Justice, Gorillas, and Sanctity of Life
It's rare that I write about current hot topics, but the time has come to break my silence. You have most likely heard about the gorilla named Harambe that was killed at the Cincinnati Zoo last week after dragging around a small child that had entered its enclosure. Many people are angry about Harambe's death, blaming the parents of the child, and showing social media activism with the "#JusticeforHarambe" hashtag. This is just one example of a world with misplaced values.
Modern people are quick rush to the aid of animals. They protest against animal abuse, make objection any time an animal is killed in the public eye, and bemoan the fate of endangered species. The same society that is swift to protect animals is just as swift to tell a woman to kill the tiny human in her womb because it's "her choice" to get rid of the "blob of tissue". This society overlooks the justice given to a terrified little boy to ask justice for an ape.
To be sure, animals are an amazing part of God's creation. Life wouldn't be the same without our sweet pets, or the wild creatures we view in zoos and admire on television or in pictures. We are to be wise stewards of these creatures that the Lord has made, certainly not senselessly beating our pets and livestock or rampantly killing them without reason. A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast (Proverbs 12:10).
At the same time, human life is far more sacred than animal life. Unlike them, we bear the image of our Creator. We are able to have a deep, personal, eternal relationship with Him that they cannot. God takes the lives of His image-bearers seriously. Part of the law to His people was that if an ox gored a person to death, the ox was to be killed (Exodus 21:28). Though He sees even each sparrow that falls, He tells us that we are more value than many sparrows (Matthew 10:29,31).
Yes, it sad that the Cincinnati Zoo episode had to end in the death of one of God's creatures. Most likely, Harambe saw the child as a baffling toy rather than someone to purposefully kill. In an ideal situation, the parents would have seen the danger and prevented their son from getting into the enclosure. Circumstances are not always ideal, though. The zoo staff did the right thing. If they had not stepped in, the little boy could very well have died from the rough handling. A decision had to be made and there was no time to waste.
As Christians, we are at risk of getting swept up in the tide of the world's ideals, crying out for justice for an ape, rather than being grateful for the people who saved the boy's life. Without godly wisdom, we are vulnerable to jumping on the bandwagon of a society where good is called evil and evil is called good. What would we have been crying out for at the zoo that day? When push comes to shove, may we stand for God's justice and not the world's.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.