Recent Abstract Submission: Animal Personhood and Theistic Animal Ethics

Encouragement to Affection (Prelude): Christian society is inundated with deceptive philosophy that seeks to undermine the brilliance of mind that God has given abundantly. Will you not take the time to analyze what interpretation you are residing upon?; that interpretation could be one of raising a heightened awareness of Truth; but rather not let it be upon an interpretation that is one of the natural brute beast’s perception that only distinguishes right from wrong: God forbid we believe the Truth is a game of right and wrong; God forbid we receive His Word without good conscience; God forbid we approach the Word with the kind of dumb assumptions that typify the zealot without wisdom, and not the wise man with zeal.

Let the Philosopher return to the Christian Church with vengeance,
and let him hammer for Truth.

May God damn the mindless Christianity of our age,
but may we love our brothers and sisters with the ferocity fit for the King.

Amen.

Abstract:
Beasts possess personhood (fysikόs psychē i.e. natural soul). They possess a fleshly body of distinct animal kind, spirit that is breath (ruach), and soul of living form (Job 12:10;) the beastly-soul is identified as following: (1) not of the same human significance i.e. comparably diminished (2) of living form (mental perception, sensation, reasonableness, etc.) and (3) speculative immortality/mortality; but yet, they do not possess the (1) esteem of being created in the imago Dei i.e. the physical-actual imago Dei, nor do they possess (2) the ability of themselves to reason their soul through language in explicit human fashion, nor do they possess (3) the degree of moral awareness that homo sapiens do. In truth, the designations of body, soul, and spirit are given to the beast (fysikόs psychē), whereas humans occupy a necessary triunity with divisions amidst soul (i.e. the exceeding form-life of bestial form-life) and spirit (Heb. 4:12, Luke 10:27), and the absolute privilege of being made in the imago Dei. Nevertheless, triune personhood is not defined solely through the esteem of dominion, or the ability to reason soul through language as some do, nor the moral awareness of humans: triune personhood is defined upon the necessary triunity of being regardless of the degree to which the triunity is expressed or inoculated. Understanding the personhood of beasts is crucial to understand the exceedingly high personhood of man—when the animal kingdom is elevated, man’s dominion is elevated; when man’s dominion is elevated, then the immensely sacred person of man is elevated. The persuasion is that beasts do possess a triune nature, and consequently, ethics should be proposed for the benefit of both man and beast in society.

The beastly-flesh of land was formed from the dust of the earth; let us entertain that the beastly being was breathed on-in spirit; and soon the beast became a living soul i.e. the fysikόs psychē of living form comparable to a human’s living form. Do we have sufficient reason to believe that beasts were not fashioned this way?—with the only principled exception being that man was made in the image of God? What is the imago Dei and why does man get this role? I submit to you that it is not simply because man has a triune nature of which this role is attained, but rather that it is because of man’s physical image. Beasts can undoubtedly occupy a triune nature, however, they cannot occupy the imago Dei. In the sense that metaphoric principles are applied (i.e. “Lamb of God,” “Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” “’Living Beings,’” etc.), then we may entertain the idea and apply theoretical ideas to the image of God, but with regard to the True Reality of God’s image in actual human-bodily manifestation,  we are then wise to affirm that the “The Word [when] became flesh” is indicative of man-flesh, not beast-flesh (John 1:1). Contrary to the thought of many scholastic philosophers, the intellect of man is not the sole reflection of the imago Dei: the imago Dei is principally the physical appearance of the invisible God that manifests in human likeness of body. Yet further, given the exceeding wise nature of animal behavior (Prov. 30:24), we cannot be certain that animals do not possess some sense of natural intellection. Yet even further, we cannot be certain (inasmuch as we know now) that scientific achievement has shown that animals do possess intellect. Withstanding the aforementioned, the discussion of animal personhood remains a distinctly theological and philosophical undertaking—with the foremost emphasis upon the philosophy of analytics in scriptural writings.

Undoubtedly the Preacher holds the Word true when he declares, in view of this temporal life, that: “Humans have no advantage over the animal;” (Ecc. 3:19) and yet, why do we assume preeminence, instead of a proper understanding of dominion wherewith we govern through our language of reason, our moral fiber, and capable physical image whereby we may perceive the ethics of ourselves in the regeneration of Holy Spirit? What is the ethic? The ethic is Rational Compassion: a thought-ethic which seeks to conjoin Siddhartha’s compassion for all living beings, and Solomon’s profession of discerning time and judgment (Ecc. 8:5). Rational Compassion is the withholding of alternate consciousness for the benefit of All; Rational Compassion is promulgation of gentleness through limited assumption in wisdom from above for Love’s chief end; it is the necessary coupling of will and intellect through mind’s reason on behalf of the imago Dei. Rational Compassion is a High Order ethic, and while not a pragmatist’s approach, it is indeed a Higher Order of thought-ethic.

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