Dog mourning 2
Meditation and Reflection

Italy earthquake: the dog who waits and grieves by his master's coffin

 

Perhaps you have to be a dog-owner to understand this bond of devotion. Just as a man will grieve for his best friend, so the best friend will grieve for his master. They just can’t let go. How can they, when the hand that stroked it, the legs that walked it and the soothing voice that whispered ‘Good boy, good boy’ all suddenly disappear? There was a loud noise, a rumble, lots of banging, crumbling and darkness. And then he’s gone.

A whole world is swallowed in an earthquake. All dogs can do is run and bark. They don’t care if 281 people die and thousands are made homeless. They only care about one man and one home. Theirs. Selfish, perhaps, but they like to lick a familiar face and jump up a friendly soul. There’s clawing and scratching and lots of slobber. That’s love, that is. Some might think it a bit hurty and a lot messy, but, well.. it’s doggy.

Death is hard. All that was warm and cuddly goes cold and distant. The collar doesn’t chink any more. The lead doesn’t come, the ears don’t flap. Who cares about dinner when the hand that feeds you isn’t the hand that stroked you every day since you were a puppy? It isn’t your kitchen. It isn’t your bowl. And your master has been bunged in a big box. You can smell him, but it’s a bit different. You can’t climb in with him, like you could jump on his bed and bounce and lick and bounce and bounce. It’s all hard and cold. You can’t bounce on hard and cold.

Dogs have souls. They do. They really do. You might not think it when they come barking and bounding into the hallway with muddy paws and a soaked coat of matted fuzz, but look into their eyes when you’re sad, and you’ll know they care. It’s a spiritual thing. They want to be with you day and night, eating, watching telly, and settling on your pillow to sleep. They don’t care about the slobber and teeth marks and fur everywhere as they and roam their pad and gnaw felt squid and squeaky octopus. What’s theirs is theirs and what’s yours is theirs.

It’s happy being a puppy, but getting older takes a different bite. When daddy fades away and disappears, all that’s left are dreams of splashing in streams and running through fields of buttercups. Watch the twitching paws when they sleep, and listen to their whimpers. That’s joy and bliss, choosing which toy to take from their box, and chasing uncatchable birds in a garden of adventure. When you cry, they want to comfort. When you leave, their life stops. The house is empty, and the garden is just dirt. O, they can sleep on another sofa or dig under a strange fence, but it’s not the same without their soulmate.

It’s okay. You’re in a big, cold box, but I am watching over you. I will stay at your side. Thank you for being my friend.

  • Martin

    Dogs are wonderful, but they don’t have souls. Sorry.

    • bluedog

      But they have personalities. So how do you define the soul?

      • Martin

        I used to keep field mice which have amazing personalities. It always amazed me how such tiny creatures could have such different personalities, but they don’t have a soul, that part of us that communes with God.

        • dexey

          ….”but they don’t have a soul, that part of us that communes with God.” … and how can you possibly know that?

          • Anton

            A little birdie told me.

          • dexey

            …and pigs might fly.

          • Anton
          • Martin

            Dexey

            Can they sin?

          • magnolia

            Of course.

          • Martin

            Magnolia

            Then are you saying they do sin and therefore need a Saviour?

        • bluedog

          Field mice are a mammalian species, related to laboratory mice, and both exhibit traits close enough to humans for them to be used as guinea-pigs (who also have personalities) in testing drugs and for example, carcinogens. Are you able to define the precise attribute that enables humans to be declared, by another human, as having souls whereas mice, dogs and other mammals do not, in your opinion?

          This question would appear to go to the heart of the current drive towards animal rights, which transcends the previous emphasis on animal welfare.

          • Martin

            Man is made in the image of God, brute animals are not.

          • bluedog

            Says the human. But if the Lord created the entire earth and all that therein is, what then?

          • Martin

            Since the animals do not have the capacity to do so.

          • bluedog

            Capacity to do what?

          • Martin

            Send a message to this board.

          • bluedog

            Got it! So Cranmer’s blog is after all evidence of divinity.

          • Martin

            BD

            No, humanity. Do try to keep up.

          • Anton

            Would also help to define a soul!

    • Ian G

      Like us, they are souls. OT – Genesis man became a living being (nephesh- soul). Do they have eternal spirits? We’re not told, but the whole of creation groans in travail. Will they be in it? Why not? Creation without the innocent sould we have loved?

      • Martin

        Ian

        I’m not convinced the nephesh is that restricted a meaning. Yes, Creation groans but the animals do not have an understanding that we do. I’m afraid we just read back into animals our own emotions.

        • magnolia

          It’s hard to imagine that the song of all creation (a biblical theme) happens without representation from the higher non-human animals. Besides which why is Jesus described as riding on a white horse? By your reasoning we sentimentalists should not be encouraged like that to think that heaven is not depleted of animals.

          Do you imagine heaven as having trees but no birds? Fruit but no bees or butterflies? Is the rich and exciting abundance of lifeforms on earth to be superseded by existence with only one? Or two if you count the angels? Did God make a mistake when he created this varied world, all these incredible animals boasted about in the end of the book of Job, lovingly brought to safety in the Noah story? Just seems illogical and non-scriptural to me. And to St Francis, and so many others…..

          • Martin

            Magnolia

            Heaven has no animals at all, only spiritual being are there and we will be without our bodies. The new Earth will doubtless have life in all its pre-Fall completeness, but that is different.

            Do not, though, imagine that such images as riders on a white horse are meant to represent a physical reality. They are pictures of spiritual reality in terms we can understand.

          • magnolia

            I think St John could easily have excised that image and put in another one had he not wished to lead us into thinking animals were in heaven, don’t you?

            The fact is that he would have been astonished at an idea of Heaven without animals, which is a post-enlightenment concept that you have mixed with post-industrial thought and 20th -21st Century suburban England which all too often values little of creation between a person and a plant. So the idea of lesser creation that is flowers and plants (which I respect greatly) being in Heaven is fine with some today, but not more sophisticated life forms like higher mammals, which in the Bible are presented as higher forms of life that God creates later, and is more pleased by.

          • Martin

            Magnolia

            I think you need to stop taking apocalyptic visions of spiritual truth as physical visions. The horse is a representation of power and authority, the mobile warrior of the time. That is the picture being presented.

    • IanCad

      Martin, Neither we nor animals have souls – we Become souls.

      • Martin

        Ian

        We are composed of 2, possibly three, natures. We have a physical nature, like every other animal, we also have a non material side, the soul. Sin causes the death of the soul, its inability to connect with God. The first resurrection raises the soul back to life.

