Endangered species & humans III

  • Sumo

(Part I and Part II.)

What I said in the previous two blogs, in two sentences:
Thought #1 – humans have, and display, dominion over nature.
Thought #2 – humans’ sin deforms nature.

More particularly, that we people participate in helping endangered species, this very action displays these theological realities. That is, theoretical science and practical ecology ecology display – though not reveal – fundamental theological reality.

Now there’s a third idea, to conclude this mini-series.

Thought #3 – humans display God’s love of redemption and restoration.

God likens his work of saving sinners to the work of rescuing lost animals.

For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out.
As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them …
And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country….
I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep…
I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.
From Ezekiel 34

Jesus spoke of the lost sheep, for the sake of whose safety the shepherd leaves 99 others.

Jesus called himself the good shepherd, who lays down his life for the sheep.

God is very familiar with the idea of lost and nearly dead animals.

Of course, people are more important than sheep. And these passages speak metaphorically of God’s people as sheep, as endangered animals.

Yet I think there’s some echo of likeness between God’s major concern for saving the people of his creation and concern for saving the animals of his creation. After all, all creation benefits by freedom when God’s children are revealed.

Helping endangered animals is a peculiarly human activity on earth. And it shows humans as we are: created (God’s image): defaced (in turn defacing the rest of the creation); and aware of rescue and redemption (re-created by external intervention).