Monday, April 13, 2009

The Theology of the Death of a Cat.

I have often laughed at the old joke about Cat vs. Dog Theology.  It goes like this: the cat looks at the master and says, "This person loves me and is feeding me and taking care of me.  I must be a great god!"  A dog looks at the master and says, "This person loves me and is feeding me and taking care of me.  He must be a great god!"  While I love cats there is some truth to this and modern Christianity is shot through with this feline theology.

On a real note though I have been pondering real Bible Theology as we bade farewell to Hobbes, our cat of 14 years.  He was sick and old and senile and today at 4:30 his life came to a quiet end.  As I held him in my lap today and tried to imagine life without him in our family I talked with my daughters about what our religion teaches us about this kind of situation.  While I am sentimental at the loss of this pet I want to be clear from the beginning that I do not think that Hobbes was any more like me than I am like God.  I think that people have souls that will live somewhere forever.  However wonderful our pets are they are not eternal beings.

The first thing I thought of was the awfulness of our sin.  I feel sorry for animals.  They were part of God's perfect creation.  They were created "very good," according to Genesis 1.  But they became part of a sin cursed world because of our sin (Genesis 3) and along with all the rest of creation they suffer (Romans 8:22).  The nice thing about the Bible is that whenever it points to the awfulness of sin it always points toward the redemption of God (e.g. Psalm 51).

This led me to the realization that even the death of the family pet can and indeed should direct our gaze back to the Amazing Grace and Mercy of Almighty God!  While we said our farewell's today we thanked God for making animals that can be pets.  For allowing us to enjoy the contented purring of a cat asleep on our lap.  And for giving us a glimpse of the perfection that creation will resume when Christ comes again to remake the world.

I believe that God created all things for His Own Glory and that includes house cats!