  • bluedog

    Great post. Bravo.

  • Royinsouthwest

    It is a very touching and well written post. It is strange how taking just a few minutes (as a reader not a writer) to look at the Italian earthquake tragedy from the standpoint of the dog that has lost its master can make us emphasise more with all those people who have lost loved ones or friends as a result of the earthquake. The newspapers are so often full of bad news that often their reports of such tragedies, though informative, do not make one feel so conscious of the suffering, except at an intellectual level, as this post does.

    • IanCad

      A very perceptive point Roy.

    • David

      A valid point well teased out there by you, so thank you.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    I was deeply moved when I read this.

  • Dreadnaught

    Dogs have ‘souls’ are you serious? Three hundred crushed to death as they slept, but let’s focus on a sad eyed spaniel? – bloody hell, this is as mawkish as the baby body on the beach picture that ignored the images of thousands of bodies blown to bits by Assad’s barrel bombs.

    Anthropomorphic sentimentality over-riding the reality more likely.
    Faith based philosophies, are designed and framed to be interpreted and applied to suit any occasion or anycontext. Christians [in this instance] and in general love dogs and ascribe to them a degrees of humanistic virtues – Ahhhh. Muslims abhor dogs – Arrrrgh! and will boot you out of your taxi el pronto, blind or not. Koreans and many more cultures, just love to eat them to celebrate something or other of a spiritual or ‘cultural’ nature – Yummy! They all think their position is correct and perfectly acceptable.
    Dogs are descended from pack animals dominated by an Alpha Male but now in the West especially, he has been substituted by a nurture giving human. The dog in question is wondering where its next bowl of scoff is coming from. Until that is, the universal law of hunger and natural survival kicks in and the bond is broken with no ‘sin’ attached or required; ask any Arctic dweller or explorer; that is the norm in nature: it’s a dog eat dog world.

    ‘Starving dog eats dead owner’s leg after his body lay undiscovered for four weeks’ One could say dogs love us for very similar reasons…

    http://edition.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/europe/05/15/austria.dog/index.html
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/starving-dog-eats-dead-owners-5990874

    just sayin’…

    • IanCad

      Dredders – I’m sure you would not have to search very far to discover instances of hungry humans eating their beloved relatives when circumstances dictate.
      Animals most surely have the same emotions we – or rather, most of us – have. To claim otherwise would indicate a life lived without the blessed companionship of our fellow mortals.

    • Inspector General

      There is merit in what you say, Dredders, but the Inspector would have put it more “steady on chaps, let’s get a sense of perspective here…”

      • Dreadnaught

        It’s a slow day on t’ Cut lad – enjoy your Lakeland sojourn.

        • Inspector General

          The Inspector is working on our embryonic business plan, Dredders. Bringing celebrities urine to their devoted faithful. It could be the next big thing in this land of peasants (with money)…and worth a punt…

          • Dreadnaught

            Thats it Inspector! We shall advertise on Pee-Bay – I can see it now “Urine-fine Company with Celebrity Kidney Juice”.

          • Inspector General

            Let the harvest begin! Now. Where’s Jamie Oliver’s number. For some reason, the Inspector feels the honour of being first should go to him…

          • Dreadnaught

            After you Old Bean – after you.

          • Inspector General

            Oh, alright, the reason for today’s levity…The Inspector has been laughing his silly head off for the best part of an hour now…

            “Man charged after switching lube with acid in Sydney gay sex club” (PN).

            The inmates are far from amused…

          • What surprised Jack was that anal lube was provided by these establishments alongside soap. How low we’ve fallen.

          • Anton

            That story reached the BBC:

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-37211348

            This extract speaks for itself:

            A 62-year-old man was arrested after allegedly filling a lubricant dispenser with hydrochloric acid at… “gay and bi social club” Aarows in northwest Sydney… One club-goer, who chose not to be identified, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. it was a “sick” thing to do… When asked what may have motivated the suspect, the man said: “It could be anything really. People are perverted.”

          • Well, h wasn’t motivated by love, that’s for sure. What a wicked thing to do.

            This shocked me too: “Aarows openly markets itself as “Sydney’s premier health, recreation and social centre, where safe sex is permitted regardless of gender”.
            Perversion generates it’s own reaction, but not always an appropriate one. It’s the way our universe works.

    • carl jacobs

      Geez Louise, Dreadnaught. The post is not about the dog. It’s about the void that remains after the death of a man. The dog is simply the vehicle by which that void is revealed. You have completely missed the point.

      • Dreadnaught

        My response was about dogs having souls. I have missed nothing –

        • carl jacobs

          The anthropomorphization is a literary device used to make a point. Like Call of the Wild. Charlotte’s Web. Animal Farm. Thomas the Tank Engine for goodness sake. The human tragedy is the entire point. The post is to be seen as through the reflection in a mirror. You are taking this way too literally.

          • Dreadnaught

            Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human-like qualities onto non-human subjects, such as inanimate objects, plants, animals, and the like. I don’t think this fits exclusively with your literary device concept.
            I saw the post as a simple, uncomplicated example of canine loyalty.
            However, Christians may have seen the dog as representative of mankind; grieving at the tomb of a loving master [Jesus] and thereby offering some kind of juxtaposition of the love and expectation of the Crucifixion and mortality in a parable example between the two dimensions or not… as the case may be.

          • Like describing God, who is Eternal Spirit and so without gender, as masculine and as Our Father.

      • DanJ0

        In that case, I missed it too and continue to miss it.

        • carl jacobs

          … must be a feature of the British education system …

          • A Catholic education gives one a solid grounding in metaphor, analogy and simile, Carl.

          • DanJ0

            What’s it saying obliquely about deaths, voids, and grief that I expect almost all of us don’t already know directly? I’ve even tried swapping bits out to try to replicate a Jesus-acolyte relationship but that doesn’t work consistently either. I recall a past article using that abused dog video, you see.

            For me, it is really about the dog. Dogs live in the moment for the most part. I can rationalise the deaths of the people, and understand the impact for the survivors when I look into the future. My empathy is with the dog specifically because it can’t, and that makes its loss more poignant.

      • No. No, no, Carl. This will not do. Please stick to literal interpretations. The use of analogy is fraught with danger.

        • carl jacobs

          You’re mocking me, aren’t you.

          • *mea culpa*

          • carl jacobs

            That’s almost believable.

          • But you don’t know the mind or intention of the author, Carl. You’ve read it one way, Dreadnaught and DanJo have read it a different way. Without HG revealing his meaning, who can say who’s correct?

          • carl jacobs

            “Mea culpa” is an admission of guilt. You have condemned yourself.

