Earlier this week, some detectives in India got an unexpected tip in a murder case. A parrot fingered the perp: that’s right, a bird! The authorities had few clues in the murder of a local newspaper editor and the death of her dog. Then surviving family members began to notice changes in the behavior of their parrot who had been in the room when the crime occurred. The bird began to squawk excitedly whenever a particular nephew’s name was mentioned. According to reports, the parrot suddenly went ballistic whenever that particular nephew came into the room. Relatives tipped off police who then found additional evidence and were able to get a confession!
It may be correct that the dog is man’s best friend, but it’s also true that all kinds of animals have become friends and allies for human beings. Our story is filled with example of beasts of burden, seeing-eye dogs, guinea pigs used for vaccine testing, canines used for drug sniffing and security purposes, and canaries in mine shafts. Pet dogs and cats and birds and fish add warmth and amusement to our lives, even if most of them never finger a murderer. And researches continue to affirm that contact with animals has a measurable therapeutic effect on shut-in senior adults, soldiers in battle, and children in hospitals. Green plants can help us breathe better, but furry animals actually make us feel better.
How do you explain the way human beings rely so heavily on animals for assistance and amusement? Cynics may suppose that animals are just not as demanding as other people tend to be. Evolutionists might point to similarities in DNA. But I tend to follow the evidence trail back to Genesis 2.
Remember that mystical moment in Genesis 2:19 when God begins to place some animals in Eden to be helpers for the first man? Adam actually comes up with names for the animals as he considers what kind of assets they can offer him. Ultimately, they are not equipped to become family for the man. As Adam begins to yearn for “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh,” God completes the work of creation by fashioning woman from the side of the man. But while animals did not make the cut as family, they have never lost their place as friends and allies.
According to the Bible, the universe was designed by God to support human life on the earth. But even though the cosmos is vast, complex, colorful, dramatic, mysterious, and inspiring, human beings are far more likely to own pets than telescopes. We vastly favor zoos and safaris to planetariums. We have never lost our fascination for living things that were not made in God’s image, but were placed here for our delight. It’s called providence; just one more reason for gratitude to God.
Lift up the Cross!