Dominion Over Animals…How Do We Interpret This?

I finally took some time this morning to read over the online debate another blogger participated in and shared with me. They were discussing all animals and what the bible says about them. The discussion started on the topic of elephants in circuses.

There is a lot of confusion out there about the bible and what God says about animals.

Genesis 1:26-Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

For one thing, it says “in our own likeness.” Does anyone believe God would abuse animals?

Some synonyms for the word “dominion” are: power, rule, superior. Who says “power”, “ruling”, or “superiority” is a bad thing, a ticket to harm? Why is that assumed? As loving and beautiful as God is, why wouldn’t it be assumed that it meant to care, provide, guide, teach, and protect?

Another thing people get confused about is all of the rituals and killings in the Old Testament. Remember, God did not do the killing, he allowed it. Big difference. Just as he allows things now. They do not make him happy, they make him weep. But this is free will.

Here are some of the comments that were made in the debate (they are italicized):

“God made animals under humans, as you can read in Genesis.”

My thought: An employee is under a boss, does this give them the right to abuse them or treat them however they want?”

“The animals are not rational and thus inferior to humans, we are free to use then the best way we see fit.”

My thoughts: You know what, I am not even going to go into the definition of rationale because honestly does it even matter!? Whether an animal has rationale or not does not give humans the “go ahead” to do whatever they please to them. They are still God’s creatures and they are still “feeling” beings! How can anyone think it’s rational that because an animal doesn’t have rationale, that means the animal won’t FEEL sad, scared, lonely, hungry, bored, pain, etc.?

Here are some things people use animals for (apparently “as they see fit”):

  • Chase them, take them away from their family, and beat them so they are so scared NOT to perform the tricks in a circus for the entertainment of humans.
  • Burn, poison, and break bones of a dog or a cat to experiment on them for a healing remedy.
  • Throw arrows at a bull running scared around a crowd of people until it collapses from exhaustion, fear, and wounds for the entertainment of humans.
  • Keep a calf in a pen so small he can’t even turn around so he won’t build any muscle mass, so humans can eat veal.

I could go on and on.

“The wise man is kind to his beasts, but he doesn’t let them stay useless in the wild.”
“They are useless in that when they are simply roaming the wild, they do not provide any benefit to us, the animals around it, or the environment.”

My thought: Who says they are useless? And even if so, does that means they have no “feelings?”

In this post, I am not talking about eating animals for food or killing an animal out of self-defense. That is another discussion. I am specifically talking about how we treat animals.

I could and never will believe that God, who created animals and created them with feelings, would expect us to or want us to or allow us to beat them, starve them, or dismiss their needs. Proverbs 12:10 says, as in my header, “The righteous care for the needs of his animals.”

Giving us dominion over them, can anyone ever really believe he ever had abuse, torture, and exploitation in mind?

Giving us creation to care for is a big responsibility. How do you feel we are doing?


Since the actual debate started off discussing elephants in circuses, I would like to point you to a past post of mine called “Elephants In Entertainment.”

I hope you will share this important post. Thank you!

12 thoughts on “Dominion Over Animals…How Do We Interpret This?

meow, woof, moo, neigh, however you want to say it, please say it

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