Divine Mercy to Animals

March 20, 2011

The book of Jonah reveals the great mercy of God through its record about Jonah and God’s dealings with him because of his unwillingness to deliver His message to the wicked city of Nineveh. Jonah was unwilling to deliver God’s message because He knew the merciful character of God and did not want the Ninehevites to receive mercy (Jon. 4:1-3). By subjecting Jonah to great affliction, God finally brought him to willingness to deliver that message to them. After Jonah did so, God dealt with him about his ungodly lack of compassion.

In the final scene of the book, God rebukes Jonah for his displeasure at His sparing the Ninevehites. He first points out how Jonah had pity on a plant when it perished, even though he had not labored for it or made it to grow (4:9-10). In the final words of the book, He then rebukes him by saying, “And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” (Jon. 4:11).

This great verse reveals the heart of God in a wonderful way. Through a rhetorical question that expects a positive answer, God made known that He should spare a vast multitude of people in that wicked city who in some manner did not know which hand was which. To me, this statement provides a basis for believing that babies, small children, and people who are severely mentally handicapped go to heaven when they die.

Interestingly, God does not stop with his statement about the people that He wanted to spare in Nineveh. His final words reveal that He held that He also should have spared the abundant cattle that were in the city.

Why did God inform Jonah of this fact? He apparently wanted to make known to Jonah (and to us) that His great mercy extended even to animals that would have perished.

Jonah’s message brought about the repentance of the Ninehevites (Lk. 11:32), a repentance that resulted in the sparing of many helpless people and animals. Christ has commissioned His people to proclaim repentance and remission of sins to all nations (Lk. 24:47). We know that He commissioned that message because God desires that no one would perish (2 Pet. 3:9). From what we know about God’s dealings with the Ninehevites, should we understand that Christ also intends that the proper reception by all nations of His commissioned message would be a means of providing divine mercy in some manner to many animals?

Rajesh

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Copyright © 2011-2017 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

7 responses to Divine Mercy to Animals

  1. When it comes to children, how do we get around Christ saying”no man cometh to the Father but by me”? If some groups are automatically saved, why not others?

    • I specified small children and mean those children who do not yet have the basic ability to understand and respond to abstract truth statements. I believe that God is gracious to these young children in the same manner that he is to babies and people with severe mental handicaps who have never had ability to understand much of anything.

      I do not see that what I am saying is getting around what Christ said. God still saves these people through what Christ did, etc.

      • How do you understand psalm 58 especially verse 3?

        • I believe what the Psalm says, including verse 3. A baby, however, has no ability to understand and obey the gospel. God could condemn babies if He saw fit to do so, but I do not believe that He does. When Jesus returns in glory in flaming fire, He takes vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 1:8). As I see it, this would not apply to those who are mentally incapable of obeying it.

          Do you believe that babies who are born with profound mental retardation also speak lies as soon as they be born? If so, are you attributing to them culpable mental ability (to distinguish truth from a lie) that they are unable to display in any other form?

          • God knows not only who a person will be but what a person would have been. Children (babies) are saved based on that as well as the mentally ill.

          • Yours is a common view on that issue. I do not hold that view for a number of reasons. Perhaps, some day when we meet, we can have that discussion. Trying to discuss election/predestination/foreknowledge on line would demand far more time than I have right now. I also do not care much for discussions that focus heavily on theological terms, formulations, and systems rather than Bible texts.

            My point in this article was about the info about animals; how does God’s holding that he should bestow mercy on those cattle fit with what he said about the people in Nineveh?

          • I understand brother.