          • An admission of guilt does not result in condemnation, Carl.

  • Jill

    (Wipes away tears.) Yes, doggies are very loyal, and the expressions on their faces are easy to read. I am more of a cat person myself, and I don’t think any of my cats would have sat by my coffin looking mournful. More likely to be thinking ‘who is going to feed me now?’.

    • Anton

      Dogs are pack animals and regard their owner either as above them in the pack hierarchy (that is a ‘well trained’ dog) or below them (which is what a ‘badly trained’ dog really is – it tries to tell you what to do and to protect you when you don’t need it). When you see the scrapping that goes on for position in the hierarchy you realise that affection is partly anthropomorphic projection. Though not entirely, either in the case of cats or dogs…

      There is, in the private garden of a certain ancient academic institution, a cemetery for pets of a Victorian/Edwardian Head of House. One gravestone inscription speaks of a “loyal cat”!

      • magnolia

        Some are now saying that they are more loose associaters than pack animals.

        At any rate when our dog showers affection upon a recently met total stranger who will never cross paths again with said dog hierarchy doesn’t seem to figure in the least, just abundant over-spilling of love.

        • Inspector General

          Right – which of you rotters has pinched the Inspector’s vomit bowl…

          • magnolia

            Obviously not a dog owner. Try this:

            That is how dogs welcome…even after many months, when many would think they might have adjusted or forgotten.

          • Anton

            Not only dogs… have you come across the tale (sic) of Christian the lion?

          • Martin

            IG

            Sorry, but my need was greater than yours.

          • magnolia

            If you find innocent and exuberant affection a matter for the sick bowl there is no help for you whatsoever, because love is the chief aim of the universe.

            Since this is very clear in the bible I feel sure you must be making a rather poor joke therefore as you could not possibly be such miserable gits and orthodox Christians

          • carl jacobs

            Animals cannot be innocent because they cannot be guilty. They have no moral nature. They have no capacity to perform a moral act. There is a vast difference between “God created” and “Let us make man in our image.”

          • Erik Dahlberg

            Would you say that dogs have a conscience? I know that that word is rather loaded; I mean do they have, in your opinion, the ability to feel regret (for example)?

          • carl jacobs

            They understand the authority that comes from strength. They don’t feel regret. They understand dominance and submission.

          • magnolia

            They usually understand what is or is not wanted and look deeply guilty when discovered messing around! Does looking guilty imply a conscience? I would think so. I think just about anyone who has lived with a dog for more than two weeks and taken time and trouble to relate to them creature to creature knows that.

          • Which means animals cannot go to Hell …. but this doesn’t rule out Heaven.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Heaven is the abode of souls, not bodies.

          • Jesus ascended, body and soul.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Presumably you don’t believe Jesus is a special case.

          • Rule and Raven

            Well said, Magnolia!

            They are both, in their own different ways, “miserable gits”.

          • Martin

            Magnolia

            No, it’s the sloppy sentimentalism and anthropomorphism that is getting to me.

            And the first object of our love must be God.

          • magnolia

            God the Creator? He asks us to admire his Creation. How do you read the last portion of Job?

            Is anthropocentrism very beautiful?

            Anthropomorphism? Surely that should be defined after we have correctly assessed animals. To deny that most dogs show extraordinary fidelity and love, and sometimes some breeds in particular show great capacity for loving self-sacrifice is not to deny some dogs are scoundrels, nor to suggest any dog can read, though some understand many words.

            Indeed dogs can teach us. Whilst humans tend to make all kinds of excuses when God calls, and have done so for centuries, to the sadness and consternation of the Almighty, most good dogs come instantly when whistled.

          • Martin

            Magnolia

            As someone has already said, dogs are pack animals and show loyalty to their pack. It’s their instinct.

            And God blessed Job?

        • Anton

          Are you sure that this isn’t a canine action intended to see how the other will respond?

      • IanCad

        After seeing several photos from the recent Glastonbury Collective, I can only conclude that man is a pack animal.
        Then there are the Olympics, TV, Super Bowl…….

        • Anton

          A party animal?

  • David

    As a former dog owner, I found this to be a very moving piece. Given the close friendship some animals offer us, especially dogs, I’d like to think that we will be reunited with them after death. However Scripture gives us little comfort in that wish. So I shall simply trust in the wisdom of God on that one.

  • magnolia

    Excellent piece. I agree with every word. Dogs are capable of immense love, devotion, and a whole array of carefully calibrated soulful looks. If you can see the soul in a creature’s eyes, yes, dogs definitely have souls. How can you do soulful without a soul?

    Tales abound that go way beyond reward-seeking. The Longest Journey, Greyfriars Bobby and so on, also including videos of dogs who become ecstatic when owners/ carers-often in the armed services- return after up to 2 years away.

    Having once or twice been on the receiving end of the wisdom of those who don’t think dogs have souls when mourning the death of a dog it feels like being run over by a tractor which reverses and runs back over you again. And again.

    And Luther, Calvin, Wesley and C.S. Lewis all agreed. Not bad company!

    • Inspector General

      Every dog needs to work on its soulful look, Mags.

      • magnolia

        The gallery of soulful looks some of them have makes A list actors look like they possess a very limited repertoire indeed!

        • Inspector General

          Indeed. The art of how to go about getting your way when biting is out of the question. Perhaps one day you’ll see the Inspector’s finest in forlorn – looking at an empty pint glass…

          • IanCad

            Or when a prisoner of the pink gestapo.

    • David

      I was aware that C.S.Lewis gave us some hope that dogs will be taken into heaven. But are you saying Magnolia that Luther, Calvin and Wesley thought the same way ?

      • magnolia

        A few quotations:
        “The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made his greatest gift the commonest.” (Luther)

        “Be thou comforted, little dog, thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail.” (Luther)

        “The whole brute creation will….undoubtedly be restored, not only to the vigour, strength and swiftness which they had at their creation but to a far higher degree of each than they ever enjoyed….As a recompense for what they [animals] once suffered they shall enjoy happiness for their state.” (John Wesley)

        “It was a kind of restoration of the former state of things when God brought to Noah those animals which he intended should be preserved.” (Calvin|)

        I think there are better Calvin quotations, but I’m short of time.

        And just for good measure,

        “I think God will have prepared everything for our perfect happiness. If it takes my dog being there [in Heaven] I believe he’ll be there.”
        (Billy Graham)

        I think it was mostly assumed that animals had souls until the Enlightenment, so sometimes theologians didn’t bother being explicit. I think it is the Reformed position, but also the RC and Orthodox one too….

        • Inspector General

          …and perhaps the greatest of all…

          “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t bring that dog in here, mate.”

