You are an animal. I am an animal. All humans are animals – scientifically classified as mammals. That means we are more like other mammals than any other kind of creature on the planet. Dogs, cats, sheep, cows rhinoceroses, lions and even porpoises and whales are all mammals. By design, each of these creatures have a central body with a tube down the middle called the ‘gut’; a heart, a liver, an appendage on each corner and a head and a tail (except humans don’t usually have tails).
There are other similar features that can be seen such as skin, hair, bones, live birth etc. And a part that can’t be seen – a mind. The mind of an animal is that invisible part that keeps the animal functioning. It is the part that helps the animal find food and eat it. It helps the animal breathe air, escape from danger and bask in the sun. It is the mind that helps the animal find a mate and make more little animals.
An animal’s mind also helps to coordinates its behavior. Some of that coordination is done in very clever ways. For example, animals like to associate with their own kind – at least most animals – most of the time. Animals hunt or graze in manners like their kind. Hunters may hunt alone or in packs according to their kind. Grazers will almost always graze together on the same kinds of food and in the same direction. Relationships in these systems can be complex. For example, grazing herds are usually made up of cows and calves with a dominant female at the center of the heard and dominant adult males at some distance on the periphery. House-cats and leopards often sleep together but are usually solitary hunters – unless they’re teaching young ones. Again, dominant females in the center and dominant adult males on the periphery. Dogs and porpoises associate continuously and tend to hunt in packs. Once again – dominant females in the middle of the pack; dominant adult males on the periphery. Such relationships change when mating season comes. Although there are obvious common denominators, each kind of animal behaves somewhat differently, but strictly according to its kind.
There are a number of such behavior patterns among the various kinds of animals. The point is that human animals also have predictable, similar behaviors. We’d like to think we aren’t like other animals, but when left to our own devices, we will behave just like the animals we are. Which is, in many ways, very much like other mammals. So we aren’t just ‘blank slates’, we have an animal nature – a ‘flesh’ nature.
There is one enormous difference between us humans and all other mammals. God created us with a visible body and an invisible mind just like other creatures, but He gave us something extra. God gave us another invisible part – a spirit. That part allows us to communicate directly with God Himself. Now why did He do that?
The book of Genesis describes the creation of the world. It describes the creation of all living things and Genesis 1:28 tells us why God needed human beings to be able to communicate with Him, “And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
We were given responsibility. In nearly every job you’ve ever had you were responsible to your boss. He gave you direction and you answered to him. The same thing is true with God, and that requires communication – hence the added spirit. However, along with that communication comes guidance for a way of living that is very different from our animal nature.
Just like any other part of you (mind or body) your spirit will atrophy if it isn’t exercised regularly. Unfortunately, too many people have allowed their spirit to waste away and when they are confronted with issues that need clear guidance, their communication with God doesn’t work, and they respond like animals.
Responding like an animal isn’t necessarily bad. We have to do many ‘animal’ things just to keep our bodies alive and functioning. However, animals are capable of doing some pretty bad things. Not only can they do those things all by themselves, but animals can be easily manipulated, coaxed and lured into doing things that upset our Creator.
Who would do such a thing? Who would direct us into bad behavior? Who would want to vex our Creator that way? Humans and animals were not the first things God created. There is an entire world of beings made of spirit material without physical bodies – (although sometimes they apparently are able to have bodies … )
Some of those beings are able to and actually take delight in doing some very disgusting things. God has even had to discipline some of them for bad behavior. Consequently not all of them are God’s friends and those few love to irritate Him. One of the ways they do that is to lead our little animal selves astray.
However, if our spirits are strong (through exercise) we are very unlikely to fall into such despicable use. Following the teachings and guidance of Jesus (God manifest in human form) strengthens us and helps us avoid pitting our flesh and blood against such ‘rulers of darkness of this age’. Christ Himself will stand for us against such wicked beings and actually go to battle with them if necessary.
So be strong. You can do that can’t you?
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