The Statement isn’t a doctrinal end and it doesn’t prescribe specific action. Instead, it’s a framework for conversation about the redemptive work of God’s grace. We believe He is making all things new, including our relationship to His creation. Sign the Statement to be a part of the legacy of C.S. Lewis, John Wesley, and William Wilberforce.
Every Living Thing: An Evangelical Statement on Responsible Care for Animals
Jesus Christ is Lord, and “By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him.” (Col. 1:16) As such we hold that our view of all living creatures, as our view of everything, must be thoroughly shaped, informed and tested against Scripture.
The following then aspires to be a holistic Biblical approach to an understanding of how we treat an especially vulnerable subset of all God’s creatures: animals. While we recognize that all living creatures deserve respect as part of God’s creation, we want to help focus attention on animals, as these creatures can be most subject to irresponsible and cruel treatment by humans.
We believe that God created the heavens and the earth; that He created a multitude of living creatures, each after their own kind, including animals; that He gave them the breath of life; and that He declared all of this “good.”
[Gn. 1:1, 20-25, 30; 6:17; 7:15, 22; Ps. 104:29-30]
We believe God uniquely created humankind in His own image and likeness, in contrast to creatures, including animals, who are created after their own kind; that He appointed humankind to rule over all living creatures, including animals; that God blessed Adam and Eve and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply and to fill the earth; that God instructed them to subdue the earth; that He gave them every seed bearing plant for food; and that God declared all that He had made, “very good.”
[Gn. 1:26-31; Ps. 8:4-8; 1 Cor. 15:39; Jam. 3:9]
We believe that when sin entered the world through human rebellion it corrupted all relationships, firstly between humanity and God, but also relationships between people and between humankind and animals.
[Gn. 3:14, 4:8, 6:12-13, 49:6; Ex. 23:4-5; Prv. 12:10; Hos. 4:1-3; Hb. 2:17; Rom. 5:12, 8:20-21]
We believe that after the flood God caused all animals to fear humankind and gave them into our hand and for food; that God included animals in the covenant He made after the flood and commands us to show the same respect and concern for the life and welfare of animals that He does.
[Gn. 3:21, 6:19, 8:1, 8:9, 9:1-17; Ex. 23:4-5, 12, 19, 34:26; Dt. 25:4; Jon. 4:11; Acts 10:13-15]
We believe that all animals ultimately belong to God, are sustained by Him, and exist to bring Him praise and reveal His character.
[Dt. 10:14; Jb. 12:7-10, 41:11; Ps. 24:1, 36:6, 104:11-14, 21, 24-25, 27-30, 145:16, 21, 148:7, 10, 150:6; Mt. 6:26; Lk. 12:24; Rom. 1:20]
We believe all creation, including animals, will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God; that God will bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, Jesus the Christ; and through the Lord Jesus Christ will bring about a new heaven and a new earth that will reflect right relationships in all of creation, including between humans and animals.
[Is. 11:6-9, 65:17, 25; Hos. 2:18; Rom. 8:22; Eph 1:9-10; Col. 1:15-23; Rev. 5:13, 21:1-5]
We understand from Scripture that humans are uniquely created in the image and likeness of God and so have greater worth than every animal; but that God has given all animals the breath of life, that He sustains them, that they belong ultimately to Him, and that He has declared them “good,” indicating they have value to Him independent of human use.
[Gn. 1:26-28; Ps. 8:5-8, 104:11-14; Jon. 4:11; Mt 6:26, 10:31; Lk 12:7, 24]
We understand from Scripture that God has given us all animals into our hand and for food as part of our responsible rule; but as we live in a fallen world and are prone to sin, we also have the capacity and inclination to cause suffering instead of care for animals and to act cruelly towards them.
[Gn. 9:1-17; Ex. 26:14; Lv. 17:13; Prov. 12:10; Hos. 4:3; Hb. 2:17; Act. 10:13-15]
We understand from Scripture the responsible rule over and care of animals that God has given us on His behalf, and that this rule is to reflect His rule and character. This responsible rule and compassionate care of animals is expressed in God’s instruction to His people in His word, regarding the right treatment of animals, and that the principles behind these instructions, rooted in the unchanging character of God, still apply today.
[Ex. 23:4-5, 19, 34:26; Lv. 22:26-28, Lv. 25:7;Dt. 22:1-4, 6-7; 25:4]
We resolve to rule and treat all animals as living valued creatures, deserving of compassion, because they ultimately belong to God, because He has created them, declared them good, given them the breath of life, covenanted with them, and entrusted them to our responsible rule. So while animals have been given into our hand and for food this does not mean we can treat them as objects or act cruelly towards them.
We resolve to examine all our practices relating to how we treat the domesticated animals that live among us and provide us with companionship, food, and service as well how we treat animals that live in the wild apart from us; and hold them all up to Biblical principles for compassionate care and responsible rule, in light of God’s view of them and His actions toward them.
We resolve to exercise our responsible rule in part by confronting any and all cruelty against animals, seeing it as a violation of our rule and an affront to the ultimate Ruler who created, values, and sustains these animals.
We resolve that because all kinds of animals are created by God and are sustained by Him, we need to work for the protection and preservation of all the kinds of animals God has created, while prioritizing human needs.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
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