        • David

          Many thanks.

    • Old Nick

      Augustine too, whose festival it is today. He deliberately allows dogs in church and the history which his (not very bright) pupil Orosius dedicated to him begins with a disquisition on the faithfulness of dogs (citing Tobit).

  • Dogs have souls. They do. They really do

    By contrast, Islamic law classes dogs as filth, along with pigs and excreta. Come the great demographic conquest, will our new Muslim rulers smile kindly on dogs or exterminate them? Answers on a postcard, please.

    Judging by Christian support for Third World immigration and diversity, Christians are unruffled by the prospect of future generations of the faithful being persecuted by Islam. Perhaps the thought of their little doggy friends being butchered will bring some of them to their senses.

    • Martin

      JR

      I think you need to distinguish between liberal churchians and Christians.

    • Inspector General

      You last sentence, JR. Stranger things have happened…probably…

    • Anton

      As you must surely be aware, you are at a blog where most Christians deplore today’s wild levels of Islamic immigration. Please do not assume that Christians are of one mind on the subject. Even within the CoE I suspect there is a gulf between pew and bishop.

      Nevertheless, when some yapping Jack Russell is trying to hump my leg or push his nose into my crotch or lick me all over, or when some friend’s over-excited dog makes a horrible mess on the carpet, I have sometimes thought that Muslims have a point. Cats do none of those things, of course…

      • @ Anton—Christians who attend a denomination which supports Muslim immigration or who vote for one of the political parties responsible for Muslim immigration are condemning future generations of Christians to persecution. My comment is directed to them. I know of only one Christian minister whose conscience is clear on both counts, the Revd Robert West.

        • Anton

          Deciding where to worship involves many factors, not just one. But I gladly assure you that I am not in the categories you refer to.

    • DanJ0

      I’ve spent time in the mountains of Morocco and they have dogs as burglar alarms there. They’re looked after, just outside the home.

      • IanCad

        I wonder if all the Arab/Islamists get unfairly tarred with the same brush.
        There is after all the magnificent Saluki hunting dog much beloved of the desert falconers.

        • The Explorer

          And the Afghan hound.

          • IanCad

            That was far too obvious for me to think of!
            This whole Islam dog thing needs a revision.

      • The Explorer

        As I understand it, Muslims may not keep dogs as pets, but they may own them for a specific purpose: hunting, guarding livestock, or guarding crops.

    • Old Nick

      But Zoroastrians value dogs to such an extent that no Zoroastrian is deemed truly dead until a dog has been brought in to perform the ritual of looking at him.

  • Inspector General

    From ‘Pikeys – Our Friends…

    “…Pikeys are enormously proud of these noble beasts [their dogs…], bred by them since time immemorial. Tall, gentle, faithful and elegant, the exact origins of the breed are lost in the mists of time and it is only today, with modern advances in genetic science that we have begun to unravel their history. Scientists have, thus far, managed to ascertain a few breeds that have gone into the Pike Hound’s make-up; namely wolf, fox, German Shephard, Rottweiler, Doberman, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pitbull, Neapolitan Mastiff, Wolfhound, jackal, and English Bull Terrier”

  • David

    As an aside an attack on a Catholic priest, during the service, is reported from Indonesia. The attacker was carrying a bag with the symbol of the Islamic “State” on it. Fortunately members of the congregation overpowered the attacker and the priest has survived the stabbing.

  • The Explorer

    It would not be unreasonable for a dog or cat to wonder who would feed it next with the death of its owner. After all, we have removed them from their natural habitat (unless they’re rural) and placed them in an environment of dependency in which it is difficult for them to fend for themselves.

    But I don’t see why that would mean there could not also be genuine affection and, in their terms, genuine grief. I saw a documentary about meerkats in which one was taken by a hawk. The sounds the others made may simply have been the alert: but they sounded also like mourning.

    • Attachment and, therefore, separation anxiety is experienced by all sentient creatures.

  • Ah, but would he give you his last Malteser?

    • sarky

      He would, but he can’t open the packets.

      • Uncle Brian

        I bet he can if you let him. Ours can open just about any packaging short of tins, provided the smell of what’s inside is appetising enough..

        • sarky

          Good point, mine did manage a whole stollen last Christmas.

          • Anton

            I remember the discussion that led to here…

  • The Explorer

    Could be handy in a certain situation.

  • Anton

    Because the one of you at home knows when the returning one is imminent and puts the kettle on, and the dog has learnt that the kettle goes on shortly before someone gets home? Or you live in a quiet area where the sound of your car engine is audible to dogs up to two minutes before, and is distinct from the noise of other engines?

    Tests have been done in which the owner returned at random times without anybody in the house knowing when, and the dog did know know until he or she heard or saw.

    • sarky

      None of the above.

      Myself and my wife don’t have set finishing times and we live in a town.
      As for tests, I can only go on my dogs behaviour.

    • Uncle Brian

      In our case I’m pretty sure it can only be the distinctive sound of the car engine. If any of us arrives – as we all do from time to time – as a passenger in someone else’s car, there’s never a welcoming committee. That happens only when it’s our own car, in which case the dogs can detect it at a maximum distance of about 200 yards. It’s a very quiet country area.

  • chefofsinners

    This is the second article Cranmer has written in not very long seeking to suggest that dogs might live forever. ‘They have soulful eyes and therefore have souls’ seems to be about the extent of the theology. It is, of course, complete poppycock.
    What of the dog which recently killed a child? A place in hell?
    Go to China or Switzerland where dogs are regularly eaten and try preaching this dogma. You will be laughed out of town.
    Or if non-humans have eternal life do we look forward to meeting the smallpox virus in heaven?
    No, humans and humans only are made in the image of God. Enough of this twaddle.

    • IanCad

      Now Chef, you are getting yourself into a complete tizzy.
      Have you been bitten by a dog? Scratched by a cat? For, if you have not then I would applaud the first beast that would sink its fangs into your cold, soulless flesh.
      Show me a man who dislikes animals and I will show you one who is fearful, selfish, unimaginative and thoroughly bad company.
      You disappoint me – from Chief to Chef. What’s next; Animal Control Officer?
      The Lord Our God created man and beast. One day we may walk with the lamb and the lion in the earth made new. Till then, all creation groaneth together. We are made in the image of God. He made the animals, He planted the trees, His work shall not be in vain.

      • bluedog

        Very good, IC.

      • chefofsinners

        Some bits of creation groaneth more than others. I groaneth when I readeth sentimental self-indulgent dog’s dinner theology.

        • You heartless person, you.

