“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

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I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Genesis 9:2 Fear and Dread and Dominion

Near my mother's home is a tidal creek that bustles with nature: birds, butterflies, reptiles, insects and fiddler crabs. Fiddler crabs scurry across her yard and through her flowerbeds. They march sideways across her porch and hide under her garage door. Their homes are wholes dug into the mud that lines the sides of her drainage ditch. As I walk around her yard, I like to try to catch them unaware. 
   I never do. When I walk near the edge of the ditch they pop into their wholes. If i walk slowly toward the canal I see them dance across the dock. I hear their miniature crab feet rustle across leaves. If I'm quick enough I might surprise two of them waltzing on the dock, as if it were a stage.
  If I sit very still along the bank of the side creek they will come half way out of their whole, and with their largest claw in the air they will wave it back and forth, opening and closing their pinchers. Soon a chorus of claws will perform in unison, but only if I sit very still. If I move they stop, scurry and hide. As small as they are they know of my presence and they act in fear. Their "dread" of me causes them to always use caution and never trust mankind. 
   Mankind has lost its chance to coexist in peace with the animal kingdom. In studying and pondering Genesis I was made aware of a few thoughts concerning man's relationship to the animal kingdom.
Prior to the flood: 
  •  Genesis 1:28 Both man and animal ate herb for meat.  
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there islife, I have given every green herb for  meat: and it was so. 

  • Man had dominion over the animals. Genesis 1:28 This meant he was in charge of life on the earth. He was called to know and care for the earth. 
  • The garden still existed. I have to believe that man and beast had memory of its great blessings to them. 
  • Man's evil imagination escalated his actions to violence.   Prior to the flood there is no reference to animals need to fear man. But in fact it does say that God's hope had been in man's ability to learn to love one another and all of the earth and follow "his way."        Genesis 6:12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all aflesh had corrupted his bway upon the earth.  His way was not the way we now know. A few things changed after the flood. 
After the flood: 
  • Noah builds an altar and petitions God for a promise that this will never happen again. 
  • God covenants with Noah AND every living beast upon the earth, that he will never again flood the earth. 
  • God changes the nature of the relationship of man to the animals. No longer does man   have dominion over the animals but he also has lost his "right" to associate peaceably with them. God places in the animals a fear and a dread. Why? 
  • I believe it was a way to try to protect the animals from man's unrighteous dominion. 
The corruption that man brought to the earth with his selfish and vain imaginations corrupted the earth. Did it also corrupt the animals? When Noah found grace with God and became one of only eight humans to survive the flood, did  that animals that came to Noah also find God's grace? The second time around God realized that the animals would need a way to protect themselves if man ever chose to exercise "unrighteous dominion" again. 

After the flood 
  • dietary laws change. The definition of "meat" changes see Geneses 1:29-30 Genesis 9:3, 4
  • Animals have the ability to protect and defend themselves from man and from one another. (this is to say that God's original plan might have "hoped" that this would not be needed." 
  • Man looses the wisdom and insight of animals intelligence. We have to resort to study and science to learn from the animals. Were they once able to help us and communicate with us?
It is a daunting thought to consider what the flood took from us? As I watch the beauty and intelligence that exists within the animal kingdom, I am in awe of the harmony that binds them socially, emotionally, and intellectually. Did man once have the ability to share in this harmony? Man seems to believe that we are the more intelligent of all of God's creatures. Who became the biggest loser when the bridge of communication between man and animal changed? 

What was lost? What was gained? What does dominion bring if it is accompanied with unrighteousness? Why did God believe he had to delineate what meat could be eaten? Genesis 9:4  But flesh with the life thereof, which is the cblood thereof, shall ye not eat. Was it because of man's violence and his evil imaginations? 

All of this came because God gave man the power to have dominion. He never gave him the power to control another's life. Dominion? What does it mean to you? Why did man misinterpret it to the point that God felt the need to protect the animals by placing a "fear and dread" within them? 
What exactly can the animals teach us? 

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