks of God’s care for animals, birds like sparrows (Mt 10: 29; Lk 12:6) and plants such as lilies (Mt 7:28-30). Some ask a question whether Jesus was indifferent to animals and plants. Jesus in cursing the free which don’t give fruit and allowing two thousand swines to hurl into the sea. To this argument St. Augustine says, Jesus was not punishing or blaming the swine and tree; Jesus only communicates that we can do with them, as we like.

There are also passages, which shows Jesus’ relation with animals. In Mk 1: 13 we see beasts giving company to Jesus during his preparation for his mission. This happy association pf Jesus with wild beasts shows the restoration of paradise proclaimed by prophets (Is 11: 6-8; 65: 25; Hos 2: 18). Jesus’ harmony with the animal world is also part of the kingdom mission. In John 10:7-9 it narrates that “I am the door of the sheep… if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in an out and find pasture”. “I am the good shepherded” ( Jn 10:14) the view of the Christian as good shepherded should be extended to embrace the entire creation. Again in the scene of cleansing the Temple, we see Jesus is Presented as reacting so violently against the trade in the Temple ( Jn 2: 13-17). Jesus drove them all out of the Temple, cattle and sheep as well… and said to the pigeon-sellers: Take all this out of here and stop turning my Father’s house into a market. Even in this violent action we do not see Jesus taking up an action of destruction on the nature, or animals, or on man. Man exploits nature and the house of God for his selfish gains. Jesus says don’t make my Fathers house a market place, here the Father’s house is, this whole of universe.

We also see Jesus attitude to animals appear to be positive in Mt 12: 11; Lk 14: 5, where Jesus refers caring for animals even on the day of Sabbath. St. Paul also refers the legitimate freedom that animals enjoy (I Cor 9: 9-10). All these explanation regarding the animals in the New Testament are not explicitly seen in the Gospels. Therefore we have to reach the conclusion that, the New Testament neither cherishes any cruel attitude towards animals nor does it take into account animal’s right.



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