          • chefofsinners

            I am in fact about 95% vegetarian, for animal welfare reasons. My family pets include a rescue greyhound and two rescue donkeys. Check the origin of your shoe leather before you label me heartless. I just don’t think animals live forever.

          • Jack adores donkeys …. Reminds him of his childhood days in rural Ireland visiting his grandparents.

          • chefofsinners

            Your grandparents were donkeys?

          • They’re certainly in Heaven.

          • chefofsinners

            Probably had soulful eyes.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Not in purgatory? How can you possibly know?

          • Come now. Never heard of indulgences granted to the dead, by spiritual acts of mercy by the living, to shorten time purgatory?

          • Dominic Stockford

            That doesn’t answer my question. As YOU know perfectly well, as purgatory has been invented (the way it is) no-one can have the slightest idea how long anyone will be there, and thus can have no certainty that anyone, ever, has left it.

          • Plenary indulgences ….

        • IanCad

          A good and funny answer!!

    • magnolia

      Genesis 1 “And God saw that it was good” Twaddle? Because the animals were all a big mistake? Saving the animals via Noah. Waste of time? So you look forward to some kind of heaven with plasticine trees with no life in them and concrete corridors? With birdless skies, and dead fishless water? With meadows with no butterflies? And as for the song of all creation? Well all creatures of our God and King would have no voice to sing it, would they? That would make scripture a fool as well as Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and countless other theologians.

      Sounds deadly to me, and not how God self-describes, not just once nor twice but repeatedly.

      • chefofsinners

        Many questions. First and foremost, don’t base your theology on hymns. Second, don’t base it on the opinions of theologians. Be a theologian yourself. In response to the scriptures you mention, none of them indicates that animals will be resurrected or that they have eternal souls, which is my point.
        There will very likely be animals of some form in the eternal state, but we are not told that. It is pure speculation. The beauty of the Lamb of God, in whom all the riches of God are displayed, will be the mesmerising focus of worship throughout eternity.

        • magnolia

          I was basing it on scripture, as that part of the canticle of St. Francis was itself. Scripture, reason, tradition and experience accord.

          The very fact that animal imagery is used is worth pondering, but Jesus is anyway first described in the Book of Revelation as being on horseback. Doesn’t say what sort of horse. I imagine more puissance than dressage!!

          • chefofsinners

            Which scriptures tell us that there will be animals in heaven?

    • Royinsouthwest

      Without meaning to be rude your comments on this topic do tend to give the impression that you have less empathy with others than does the dog in this article does for its dead owner.

      • chefofsinners

        Empathy is a luxury that cannot be afforded. This debate has already been clouded enough by emotion and wishful thinking tugging at the heart strings of the impressionable. Dogs don’t go to heaven. Get over it folks.

        • bluedog

          Dogs may not go to the human heaven, but there may be a dog heaven reserved specifically for dogs. As a human you will not necessarily be aware of this.

          In my Father’s house there are many mansions… etc.

          • chefofsinners

            And there may be a bluedog heaven specifically for bluedogs, explained in the bluedog bible, of which I am also unaware. Or I might be a brain in a laboratory that has imagined the entire universe.

          • bluedog

            Indeed CoS. As a protestant one finds it hard to believe that Heaven is an exercise in one size fits all. A tailor-made Heaven seems consistent with the concept of self-discovery of grace through the scriptures.

          • chefofsinners

            Salvation, sanctification and eternal life are not a matter of God changing to fit us, but of us changing to fit Him.

          • bluedog

            There is no suggestion of God being anything but immutable. But just as we are all different individuals rather than automata, there seems no reason why the Almighty who created us should not recognise diversity in paradise.

          • chefofsinners

            What if I want you on my heaven but you don’t want me in yours?

          • bluedog

            It sounds rather as though you may be a candidate for Hell. Your presumptive approach suggests you may not understand going to Heaven is a privilege, not a right. Clearly if both the dog and self reject your invitation to share a corner of paradise together you are out-numbered and out-voted. One doesn’t wish to appear brusque, but it does seem rather cut and dried.

          • chefofsinners

            Ah, so heaven is a democracy where dogs and humans each have a vote. Beware the bacteria party, for they are small but exceedingly numerous. Not really sure I want to be there.

          • bluedog

            Well, one envisages that Heaven is both collegiate and hierarchical. Collegiate in the sense that the members are finally allowed to do what they want forever and without interfering busybodies interfering. Hierarchical in the sense that one imagines the Father, Son and Holy Ghost maintain order and ensure harmony. Can’t put it clearer than that.

          • chefofsinners

            How many angels could dance on the head of a pin, do you imagine?

          • bluedog

            Funny that. Was going to ask you the same question. Lead on…

          • chefofsinners

            None. They’ll be too busy changing the lightbulbs.

          • bluedog

            LEDs one hopes. A green and ecologically sound Heaven would be an EU diktat.

          • chefofsinners

            Depends whether the bacteria people vote for hexit.

          • bluedog

            Very good!

          • Dominic Stockford

            No light bulbs required, have you not read Revelation?

          • IanCad

            Must butt in here.
            If you wanted him and he wasn’t there, then you would be dissatisfied in heaven. Granted, the foreknowledge of God, you would thus not be a suitable candidate for the Kingdom of Glory.
            If BD didn’t want to see you there, then neither would he make it.
            And, as I’m so full of myself today, I doubt that I shall be there either.

          • chefofsinners

            What if his dog peed on my leg?

          • Dominic Stockford

            I know I shall be there, despite all my many sins and fallibility, because being there depends on Christ entirely, and not one jot on me.

          • IanCad

            Rupert Brooke imagined a fishy Heaven:

            “Fish, (fly replete in depth of June,

            Dawdling away their wat’ry noon)

            Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,

            Each secret fishy hope or fear.

            Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;

            But is there anything Beyond?

            This life cannot be All, they swear,

            For how unpleasant, if it were!

            One may not doubt that, somehow, Good

            Shall come of Water and of Mud;

            And, sure, the reverent eye must see

            A Purpose in Liquidity.

            We darkly know, by Faith we cry,

            The future is not Wholly Dry.

            Mud unto mud! — Death eddies near —

            Not here the appointed End, not here!

            But somewhere, beyond Space and Time.

            Is wetter water, slimier slime!

            And there (they trust) there swimmeth One

            Who swam ere rivers were begun,

            Immense, of fishy form and mind,

            Squamous, omnipotent, and kind;

            And under that Almighty Fin,

            The littlest fish may enter in.

