the way things were and are not now but will be to come?

Then Hwin, though shaking all over, gave a strange little neigh, and trotted across to the Lion.
“Please,” she said, “you’re so beautiful. You may eat me if you like. I’d sooner be eaten by you than fed by anyone else.”
“Dearest daughter,” said Aslan, planting a lion’s kiss on her twitching, velvet nose, “I knew you would not be long in coming to me. Joy shall be yours.”
“Now, Bree,” he said, “you poor, proud frightened Horse, draw near. Nearer still, my son. Do not dare not to dare. Touch me. Smell me. Here are my paws, here is my tail, these are my whiskers. I am a true Beast.”
“Aslan,” said Bree in a shaken voice, “I’m afraid I must be rather a fool.”
“Happy the Horse who knows that while he is still young. Or the Human either…”

The Horse and His Boy – Chapter 14

I have always thought the Chronicles of Narnia to be a fascinating series. From the dawn of Narnia’s creation, sung into existence by Aslan, we are given a glimpse of biblical Truth through the symbolic tales. Narnia is a world filled with intelligent animals that have the ability to speak. And from a young age, through the reading of these stories, I have always had a curiosity as to what our world would be like if animals could speak.

We know biblically, that before the fall of humanity, before the world was tainted by sin, that the relationship between humans and animals was different than our experience now. What once was a mutually respectful friendship has become a severed relationship. Stephen Webb, describing our original dominion over the animal kingdom, has said, “The fullness of humanity includes the exercise of a proper authority over animals,” (Good Eating, Page 79). And the authority we maintain over the animal population has become polluted by our fallen nature. Do not misunderstand me, I am not building a case for animal rights. I merely imply that the way things are now are not the way they were. However, once the world is fully redeemed, the relationship will be restored.

I wonder, besides our damaged relationship with animals, how else the fall of humanity has affected the animals of the ancient world? Could it have been possible for animals to have had a more intelligent ability to communicate with us? And as crazy as I may sound, could animals have even had the ability to speak? I ask these questions out of biblical inquisitiveness. And there are two illustrations of which have intrigued by curiosity.

Firstly, in the Garden we know that Eve was tempted by the serpent. That serpent, though inhabited by Satan, spoke to Eve. If in the Garden, no animal had the ability to speak, wouldn’t Eve had been surprised or thought it suspicious that an animal be given a voice to communicate through spoken word?

Secondly, when “…the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times'” (Numbers 22:28, ESV), did the donkey initially understand the abuse she was receiving before being given the ability to speak or was she able to comprehend and formulate thought only after God gave her the ability to express herself?

Theologically, I have no evidence to definitively support the notion that animals once had the ability to speak, but I have always found it curiouser and curiouser as to whether they once could. And though I intend to continue my study of this fascination, I maintain my love for these creatures.

“We are meant to keep the company of animals, who are a gift from God to ease our loneliness by drawing out of the human circle and into an experience of otherness that is so surprising it could be utterly sublime,” (Stephen Webb, Good Eating).

2 thoughts on “the way things were and are not now but will be to come?

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