Saturday, October 16, 2010


In the Bible, the analogy is often used of God being our Father. I think there is more than analogy to this description, but what a great analogy it is! As children, we don't always like or understand what our parents are doing, but it is often for the best, and we come to understand only later what they were up to! Same thing with us and God. While I love this comparison, it means more to some people than others. Every analogy does. The following analogy is another one that makes sense to me... what do you think?

We live in an age where, for many, pets are part of the family. I can't imagine my house without a cat or a dog around somewhere, and I really do miss them when they or I are not around. Do you think, in situations where pets are part of the family, there is some analogy between the Owner/pet and God/us relationship?

We take care of our pets. We give them food and drink (not always when or of the quality that they want), but we know what's best for them. God provides for us as well. We do things our pets love (give them attention, talk to them), and things they hate (take them to the bad place... the veterinarian's office!), again, all for their good. Sometimes the blessings God gives us are less than obvious... until later. We see things much "bigger picture" than our pets do. Same thing for God. Not to say that our pets view us like God, but it's interesting to think about the position He has put us in with animals!

My parents have a cat named Thomas. They adopted him from a shelter a few months ago. We think he was abused, and he gets spooked by simple things: if we pick up a newspaper too quickly, or just the sight of a fly swatter. He doesn't always trust us, because he's been hurt by too many things in this world before. Sound familiar, for you or those around you who have been hurt and struggle with believing in or trusting God?

Now the most important part: Have you ever had a pet that comes to you only when it wants to eat? Then that pet pays you some attention, and acts like it's done nothing but love you its whole life! Has your pet ever sulked and avoided you for no good reason? Do you do this to God? Sadly, here's where I have to be really honest: I do. Just like a moody pet, I will get upset or distracted, and not talk to God or read the Bible or anything... until I need something. Then I'm quick to pray! I guess, in the end, I long for faith and love for God like the love some pets have had for me... Will I keep avoiding God until I need something? Or will I crawl in His lap or sit down at His feet, just because He is my Master, and I love Him and trust Him?

Does this analogy ring true for you? How do you see God in the pets He gives us?


  1. Hi, Brandon! I'll answer the last part first, since you consider it the most important. I can speak to something of a role reversal. Many years ago, I wanted nothing to do with God, yet He "hounded" me regularly, especially at night. One of God's many roles is as the Hound of Heaven, when His children won't come to Him at His immediate call and He has to keep after them.

    At one time, I could make nothing of the analogy of God as Father. I think that only works for people with loving authoritative fathers. Or at least a grandfather, uncle or other male in authority who helps take care of them for their own good. I didn't have this experience. My dad was in some ways more like an older brother and was subservient to my mom who was not emotionally stable. I learned about fathers through sermons abut God, rather than the usual other way around. However, I have had experiences with God that have made it crystal clear that He loves me and He is obviously in authority over me, so I can now "get" that God is my Father in Heaven.

    More about our relationship to animals later. It's an intriguing idea and one dear to my heart, so I want to do it justice.
    Sherry Thompson

  2. About those "pesky animals". :)
    I don't believe that any kind of animal looks to us as gods or God--I don't think they have any conception of that. At most there may be some magical thinking on their part--Like for instance when we turn on an electrical switch and light appears, or a breeze or unpleasant noises.

    I really only have personal/pet experience with mammals, plus a few birds and turtles. I can't think of anything to say about the latter categories, and in fact suspect that their thinking powers don't allow them to make any analogies when it comes to their human caretakers.

    On the other hand, I believe that most "indoor" mammal pets--as opposed to horses, donkeys, etc-- see humans as "Mommy".

    Sorry about that, Brandon. You see, they come into this world helpless nd under the care of their female parent in virtually all cases. Tht parent takes care of all their needs until they are able to fend for themselves. When it comes to that time, many perhaps most dogs, cats and rabbits (for the 3 best examples) then are attended to my one or more humans. They are fed, cleaned, caressed by the human in ways reminiscent of their birth mothers. Most very, very early probably fade away leaving a blur from the past plus the very real events of new food and water, cleaned litter boxes, exciting walks, grooming etc to blur one into another.

    The one exception is probably the dog, because they are pack animals. Those breeds who are more "into" forming packs probably look to their master or mistress as the alpha dog. However, I still think that a bit of "mommy" probably stays with them, though it may be way in the background with dogs.

    I believe that pets provide us with unalloyed and forgiving love and that in that respect they are an analogy to God for us. I wonder very much what God has in mind re us and our beloved animals. I am particularly curious about the change in our respective roles from the time of Eden until after the Flood when the survivors were told hat animals would now fear them and that it was now permitted to eat animal meat. Will be go back to former times, ever? Will that last prove to be a super-silly/stupid question?

    Sherry Thompson

  3. Sorry 'bout the typos. Time for Bible study!

  4. Thanks Sherry. Interesting thoughts. I think animals in creation times provide a very interesting topic. For example, they were created as companions to humans; not perfect, but still companions. I have no problem with pets having a "mommy" perception of humans; we are often their caretakers as well as companions. And I love that question... will we ever go back to former times? R.C. Sproul was asked a question when it came to animals in heaven... and he said the Bible never says for sure, but did point out that one day the lion shall lay with the lamb.