Do animals have rights?

An animal rights activist said in a recent article, "There is no clear distinction between us and the animals." If you base your beliefs on this false assumption, you must conclude that animals do have rights. This New Age philosophy is derived from beliefs in reincarnation and pantheism.

First of all, reincarnation is antithetical to the Bible (Hebrews 9:27), as is pantheism (Deuteronomy 6:4). You cannot believe these and claim to believe God's Word. It's true that both animals and humans are part of God's creation, but are distinct with respect to their characteristics and roles.

God simply made animals according to their individual species. He reserved for man, however, a unique characteristic. God bestowed on man His image, an eternal spirit (Genesis 1:24-27). God also made man steward over the earth, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over every living thing . . . on the earth" (Genesis 1:28). Simply put, God created the earth for the pleasure and sustenance of His unique creation, man.

Our home on earth is a privilege, and with privilege comes responsibility. Adam had the privilege of living in the Garden of Eden, but had the responsibility to "tend and keep it" (Genesis 2:15). Animals are not equal with man. They are created to be used by man - not wastefully or inhumanely (Proverbs 12:10) - but in a manner consistent with a faithful steward (Matthew 25:21).

Taken from Adrian Rogers' weekly newspaper column. Used by permission. 2001, The Commercial Appeal.