|When not walking with us the dogs enjoy resting.|
They are always on alert
But my Dachshund had other plans. When I asked him if he wanted to join us, (something he is normally eager to do), he tucked his tail and turned for his kennel. I laughed and thought he had misunderstood. So when the scene repeated itself the next evening, I began to see his obvious dislike for walking at night. I remembered how on previous evening escapades he had barked at every shadow, tugged on the leash in an effort to get me to turn back towards the house, refused to pass beyond our streets stop sign, and even once had to be carried out of the yard! By hiding under the covers of his kennel he was clearly showing his ability to make choice.
My dachshund knows what he likes and does not like. Choice is not something known only to man.
Nature uses the ability to choose as a means for survival, to secure comfort and home.
Two weeks ago I became a student in Clemson University's Master Naturalist Program. It is a wonderful course that is meant to introduce me to the rich diversity of the natural world. As I learn the story of each of God's creations and their intricate role in maintaining a balanced ecology, my respect and awe for the laws of nature grew in ways I had never considered.
So what does my dog and the laws of nature have to do with Lehi and his talk to Jacob? As I read about our Savior's mission of redemption, I wondered about God's creations and choice? I wondered why we alone seem to be able to make choices that dictate our eternal welfare? What about my dog's eternal welfare? If he can make choice where does the realm of his choice begin and end? And can he have joy like I have joy? (vs. 25) I wondered about the laws and the Kingdoms and what it all means.
Doctrine & Covenants 88: 36-38;42-43
All kingdoms have a law given; And there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom. And unto every kingdom is given a law and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions. And again, verily I say unto you, he hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and seasons. And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the plants.
Concerning laws, animals, and kingdoms I found the scriptures from Doctrine and Covenants 88 and from Byron R. Merrill, a professor at Brigham Young University I found the following:
In all scriptural accounts of the Creation, animals stand next to man in the order of their appearance on earth. Man was then given dominion over them (Moses 2:28, 5:1; Genesis 1:26), and President Kimball indicated that animals were created "for man's respectful use." 3 St. Francis of Assisi taught that all creation was brought into being "to praise the Creator; every species in existence praises God in its own special way." 4
Joseph Fielding Smith said that Latter-day Saints "do not take the view that animals have no reason, and cannot think. We have divine knowledge that each possesses a spirit in the likeness of its body, and that each was created spiritually before it was naturally." 5
He explained that while there is some measure of intelligence in members of the animal kingdom, the limited bounds beyond which they cannot pass are set by divine decree. These limits are not set on man, who is the offspring of God and has received commandments to become perfect like his Father.
President Smith concluded that God "placed each [animal] in its sphere, gave it commandments commensurate with its position. They have been commanded to multiply, not to pray." 6
Latter-day scripture states that animal-kind will have part in the resurrection (D&C 29:24-25).
Brigham Young indicated that animals abide the law of their Creator, unlike men and women who are the only creations of God that are disobedient. 7
Some refer to wicked acts as resulting from our "animal nature," but sins are really human failings, the result of evil choices, and not bestial at all.