Who Are You to Play God?: God’s Power to Dole out Rights
Vegetarianism is a trend that most think of as being relatively recent, and as such is often frowned upon for being ‘new’ and ‘innovative’.* Whenever I heard this in the past, I would scoff at such narrow-mindedness (for really these people are just clutching at straws if this is their reason for eating meat) and deliver a long lecture about innovation, change, and, inevitably, animals’ rights.
Yesterday, after completing my assigned reading from Genesis, I felt some slight triumph in the fact that I had yet another argument to add to my list: God decreed vegetarianism on Day Six, along with the creation of humankind. And if that didn’t constitute ancient, I wasn’t sure what did. However my elation was short lived, for just a day later I completed reading Genesis chapters eight and nine with a sense of nothing short of outrage.
For those who aren’t familiar with this section of Genesis, it describes the great flood and Noah’s (and the rest of mankind’s, though they are ignored beyond the fact that they were ‘wiped out’) tribulations. After Noah and his family have exited their ark safely, God speaks to them saying “. . . you shall not eat flesh with its life. . . For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life” (Gen. 9.4-5).
Now honestly, I had to read this about six times in order to discern any meaning, but once I thought I had figured it out, I felt like yelling “Hypocrite!” to the heavens. One quick check with the Oxford experts confirmed my ideas as correct. God’s character really is revoking His earlier command of vegetarianism, allowing people to take the lives of animals in order to get a little of their aggression and violence out and as some kind of payment for allowing humankind to survive. How sadistic is that?
Being vegetarian and someone who thinks all beings are created equal, I’m completely biased in this matter, but really I think that what God does in this situation is like the president of the United States suddenly deciding he had the power to say that it was acceptable to hunt Californians for food. Oh, and actually he wants you to kill them in order to pay him for allowing your state to survive. So go kill some Californians. Alright, so maybe that analogy was a little extreme, but I think I got my point across.
Of course God created the animals, but this means He was the one who gave them hearts and minds and feelings. For Him to just decide that they are inferior to humans and therefore should suffer for the transgressions and mistakes of the human race is insane. If they were beings enough to be exempt from killing before, what now has changed besides God’s whim? Nothing. The animals are still the same, but God’s special creation has disappointed Him, so someone must suffer. But mankind? No. They shall suffer for a mere paragraph in the history of the world, for they were created in God’s image. However animals (who look nothing like God—or so we are told) shall bear the burden of the humans’ crime for the rest of eternity.
If I were talking about anyone else, I would be asking the question: “Who are you to play God?” Of course, in my situation this makes absolutely no sense, so instead I’ll go a step further. Who gave God the power to say who got what rights? Why is God allowed to hand some their basic rights and look at the others and say “Sorry, there weren’t enough to go around”? Why is it different for God than for anyone else? Isn’t what God did in this situation similar to what Hitler said about the Jews? So why is it different?
And to everyone who just read that and thought “They’re just dumb animals,” I say: “So what? You’re just a dumb human. Can I kill you now?”
*However absurd this may sound, I know it to be true as I am a vegetarian myself and have encountered many such geniuses.
A/N: I have absolutely nothing against California.