Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
- Genesis 1:26
Nevertheless, you may slaughter your animals in any of your towns and eat as much of the meat as you want, as if it were gazelle or deer, according to the blessing the Lord your God gives you. Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat it. But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.
- Deuteronomy 12:15-16
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
- 2 Samuel 22:34
My wife and I were driving to dialysis on the day that I wrote this. I was actually driving. She had her eyes peeled for what she thought I could not see, like the stop sign a half mile down the road and she started screaming, “Brake! Brake! Brake!” My response is usually, “I will brake when I get there!”
On this occasion, she lamented as we passed the fresh clear cut, as it seems they are putting up a new housing development where there had once been heavy forest.
She asked, “Where will the deer live once they have killed the last tree on earth?”
Okay, a little melodramatic. I was thinking that if they killed the last tree, humanity would have already died off, so we could never kill the last tree, but I quipped that if the deer travel into heavily developed neighborhoods like our own to eat apples from the tree in our neighbor’s yard, they will find bushes to hide behind to bring little fawns into the world.
Then it dawned on me. I had heard that most of the roads and streets in the Pittsburgh area were designed by deer. The Native Americans wore a path following the deer. The settlers saw the path and widened it. The early engineers like George Washington saw the widened path and built a road there. Then the road was paved, with all its strange curves and bumps. Then more lanes were added.
The Native Americans might scream, “We were here first?”
But they did not determine where the roads went. The deer have the last say. “They were here first!”
I have an old friend who started as the “print boy,” delivering engineering drawings, “prints,” to customers and doing odd jobs, like washing the company owner’s car. If you meet him, ask him why it took half the day to wash the Mercedes, and he drove over a hundred miles, when there was a car wash five miles from the office and it should take less than thirty minutes. But this young enterprising young man has become the internet cloud server designer, maintainer, and security expert, working from home since his office was really “on the cloud.”
Anyway, this friend would complain about the deer in the road, that ate your shrubbery and vegetables in your garden. He called deer, “rats with hooves.”
This friend had a point. One friend explained how the deer designed the road system, or lack of a system. The other friend complained that the deer were pests. But to get from step “A” to step “B” you have to realize that the deer were here first, and they do not intend to leave any time soon.
Neither do the rabbits in our back yard nor the mice nor the chipmunks nor the wild turkey nor the ground hogs.
After my wife made her lament, we saw a skunk give us the evil eye from the edge of the golf course. We saw squirrels and rabbits. On my way from the dialysis center, I stopped for a wild turkey to cross the road, as did a school bus coming in the opposite direction. But the strange thing was something that I thought was a few bits of garbage on the edge of the road, but then on closer inspection they were furry members of the rodent family, babies, about the size of a grown man’s thumb, but not that long. If you shaved off the fur, probably the size of the pinky finger, but about an inch long. Tiny things, with tiny legs, scrambling to get off the scary highway.
If these little creatures were mice, I have experience with how dangerous they can be. When I worked for the NASA project, we underwent a budget cut one year and a lot of the staff members were laid off, but since we were moving from the town to the NASA site near the huge TVA lake nearby, we rehired many of the secretaries and such to be wire pullers. They built the main office for the facility on what had once been pasture for the farmer’s horses. You would think once the horses were gone, the field was nothing but dirt and grass. They do not call them field mice for nothing. Remember the famous Robert Burns poem, To a Mouse. The poet had plowed the field and accidently turned over Mrs. Mouse’s home. He apologizes, but he warns the mouse to not think the farmhouse nearby is now her home. The poem ends:
But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
Gang aft agley, [translated often as go oft astray]
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!
- Robert Burns, Last two stanzas of To a Mouse
But how can mice be so dangerous, other than being nasty germ carriers?
Well, the mice were there before the NASA office building was there. Cubicles were set up, but there is a channel at the bottom of each cubicle wall for electrical wires, telephone wires, and network cables. These former secretaries and such would feed a long metal fish tape (metal strip with a hook on the end) through each straight stretch of channel. They would tie the spools of different wires to the hook and start pulling. But about halfway down the stretch of cubicles, the fish tape would still be coming out, but the spools were no longer feeding wire into the channel. The spools had stopped spinning because as the wire was being fed into the channels, the mice were eating the wires. As they pulled what was left out, they had a little strip of good wire, a longer strip of wire with no insulation on it, and then nothing. They tried killing the mice, but that did not work. Finally, the mice decided that a steady diet of wires was a poor diet indeed, and they probably moved to the lawn around the building. A two-week job turned into over three months, with one delay due to delayed shipment of replacement wire.
The mice were there first!
We were created to have dominion over the beasts of the field and the beasts of the forest. As part of that dominion, we must care for these beasts. I know people want to upgrade to a nicer home, but I have mentioned before that we could be a little smarter in our selection of the land and our methods of ensuring a clean, organic-free foundation for the new houses, and the bonus would be that it would be easier to establish a rich lawn if we did everything else in an environmentally friendly way.
Let us not throw away our responsibility just because we question God’s Holy Word in Genesis 1. And I have often mentioned that we have gone onto dangerous ground by questioning any part of the Bible.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.