            Oh! never fly conceals a hook,

            Fish say, in the Eternal Brook,

            But more than mundane weeds are there,

            And mud, celestially fair;

            Fat caterpillars drift around,

            And Paradisal grubs are found;

            Unfading moths, immortal flies,

            And the worm that never dies.

            And in that Heaven of all their wish,

            There shall be no more land, say fish.”

          • bluedog

            Superb, IC. Sums it all up perfectly. Each to their own.

          • chefofsinners

            Good poem, fine poet, but basically a piss-take on Christianity. ‘Day that I have Loved’ is a better read.

          • IanCad

            I like tripe poetry and don’t take it as a a slander on Christianity. More like a gentle parody.
            As to the poem you cited; there is, to me, a pagan – crossing the Styx flavour about it.
            Is poetry dead?

          • chefofsinners

            Poetry is not dead, but the poets are, I’m afraid. All gone to poet heaven, where there is honey still for tea. And bees, presumably.

          • IanCad

            Mrs. Proudie would concur.

          • Dominic Stockford

            And many fires, built up by their unpurchased books of poetry….

        • IanCad

          Now Chef!! You’re just plain wrong. Isaiah 65:25 makes it perfectly clear that our canine friends shall be in Heaven.

          “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox…”
          So; Dogs will be there, as will sheep, and presumably, goats. Cattle and cats also – even snakes.
          My betting will be on a complete menagerie up there to keep us company.

          • chefofsinners

            Three alternative answers depending on your eschatology:
            1) This describes the millennial kingdom, not heaven.
            2) It describes animals in heaven but here is no indication that these animals will be the resurrected dead pooches of this world.
            3) It is a figurative description of peace being restored.

            If Christ is not good enough company for you, you won’t be there.

          • IanCad

            All valid points Chef. I will take the literalist view and hope that in that happy place animals will be there to help us to further marvel at the miracle of God’s works.
            If not, as we are the created, and our creator knows what is best for us, then His ways are right.

          • magnolia

            If 2 is true, (and more than one of your propositions can be true), it would be a strange interpretation of “Behold I make all things new”. As many have pointed out this is “all things new” not “all new things”, as if the old lot all had such grave design faults…..

          • chefofsinners

            ‘All things’ in Rev 21:5 is a broad and generic term, used again in verse 7 to say “He that overcometh shall inherit all things”. If you wish to include non-human life forms in that, then your inheritance, of the T-Rex and the ebola virus, will be delightful, I am sure.

          • magnolia

            I think that might be taken care of via the “no more death” !

          • chefofsinners

            And ‘no more sea’, so the fish will need wheelchairs.
            Think about it. If every animal that ever lived was to be resurrected, the earth would be overrun. Not just with the animals but the dung. And if the animals then surely the plants. Every leaf that fell in every autumn.
            No, Jesus said the lillies of the field are here today and gone tomorrow. He said that His Father knows when a sparrow falls to the ground, but went on to say “are you not worth many sparrows?”
            Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. God’s plan of redemption is focused on mankind and says nothing of animals.

    • dannybhoy

      “What of the dog which recently killed a child? A place in hell?
      Purgatory perhaps

    • magnolia

      “Soulful eyes and therefore souls”: frankly cannot see the problem. I think it is easy, but not necessarily very thoughtful, to ridicule. But why should we ignore something commonly observed. I would need convincing arguments to make me sure I should ignore it.

      “The eyes are the windows to the soul” we say, and we constantly assess the eyes of those we speak to to assess “what’s going on in there”, more than all other parts of the body put together. Are people listening? Are they thinking? Are they kind? The eyes of a deeply spiritual person often appear to go down very deep. It would be strange to ignore this.

      So why would we ignore this with any other animal? The higher functioning animals could I suspect be identified precisely by the meaningfulness of their eyes. I feel no need for embarrassment by assessing eyes.

      • chefofsinners

        If you want to base your theology on your own perceptions, feel free, but don’t expect me to agree with you because my perceptions will be different. And in your eyes-based theology, spare a thought for those who are blind.

        • magnolia

          Do you have a problem with Scripture, reason tradition and experience as how we encounter God/do theology? I don’t expect that small subset of blind people who are totally blind to be judging through their eyes, nor the profoundly deaf to be judging through their ears, for that matter. We assess through what senses we have, and not through any we might not have! Yes, our perceptions differ, but that also goes for everything else, doesn’t it?..

          • chefofsinners

            I have no problem with using reason, tradition and experience to help us interpret scripture, but I do have a problem with doctrines that have their origin in reason, tradition and experience, then go to scripture to see if they can rustle up some feeble support.
            Reason, by the way, is generally conflated with Aristotelian logic. This is not a very helpful way to understand God.

          • Dominic Stockford

            And human reason is led by humans, who are by nature sinful and fallible – thus, also is their reason.

        • dannybhoy

          That’s a deep thought for a blind chef!
          I said to my wife this morning after my first comment, how many questions are raised when we Christians contemplate the other side of Jordan..
          I have no idea.
          Will I recognise those who went before?
          Will we continue where we left off, or will we remember only the good stuff? According to Revelation The Lord says in chapter 21>
          ” He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”

          I can think of close family relatives who caused me pain, but whom I accept had their own sources of pain, and belong to the Lord.
          So what will we discuss? How will we resolve the unresolved?
          Will our beloved pets be there?
          Dunno. As far as I understand it God created the animals as living beings without souls. If God allows them to be there will we see dogs dog fighting, cats caterwauling?
          Dunno, but I’m sure it will be more marvellous than any of us could imagine.
          Personally I’m hoping there’s going to be a heavenly production entitled, “The complete and unabridged history of the world….”

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, deep stuff. I am reminded that the Pharisees asked Jesus about marriage at the resurrection and he said they were mistaken, for the children of heaven neither marry nor are given in marriage. Best not mention that to your wife.

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t think my wife will mind.
            Been kinda snappy lately…

        • They have guide dogs ….

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Since all life forms are alive because God has enlisted them in his ceeation then we must presume all life matters to God. Whether it is the cuddly, friendly form of life or something less pleasant or dangerous still does not change the fact that it is there for a reason. We may not understand why a venomous snake or a lethal virus should be part of that plan but we should not presume that such organisms are a mistake. Do animals have some sort of soul? They certainly show traits that we can relate to. They cannot undedstand Christ’s salvation but since they are not susceptible to evil as we are, they probably don’t need salvation.

    • David

      Well reasoned, P_I, and an interesting point.
      It is because “all life forms are alive because God has enlisted them in his creation”, that most Churches now teach the need to uphold and cherish “nature”, as many now refer to creation. Of course we are still stewards of His creation, in the Genesis sense of being put in charge, or made responsible for it all, which is quite different from how the atheist, secular greenies see it.

