"Good God, woman, I used my thumb!"

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Purpose of Animals

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

All animals, I believe, have their purpose here on Earth. And, of course, man was given them to gaurd before Adam screwed it all up for us in Eden. (That's okay, we forgive him yet. There were more wondrous things to come...) Jewish thought, and picked up in Catholic theology, shows that the animals fell as well when man fell. But they all had, and still have, their original purpose. The sheep shows our our relation to God, the need of a saving Shepherd. The dog shows us our loyalty to Him (as Ben once put it, we must all be "domesticated to God"...stop kicking, biting, clawing, scratching...). One can even imagine the ferocity of the bear shows us an infinitely small yet infintely understandable image of God's wrath should we so wrongly decide to tick Him off without begging for forgiveness.

But some animals are more difficult to figure out. Chesterton found the answer for the donkey, which lies in italics at the bottom of this entry when the introductory verses are concluded. And perhaps my brother found the answer to the great mystery of the tapeworm, when he so keenly noted that, like the Holy Spirit, "it lives within you."Still, there are some animals that are simply inscrutable. The ant, for example, is simply difficult to know. Is it there to show us that hard work and effort can save ourselves? Or are they simply a cosmic practical joke, God's way of saying, "Look, animals get along together better than you silly humans! Wake up!" And there's the sloth; it's very name is a Deadly Sin. I think either Adam or the 19th-century naturalists made a mistake there somewhere. And lastly, there's the platypus. I'm still waiting on any kind of sane explanation of the platypus.

But each animal, I am convinced, has it's imprint from God, the simple, indelible mark of Creation. God made them for some reason, to help us in some, often undetermined manner to lead us toward Him. Perhaps simply their existence should point the way to their Creator. For surely, there is no other reason for the natural beauty of the butterfly than to point us toward the Heavenly beauty of God.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

--G.K. Chesterton


Blogger Matt said...

So what about Beetles. I mean Gad definately has a fetish. hehe

1:35 PM  

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