A Death at the Zoo
May 31, 2016
A few thoughts to accompany the ridiculous mayhem surrounding the death of Harambe the gorilla.
- Human life is of far greater value than animal life. Humans are not simply another genus in the animal kingdom. Humans, while certainly created beings like the animals, nevertheless are possessed of an entirely different status. The opening pages of the Bible make clear that mankind is the product of direct and special creation. The creation account also establishes the fact that mankind, male and female, bear the image of God. Simply put, there is nothing else like humanity. As bright as they shine, the quasars do not bear the image of God. As spectacular as they rise, the Rocky Mountains do not bear the image of God. As wonderful as they are, gorillas do not bear the image of God.
- It is entirely appropriate for sadness to accompany the killing of the gorilla. Animals, being the creation of God, have great value. But our God-given dominion over the animals means, among other things, that we may have them for food. However, human dominion should never excuse cruelty or indifference.
- Mankind strives to undermine God’s order within creation. It is as the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans one. Once the truth of God is suppressed man begins to worship the creature; he begins to serve images of animals rather than exercising wise dominion over them.
- Ours is an unhealthily emotional generation. The outpouring of anger and grief over the death of the gorilla seems little different from that which is seen at the death of a human. Actually, it is worse. Having been immersed in the sentimentalism of contemporary liberalism, Americans, especially younger Americans, are unable to think their way out of the gutter of base emotionalism. Of course there is nothing wrong with feeling. God has made us emotional beings. But thinking is one of the things that set humans apart from cumquats and wombats. It is through thinking that we are able to establish that a dead gorilla is sad but a dead human is far worse.
- The fact that we are sad about the death of a gorilla is further evidence of the value of human life. There would have been no such mourning among gorillas had Harambe smashed that little boy’s head like a grape. Nor would we expect them to grieve. We would not expect them to demand answers of zoo officials. We would not expect them to criticize the child’s mother. Because you know, gorillas.
- Ours is a poorly educated generation. From their first exposure to the natural sciences, the vast majority of American children are taught a view of reality in which God is not. They are taught that human life sprang up as a consequence of random mutation with no more intrinsic value than any other piece of flotsam in the solar system. We should not be surprised then, when these same children, having been fed a steady diet of movies about talking animals and evil humans, grow up to hold the life of an animal as far more precious than that of a human.