      • dannybhoy

        Celestial mosquitoes and midges? Surely not.

  • The Explorer

    When we ask if there will be animals in Heaven, what do we mean? The temporary Heaven that precedes the Last Judgement, where human souls are still disembodied? Or the New Heaven and New Earth that follows resurrection bodies? Allowing for symbolism, ‘Revelation’ speaks of trees “for the healing of the nations”, and if there are trees on the New Earth it would not be unreasonable to hope for other aspects of the old creation too.

    The Bible suggests that Nature, like human nature, is currently fallen. The vision in ‘Isaiah’ says the lion will eat straw like the ox. Whatever that means, it does suggest that aspects of current Nature will be altered. The unredeemed will not be present in the New Heaven/Earth; so we may assume that Nature’s current equivalents will not be present either.

    • dannybhoy

      “and if there are trees on the New Earth it would not be unreasonable to hope for other aspects of the old creation too.”

      No doubt dogs of all denominations are praying there will be a place for them too.
      After all, why else the trees ?

      • The Explorer

        Pedigree poodle: “Do you have a family tree?”
        Mongrel: “Nah, we ain’t particular.”

    • magnolia

      Agreed. And a tree is more than just a tree. Every tree harbours a whole ecosystem, particularly the oak. It is hard to imagine a tree that is exclusively bark, wood and leaves, because they don’t really happen.

  • preacher

    Well the O.T tells of a talking donkey that was smarter than it’s rider & saved him from an Angel with a sword who wasn’t visible to the man, but was to the animal.
    The Angel’s job was to stop him, ( It’s not recorded how much force was allowed ).
    When the rider started to beat the dumb ? animal, it reproached him & reminded him of what a faithful service it had given him in the past.
    So I conclude that none of us are as smart as the Lord God, & we’ll just have to leave it up to him. I guess there will be lots of shocks & surprises, hopefully mostly good ones when we get there, but time will tell & reveal the truth.
    Blessings. P.

    • magnolia

      Perhaps we will find heaven turned over to a donkey sanctuary, the Lord having given up on most of the disobedient and rather tedious human species, and having decided donkeys served Him better. Dogs who come when whistled also allowed in, and those who care for them, so long as they learn from the dogs and also come when whistled! Oh and Puffa fish,kangaroos, and chameleons as the Lord finds them funny. 😉

  • Are we really any better than animals? After all, they lack a moral conscience and the capacity to use reason, so are not culpable for their actions. Why shouldn’t welcome them into His Kingdom? It would seem men and women, and all the in-betweeenies, can behave like than animals:

    “A mother and adult son charged with incest in New Mexico are going public with their relationship, saying they are willing to go to jail to fight for the “right” to be together. The mother, Monica Mares, 36, and her son, Caleb Peterson, 19, met again last year after nearly 18 years apart. Another family adopted Peterson soon after Mares gave birth to him. Their relationship soon turned romantic, according to the couple, and Peterson started living with Mares and her two youngest children, ages 5 and 6, in Clovis, New Mexico.”

    Why not? It’s no longer “incest”; It’s “Genetic Sexual Attraction and the sex is Consanguinamorous Relationships and it is their “right”. There are pressure groups pushing for “Full marriage equality for all consenting adults.” Many are advocating for Mares and Peterson’s “right” to have a sexual relationship on the grounds there are no health risks and the government does not belong in the bedroom of consenting adults.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3725551/Mother-36-son-19-fell-love-met-year-gave-adoption-baby-say-willing-risk-JAIL-defend-love.html

    • The Explorer

      The Bible forbids incest. The prudential reason would be potential damage to children. (Blood-related disease etc.) Most people would see that. Haemophilia is an obvious example of too much in breeding. But the pill and abortion between them can guarantee that no children will be born. So if it’s still wrong, what is the moral reason?

      • dannybhoy

        Because God says it’s wrong?
        Leviticus 20 contains all kinds of sexual prohibitions, and my guess the moral reason will have to do with order in human relationships.
        Once we cross the line and excuse various sexual activity on the grounds “that they truly love each other”, society is screwed.

        • That doesn’t work in a secular, humanist society. The bible says homosexuality is wrong too. Given contraception and abortion, the health risks of incest are nil compared to same sex activity.

          “Once we cross the line and excuse various sexual activity on the grounds “that they truly love each other”, society is screwed.”

          Why?

          • dannybhoy

            Because the normal structure of relationships break down. Parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews. if these begin to enter into sexual relationships on the basis of ‘true lust’, then the basis for an orderly society is lost. Trust and commitment are eroded. Authority has no basis,so no boundaries..

          • Aren’t you being a touch judgemental? If they love another and want to express this physically, where’s the harm?

            Are you a loveaphobe, Danny?

          • dannybhoy

            I’m sure if I researched deeply enough into my Church history, I’d find someone whose writings would justify my stance as a loveaphobist..
            Some edict lying around in a dusty library somewhere…. ;0)

          • That was then; this is 2016. We’ve evolved. As has our understanding of the bible. Love is what is important. No have no need to cling to ancient understandings of relationships and sex. We have science now. We have psychology and psychiatry.

            To infinity and beyond ….

          • dannybhoy

            I have noticed that jocular Jack seems to be in a particularly humorous frame of mind in recent days.
            Long may it continue.
            Danny and his Missus intend heading north in their caravan before wee Nicola closes the border and declares Scotland a Socialist Peoples Paradise..
            I shall have to discuss with her the merits or otherwise, of re-visiting Dundrennan…

          • Dundrennan near Kirkcudbright?

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, I went for a Christian reunion weekend years ago. ..

          • They hold the Wickerman Festival there nowadays. The Church has been sold and it costs a fiver to wander around the ruins of old Abbey.

          • dannybhoy

            Er,
            lend
            me
            a
            fiver
            Jack.

          • Just tell the woman on the gate you’re a friend of Happy Jack. She let’s Jack wander about as he choses provided he has paid once in the season. That, or climb the fence.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Also because God says so. And if we throw out God’s teaching then we’ve lost the only thing worth having.

          • dannybhoy

            Agreed. To the best of their ability Christians should be thinking people, willing to reflect on the big issues of life and their faith.

        • Eustace

          What Jack is talking about is adult genetic sexual attraction, which generally only happens when adult children are reunited with their birth parents following separation in infancy.

          GSA appears to be a result of the tendency humans show towards assortative mating. Early separation of child and parent appears to inhibit the development of the Westermarck effect, which desensitizes close relatives to sexual attraction. When reunited later in life, close feelings of affinity that have not been properly channelled by the Westermarck effect can lead to romantic and sexual attraction.

