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The Bible teaches something very different.
The following study is from the Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity, copyright 1994:
BIBLE LESSONS ABOUT ANIMALS:
THE BIBLE TERM FOR ANIMALS IS BEAST: In the O.T. there are primarily two Hebrew words translated "beast" in the KJV: (1) chay (Ge. 1:24,25,30; 2:19-20; 3:1; 8:19; 9:2; 37:20), and (2) behemah (Ge. 6:7; 7:2; 34:23; Ex. 8:17). Chay emphasizes the living, moving, breathing aspect of an animal. It is also translated "alive," "running," and "springing." Behemah emphasizes the brute aspect to an animal, the fact that they do not have an eternal, living soul like man does. It is from a Hebrew root meaning "mute." In the N.T. there are three Greek words translated "beast" in the KJV. (1) "Ktenos" refers to a domesticated animal (Lk. 10:34). (2) "Therion" refers to a wild, dangerous animal (Ac. 28:4-5). The Antichrist is described with this term (Re. 11:7; 13:1-18; 14:9,11; 15:2; 16:2,10,13; 17:3-17; 19:19-20; 20:4,10). (3) "Zoon" refers to a living creature in general, not necessarily an animal, and describes some of the angelic beings of Revelation (Re. 4:7; 6:3,5,7).
ANIMALS AND PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT CREATIONS: The first thing to note from Scripture is that animals and mankind are two different creations. Man is not a higher animal. Evolution is a lie. Man was created distinctly in the image of God (Ge. 1:24-28). Animals were not made in the image of God. Animals do not have a living soul. They are not eternal beings; man is (Ge. 2:7). Man is infinitely higher than and different from the animal kingdom. The Lord Jesus Christ referred to this fact in Lk. 12:5-7. "But I forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows." There are two important truths in this passage about animals and man. First, we see that God does care for animals; he does not forget even the tiny sparrow. Second, though, we see that man is infinitely greater in value than the animals because man has an eternal soul. Man will be held accountable for his actions. Without a Savior, sinful man will spend eternity in Hell.
ANIMALS WERE MADE FOR MAN'S PLEASURE: We see further that the Bible says animals were made for man's pleasure and use. Man was not made for the world; the world was made for man. Even the stars of the universe were made for man (Ps. 8:4-8). The Psalmist sees the animal kingdom under man's feet. This does not mean that man has a right to be cruel toward animals; it means man has a divine right to rule over the creation and to use it for his purposes and needs. The Bible enjoins kindness even toward the dumb creatures of this world (Pr. 12:10).
ANIMALS ARE FOR MAN'S FOOD: From the time of Noah until today God has ordained that man eat animal flesh (Ge. 9:3). The nation Israel ate meat. The Lord Jesus Christ ate meat. The Passover meal was lamb (Ex. 12:5-10), and Christ ate the Passover (Mt. 26:17-19). What about Christians? The Apostle Peter was certainly a Christian, and in a vision from God he was commanded to eat meat (Ac. 10:10-13). The vision was to impress Peter that Gentile believers were not unclean, but the fact remains that God commanded Peter to eat of the various meats. God would not have done that if He abhorred meat eating. The vision in Ac. 10 also shows that God has removed the O.T. dietary restrictions. Some would have us believe that restrictions against pork and other meats were for medical purposes. That's not the case. Those restrictions were for the purpose of making Israel separate from the nations and for teaching her the difference between holy and unholy. God has removed all such dietary restrictions. In fact, the Bible warns against those who would promote vegetarianism. In 1 Ti. 4:1-5 we read of those who "command to abstain from meats," and we are told that this is a doctrine of devils! The Bible clearly says that God created animals to be eaten. It is not cruel to kill an animal in hunting or fishing, and to eat it. It is not cruel to slaughter animals for food. That is one of the reasons God made animals. Christians are free to eat meats or not to eat meats. This is the teaching of Ro. 14:2-3,6. Away with those dietary laws which purport to be Christian. If a Christian wants to eat a certain kind of food--only vegetables, for example--that is fine. If he wants to avoid something such as sugar or pork, fine. Let him eat what he feels God would have him eat, and what he feels will best benefit him. But let that one be careful that he not make his own conscience a law for others. The N.T. forbids dietary laws for religious purposes.
ANIMALS ILLUSTRATE MAN'S SALVATION: Animals were used by God to illustrate salvation to the human race. In the Garden of Eden, when the man and woman had sinned, God made "coats of skins, and clothed them" (Ge. 3:21). Where did God get those coats of skins? From innocent animals that died that man might have a covering for his sinful condition. And note that it was God who provided the covering. God must provide salvation. Man cannot earn it himself. Salvation is a gift of grace, "not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ep. 2:9). From Eden to Calvary, the blood of animals was shed to illustrate salvation. Man is a fallen sinner who must have salvation from sin's penalty, and that salvation was purchased by Jesus Christ on the Cross. There He shed His blood and died for payment for man's sin. Those who trust Him receive eternal life. This is the Gospel that was preached so eloquently by the animal sacrifices. "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (Jn. 1:29). That is what John the Baptist said of Christ. The Bible enjoins us to Look and Live. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Ac. 16:31). Man is the crown of creation, but he is fallen and cannot be what God intended him to be until he is born again through the blood of Jesus Christ.
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