Animals In the Bible
Do you own a pet, or are you responsible for the care of other animals? Have you ever looked into the eyes of one of God’s creatures and chosen a name for it? If so, you may find this interesting.
The beginning of our journey to understand God better through His creatures in the Bible starts in the Garden of Eden, back when God created the first man Adam:
“Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2:19-20a)
In the ancient world, a name was more than a label. A name was given in order to communicate a character trait or some other important distinctive. We see this, for example, further along in the Bible when God chose Abram and changed his name to Abraham — to indicate that this man would one day become what that word means, namely, a “father of nations”. Then, God changed his wife’s name from Sarai to Sarah, which means “royal princess”, in keeping with that promise (see Genesis 17:5,15). And so it is that God’s gesture of bringing the animals He had made to Adam, for him to name, means that God would have had to show something about that animal to Adam in order for him to name it — which actually communicates a very beautiful lesson.
Picture the wide eyed innocence of that first human being as he is presented (choosing one example) with a newly created, perfectly magnificent, stallion — flexing its powerful leg muscles and tossing back the hair on its mane.
“Do you like this creature my child?”
“Oh yes, father. It is so beautiful!”
“I am very happy to hear you say that, Adam. Now watch this”.
Picture the joy in the heart of the Creator as He then speaks to that stallion, causing it to rear back and take off running across a meadow, as Adam gasps in amazement! Finally, as the stallion returns, and nuzzles against the awestruck face of the man, God lovingly says, “Tell me my child, what do you like most about this creature?” Adam thinks for a moment, until he says, “When it runs, it’s hoofs sound like thunder!” “Then that shall be its name” says the Father — “Hoofs of Thunder!”
Whether it’s the eagle that flies to the top of the rainbow, or the bee that makes sweet honey in a hive, I personally believe that God still calls to the animals by the names that Adam originally gave to them. That’s how much He yearns to have that kind of father-child relationship with all people again — including you.
And that’s the beautiful lesson that is communicated in this passage of scripture: God wants to have the same wide-eyed wonderful relationship with you that He originally had with Adam. That’s why He sent His Son Jesus to die in order to take the punishment we all deserve for our sins (see John 3:16), so that we could receive His Spirit when we believe in Jesus, and have eyes to see and ears to hear when He is lovingly showing us the wonders of His creation.
So, the next time you pet the animal you have named, or look at a flock of birds flying across a beautiful sunset, allow God to speak to your heart. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the wide-eyed wonderful relationship with Him for which you were created!
– Pastor Dominic