There’s a lot of hype in today’s world about humans and animals being equal. Many groups claim that humans don’t have the right to rule over animals or even eat them. They say we should feel guilty for consuming them. This led me to explore what the Bible had to say about this topic.
God cares about all His creations, but one is specifically unique and special to Him. Indeed, the Bible reveals that God values humans more than animals. Let’s explore this subject and I’ll point out many different things the Bible teaches about humans having dominion over animals and nature itself.
All scriptures are taken from the NKJV unless otherwise noted.
Genesis Chapter One
“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
– Genesis 1:26
When God created the universe and everything in it, humans are the only creations explained in the Bible as being created in the image of God. While the world is beautiful, nothing else is described this way.
Not only are humans special to God in this regard, but He also grants them dominion and power over nature. Since that’s the case, God must regard humans as superior in earthly affairs. For example, God must have known that people would be better at farming and tending the garden than animals.
Being made in the image of God, humans are outside of nature. Nature is not made in the image of God. Nature is not sacred but human life is.
Also, this scripture states, “Let them have dominion.” Therefore, God intended for man to reign over nature. Surely, God did not give humans the right to abuse nature or inflict unnecessary suffering upon animals. However, the world was created for the use of humans.
God tells us that man is to be the ruler over the animal kingdom and nature. In this world, either humans will rule over nature or nature will overpower humans. Throughout history, many people had to live in fear of being eaten by animals. In some parts of the world today, that’s still the case.
But some of us are blessed enough to not have to worry about these things anymore. That’s because humans have dominated nature and rule over it.
“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
– Genesis 1:28
The Torah introduced something new to humanity: the worship of the God who created nature, not nature itself. Many ancient pagan societies worshipped nature and had various nature gods. In the Western world, we’re seeing the same pattern arise again. Many countries that were once Christian are turning away from the Bible. Now, their citizens have gone back to worshipping nature.
Indeed, there are many who believe humans must extinct themselves or sacrifice in many ways in an effort to save the planet. There are many documentaries on these ideas and it’s very popular among the younger generation. You can watch an 18-minute video exposing this popular religion of green.
There was a moment in my life when I believed that humans were on a road to destroy the planet. You can read that story here: Why I, As A Christian, Am No Longer A Vegan. Fortunately, God reminded me that He is in control and He is the One who will destroy the earth and create a new one at the appointed time.
Genesis Chapter Two
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
– Genesis 2:7
In Genesis, God created everything by speaking words. He spoke and light appeared. He spoke and the waters were separated. However, humans were not created that way. God worked to create humans and got his hand dirty with dust. This signifies that God intended for humans to be different and set apart from the rest of nature.
The “breath of life” recorded here is translated from the Hebrew words nishmat chayyim. This can also be translated to mean “soul of life.” The Bible does not use the same word to describe the creation of animals.
There is an important distinction in the Bible between man and animal. Higher civilization is built upon this distinction along with many others such as the differences between male and female, good and evil, holy and profane, and God and man. The more a society tries to blur the line of these distinctions (or do away with them altogether), the more likely chaos is to take over that society.
These distinctions give us an order in which the world is to function. Without order, by default, you have chaos.
“Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.”
– Genesis 2:19-20
These verses show that humans are different than animals and animals cannot replace humans. Also, it’s important to notice that it doesn’t say Adam didn’t find a helper. Animals can be tremendous helpers to humans. Just ask anyone with a service or an assistant animal. Surely, dogs can be a man’s best friend.
The problem was not that Adam couldn’t find a helper, but that he couldn’t find a helper that was comparable or equal to him. A companion that’s not equal cannot truly alleviate the loneliness Adam was about to be destined for.
In addition to that, notice that God didn’t give Adam a child. Children are a blessing, but hold a different place in our heart than a spouse. Anyone who has ever lost a spouse would tell you that their children and grandchildren cannot fill that hole of their spouse. God knows that. That’s why He gave Adam an adult companion who is equal to him that can help him maintain dominance over nature.
Understanding that humans and animals are different in God’s eyes is important to maintaining the world in a standard that pleases God. We shouldn’t worship animals or nature, only the God who created nature. It’s also necessary to understand God values humans more than animals. This means we’re more than wild beasts who live random lives that are meaningless. God created us in His image for a purpose.
I pray you found this article helpful. If so, please share this content. Also, feel free to leave a comment below. As always, thanks for reading!
In the OT, Leviticus 24:18-19, differentiated between animal life and human life in degree of compensation. Man, on killing an animal, was commanded to replace the animal and the man lived. Man ,on killing a man, commanded to be killed.
In reality, man is dust (Genesis 2:7;3:19). And the same Hebrew word used for soul for both man and beast (nephesh). First man (Adam) was made in image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27). However, Adam’s sons were born in the image and likeness of Adam (Genesis 5:3). All man, except Christ, are born in sin in the image of fallen Adam.
The value Man has as an adopted son , given by God, available only through Christ.