On Divine Displeasure with Subhuman Entities

October 31, 2020

Scripture reveals that God pronounced everything that He had made very good after He had finished His original work of creating everything (Gen. 1:31). After the Fall of man, however, it reveals that God has repeatedly made clear His displeasure with many angelic beings and many human beings.

Certain passages even raise the issue of divine displeasure with subhuman entities after the Fall, but do these passages really show God’s displeasure with them? The following treatment examines such passages and attempts to provide at least some understanding of them.

Cursing of the Serpent

God cursed the serpent for its role in the Fall of man:

Genesis 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

His cursing the serpent shows His displeasure with it because of its sinful role in the deceiving of Eve.

Judgment of Beasts That Shed Human Blood

After the Noahic Flood, God revealed that He would hold accountable all beasts that shed human blood:

Genesis 9:5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.

Later revelation that ordained the killing of oxen that gored humans shows God’s displeasure with animals that kill humans:

Exodus 21:29 But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.

These passages teach us that God is displeased with animals that kills humans.

Cursing of a Fig Tree

Christ cursed a fig tree, showing His displeasure with it:

Mark 11:21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.

Remarkably, this passage reveals divine displeasure that was not even with an animal, but with a plant!

Cursing of Certain Lands

Whereas Scripture revealed that God cursed the ground after the Fall of man (Gen. 3:17), that revelation does not provide any indication of differences in God’s dealings with the ground depending on its having or not having certain characteristics. Later revelation, however, shows that some lands yet are blessed of God but others incur His displeasure:

Hebrews 6:7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

This passage is noteworthy because it shows that God is even displeased with certain lands that are not fruitful in the ways that they should be and produce things that are not desirable for them to bring forth.

Discussion

The passages discussed above reveal divine displeasure with various subhuman entities, including certain animals and plants. Scripture even reveals divine displeasure with certain lands!

How do we explain such displeasure? Certainly, God’s cursing of the serpent resulted from its sinful actions in deceiving Eve. Perhaps, we can even understand His ordering the execution of animals that shed human blood as resulting from their sinful actions.

Understanding divine displeasure with a fig tree and with lands, however, hardly could be the result of their having sinned. It seems that God’s displeasure with these entities must stem in some humanly inexplicable way in connection with the bondage of corruption to which God subjected all creation (Rom. 8:20-21).

Conclusion

Divine displeasure with something does not always result from the sinfulness of the entity itself. At least for some subhuman entities, such displeasure seems to display a noteworthy aspect of the Curse on the entire Creation that we cannot explain but must nevertheless account for in our theology of the state of all things after the Fall of man.

Rajesh

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