God and His Animals. Some Thoughts on God’s Care about Animals in the Old Testament
Festschrift for Willie van Heerden
Keywords:animal protection, Old Testament, biblical theology, creation care, cosmic covenant, responsibility, eco-theology
This article explores the attitude God shows towards the animals as presented in Old Testament (OT) texts outside of the law texts. While these law texts present God’s imperative for his people, the other OT texts display his attitude towards nature more directly. We will interpret the findings as part of a “cosmic covenant” (Robert Murray) between God and his animals on the one hand and God and humans as his viceroys on earth on the other hand. The article is written from a canonical viewpoint. This means that it does not try to distinguish divergent aspects or developments of ideas but rather looks at their similarities. The aim is not just to do an exegesis on certain Old Testament tests but to explore the relationship between God and his creation as displayed in these verses. The canonical viewpoint in connection with the idea of a “cosmic covenant” presents a new angle on this topic. The article intends to show that God, being the creator of everything, cares for his whole creation. As his people, we should therefore also treat his creation with respect and care.
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