Bible say? The Bibles says that Animals as well as man have the breathe (spirit) of life!
Genesis 1:30 says the following: “To all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.”
“The Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being,” Genesis 2:7.
“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life,” Job 33:4.
From these texts it would seem that both man and animals have the breath or spirit of life.
But how about things which we consider inanimate: Rocks, land formations, rivers, lakes, wind and rain? Do they have a spirit?
In the Old Testament book of Job it says God “speaks to the sun and it does not shine. He fills his hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark. He loads the clouds with moisture; he scatters his lightning through them. At his direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever he commands them.” (Job 9:9; 36:32; 37:11-12).
In the gospel of Luke when a great storm on the Sea of Galilee put in jeopardy the lives of the disciples Jesus rebuked the elements and the storm subsided. Afterwards “in fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him,” Luke 8:24-25.
The vocabulary of command and obedience in these scriptures implies a relationship. If something is able to respond to a command we usually consider it alive with a will enabling it to respond. God had a relationship with creation in the examples quoted. Jesus went so far as to say: “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey you,” Luke 17:6. Jesus also said that with faith we could say to a mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move,” Matthew 17:21. Obviously, it takes faith to communicate with creation and get a response!
The third thing Animist say is that man is equal to, though different than other creatures or peoples. Most animist consider animals as people, equal to humans but different! What does the Bible say? There’s an interesting vision in the bible of four living creatures also known Seraphs or Cherubim. In Revelation 4:6-8 they are described as being closest to God in eternity. “In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures. The first … was like a lion, the second … was like an ox, the third … was like a man and the fourth … was like a flying eagle,” v. 7.
In this vision the animal kingdoms are not second-class citizens but co-equals with man: As close to God as man is! In eternity, the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the goat, the calf and the lion, the cow and the bear and the infant and the cobra will live together in peace and harmony, Isaiah 11:6-8. Why? In eternity the earth and all its creatures, “will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea,” Isaiah 11:9. When all God’s creation knows God, peace and harmony will reign!
DOES CREATION HAVE KNOWLEDGE TO IMPART TO MAN?
Animists believe that creation has knowledge in impart to man. Its influence or medicine may be appropriated through sacred ritual, storytelling, dance, music, song, and feasting. Those who are wise have become so by listening to nature and learning its secrets.
What does the bible say? Does nature have anything to teach us?
As followers of Christ, we believe God, Jesus and the Bible are our main sources of knowledge. The Bible is our main textbook for learning what to believe and how to live our lives. Many however act as if it were the only source of knowledge. They go so far as to spend their entire lives reading the Bible and going to church services, in essence they cut themselves off from everything that they consider non-Christian. Their friends are exclusively other Christians, the books they read are only written by Christians, the music they listen to is only Christian, the events they attend are only Christian, if they vote, they vote for the party that professes to be Christian, etc. Are these Christians right, or are they cutting themselves off from the voice of truth radiating throughout creation?
What does the bible say? Does nature have anything to teach us?
Romans 1:20 says “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” The Universe and its creatures are animated with the Spirit of the living God therefore creation is alive! The good image of God is stamped upon man as well as everything he created. Both eternity and divinity, which transcend creation, are the foundation of every created presence. Indeed without God they would cease to exist! The image of God in man means that he is able to relate to and interact with God as well as other creatures. That same image to a certain degree is also stamped upon creation.
Let’s get specific:
The Bible says that animals, birds, fish and the earth can teach man. Job 12:7-9 says “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?“ (afflicted Job with suffering). Why? Because “in his [God’s] hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind,” v. 10. Even the animals and the earth know this!
In Numbers 22:21-41 is the story of a donkey that saw an angel who had come to kill Balaam. Three times the donkey turned away and was beat by Balaam. Finally the donkey asked his master “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” The conversation goes back and forth. The donkey in this story obviously could see the spiritual realm easier than his master could, and had the ability to communicate with and teach Balaam!
We noted earlier how Eve and the serpent were able to carry on a conversation with one another, Genesis 3:1-5. There are only a few references to animals speaking in the Bible. What we make of them will influence how we view the world around us and whether or not we start to respect the animists which still live among us!
The Bible also speaks about trees that heal, impart life and knowledge. Genesis 2:9 says, “In the middle of the garden [of Eden] were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Revelation 22:2 says “down the middle of the great [heavenly] city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” Tribal people have known that trees and plants heal for millions of years! Some had sacred groves. Today there is an effort to collect seeds of the plants in the Amazon Rain forest before they are all destroyed and lost forever. Scientists believe that some of these plants may hold the secret to curing many of mankind’s diseases!
The Bible also says that the heavens speak and display knowledge to those able to hear their voices. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard,” Psalm 19:1-4.
Both animism and the Bible teach that the Universe and its creatures have something to communicate to man. However unless man is tuned in and listening he’ll miss what’s being said!
IS CREATION IN SOME WAY MAN’S HELPER?
Animists believe that the earth, as well as the creatures that live upon it, are man’s helpers. Animal spirit guides give special powers to those who serve the community.
In the Western rationalistic tradition we rely on technology and science to help us evolve as people. The center of this tradition is man: This is called Humanism. This is a man-centered view of life; it is not God oriented, nature oriented or spirit oriented.
What does the bible say? Are there spirit guides that assist us on our journey through life or is man alone in the universe dependent solely upon himself? The Bible implies that those who live correctly have a covenant with the earth which brings them peace, security and abundance. Job 5:22-23 says “You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the beasts of the earth. For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the wild animals will be at peace with you.”
What is this covenant?
In Deuteronomy the covenant of promises and obligations is being renewed with the second generation of Israelites before they enter the Promised Land. As part of the renewal ceremony there is pronounced blessings and curses, which will come upon the people according to their obedience or disobedience to the Lord. For the curse of disobedience it says “the sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. The Lord will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed” Deut. 28:23-24. For disobedience, famine and death will come. For obedience rain and fruitfulness will come in season: “the Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands,” v. 12. Therefore the “covenant with the stones of the field” is referring to the harmony and blessings that flow to those who are correctly connected to God who is the center and foundation upon which all creation is connected. To be connected to God is to live in harmony with nature and receive its blessings. If this is true then it is questionable whether a person who is exploiting nature is truly connected to God. How can anyone who disrespects Mother Earth, be connected to Our Father who art in heaven?” Think about it!
Are there spirit guides that help man or is man all on his own?
We have already seen that the animals, birds, fish and the earth itself teach us if we listen to and observe them, Job 12:7-10. The trees have knowledge to impart and the heavens declare information about the Creator. But are there spirit guides assigned to us as a social worker might be assigned to us? Do we all have an angel like George Bailey did in the classic it’s a wonderful life?
What does the Bible say? The good book says that Guardian Angels are assigned to children as well as to all who walk God’s good road. Jesus said, “see that you do not look down on one of these little ones [children]. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven,” Matt. 18:10-11. Hebrews 1:14 asks “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Can these angels (spirit helpers) be animals? In the case of Balaam’s donkey the answer is yes! He certainly functioned as protector and helper to Balaam when he saved him three times from death!
Indigenous cultures worldwide have a strong connection to the earth and its creatures. Both the earth and its creatures are viewed as allies and spirit helpers to man in his journey through life. For the ancient Hebrew, man and earth had a covenant with one another. The keeping of the covenant was based upon their relationship to God the Creator. A good
“Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you,” Job 12:7-8.