Does God Allow the Hunting and Killing of Animals?

In the beginning, God gave man dominion over the fish, the birds, and the beasts of the earth (Genesis 1:28). Jesus' disciples were fishermen, and He helped them catch fish on occasion (Luke 5:1-9). God Himself ordained the sacrificial system (see Leviticus 1-7), under which literally millions of animals—bulls, sheep, goats, turtledoves, pigeons, etc.—lost their lives.

God also inspired scriptures to tell us which kinds of animals, fish, and fowl He created to be eaten by humans. Notice that game animals are included (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14:3-21). We can conclude, therefore, that it is not against God's will to catch, kill, and use animals for food. Nor is it wrong to kill predators. David killed a lion and a bear that menaced his sheep (I Samuel 17:34-36).

Of course, this does not mean that game should be killed indiscriminately or recklessly. It would be repulsive to see an animal killed merely for the sake of its antlers or horns, for example, and the rest of the carcass left to rot. Such irresponsible actions are wrong, and as a result of the recent animal rights movement, this is not happening nearly as much as it once did. On the other hand, the humane culling of herds of deer, bison, and other such animals is necessary and merciful conservation of nature.

Nevertheless, the idea that it is wrong to kill any animals whatsoever is not supported by the Bible. If it were, God would not have bothered to tell man which animals to eat. He simply would have instructed man not to eat any of them. To the contrary, He gives mankind permission to kill animals for food (Genesis 9:2-3).


 

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