          It used to be relatively rare, but seems to be becoming more common, which may have something to do with legislative changes that mean adopted people now find it much easier to contact and form relationships with their birth parents.

          Can such relationships legitimately be banned? On the basis that society is pretty united in its rejection of incest and that good genetic arguments exist to discourage the practice, yes I think it can. Contraception and abortion cannot be imposed on an incestuous couple, who may choose to have children despite the risks. As a general measure against inbreeding, it’s therefore perfectly legitimate to ban incest, although account must be taken of individual cases and the suffering that enforced separation from the one they love will inflict on those who experience GSA.

          I’ve heard that in many cases of GSA, couples choose to “disappear” and relocate to places where they are not known and won’t be easily found out. Therefore it’s quite possible we already know and accept as perfectly legitimate couples composed of mothers and sons, or fathers and daughter, or siblings who are committing what we would condemn as incest if we knew their secret.

      • Evil compounds and spreads like a cancer. Contraception and abortion were the forerunners for legitimising same sex activity. They also undercut non-biblical objections to incest.

        • The Explorer

          Presumably the relationship will have to be allowed: for if the Bible is ruled out of court, there can be no valid objections if an assurance of no children is given.

          • Eustace

            How do they assure us there will be no children? They can stop taking contraceptives any time they like. They could forget to terminate a pregnancy.

            Only sterilization would give an ironclad assurance that no children would be born to the couple. And even then, society could still ban the union on the grounds that it might encourage other incestuous unions and make inbreeding impossible to control.

            As I said elsewhere, I’m told that most incestuous couples try to “fly beneath the radar” and not let on to others that they’re related. How many of the couples you socialize with are really siblings, or parent and child couples? Perhaps none. And perhaps more than you realize.

          • Inspector General

            The Inspectorate notes that incest (and bestiality come to that) does find some support amongst the furious that comment on Pink News. It has to be that way, you see. ‘Love Conquers All’ is the militant LGBT battle cry, though one would say it would be a poor defence at a pederasty trial at Crown Court level…

          • Loveaphobia is wrong ….

          • The Explorer

            Yes, very good points all. Those involved in incest are currently content to keep quiet about it. (With exceptions like the case mentioned by Happy Jack.) But at some point, they will want the right to declare their love on the same basis as anyone else.

            The State, to be humane (and I concede that the desire to be humane is quite genuine) would have to insist on sterilisation. We’ve been there before. Eugenics movements in Britain and the USA were quite amenable to the idea before the Nazis gave sterilisation a bad name.

            It’s an important issue, but – as I said – I don’t want to divert the thread. Hopefully we can continue the discussion another time.

        • Anton

          Contraception is hardly necessary in the case of same-sex activity.

          • It broke the link between sex and procreation. This means that sterile sae sex acts could, in the minds of some, be justified. It’s love, unitive and for bonding.

          • Anton

            If it’s for bonding then it’s OK (within marriage) without procreation being possible.

    • David

      At the back of the Book of Common Prayer is a list of who may not marry. All other combinations of man/woman are acceptable, which is a very English Common Law way of proceeding. It is a lengthy list and must have been written to reflect experience, including that derived from livestock breeding; the basic genetic relationship “clashes” to be avoided for farm beasts, also apply to human beings, I am told by a stockbreeder relative.
      Now all that gathered wisdom of the ages, plus our more recently acquired DNA based understanding, the latter affirming the former, is imperilled by the sexual “liberation” certain groups proclaim. They are of course celebrating their divorce from God, which will destroy them, ultimately. As humanity moves away from God, it of course regresses – so much for the liberal doctrine of onward and upward !

      • But God and the government should stay out of the bedroom. Contraception and abortion off-set all health risks.

        • Dominic Stockford

          God’s Word disagrees with you – God’s place is with His people at ALL times, and in ALL places.

          “The LORD is your keeper;
          the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
          The sun shall not strike you by day,
          nor the moon by night.

          The LORD will keep you from all evil;
          he will keep your life.
          The LORD will keep
          your going out and your coming in
          from this time forth and forevermore.”

          Psalm 121:5-8

      • chefofsinners

        There is a certain religion within which cousin marriage is currently causing large numbers of birth defects in the UK. While not illegal, when repeatedly practised it blights many lives. I wonder which peace-loving religion that might be? Too much love and not enough peace, possibly.

        • Perhaps there emulating our good Christian Kings and Queens and nobility.

          • chefofsinners

            Perhaps they are emulating our bad ones.

        • dannybhoy
        • Anton

          Why then did God permit it in ancient Israel’s law?

          • chefofsinners

            When did he proscribe it?

          • Anton

            There is no difference between saying that the Bible is true and saying that it is literally true. It is a literary account. I do believe it is true (and not a mythological form of truth either) but I do not accept your explanation because it is inconsistent with a good deal of genetics. In particular, genetic defects come and go from a population.

          • You believe Jonah was actually, physically, within the belly of a whale for 3 days?

            Biblical truth is conveyed using a wide variety of literary forms.

          • Anton

            Yes, although more than likely he was dead and brought back to life.

          • sarky

            So…..to make the implausible plausible, you use something even more implausible.
            You gotta love Christians.

          • chefofsinners

            The whole point of miracles is that they are implausible.

          • sarky

            Or just not true….

          • chefofsinners

            They are recorded because they are implausible, unlikely, noteworthy and can only be true if God is real. So the whole concept hangs together. True or not. You have to decide. Degrees of implausibility do not really matter.

          • Well, it would certainly require a miracle of some sort – or a fish with a remarkably large air supply and decidedly mild gastric juices and reflux.

            People apparently have been swallowed by whales and survived. In 1891, James Bartley, from the Star of the East, was found missing after an eighty-foot sperm whale had been caught. He was presumed drowned. The next day, when the crew cut up the whale, Bartley was discovered alive inside. But three days in a live, active whale?

            On the other hand, the story could be didactic fiction – a grand tale told to establish a religious point.

          • Anton

            In that case, what is your criterion for deciding between didactic tales and actual happenings, and where does it come from? Without such a criterion you could equally well say the same of the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection.

          • The Church.

          • Anton

            Does your church insist on that view of the tale of Jonah? If not, my questions to you doesn’t go away. If so, how did it reach that conclusion, please?

          • The Catholic Church permits one to understand it as either literal history or a story conveying a truth.

          • Anton

            OK, so your personal view is that the tale of Jonah was made up to press a point, but the gospel tales of the Virgin Birth and Resurrection are real because the Catholic church says so (not that I disagree!) There are no formal inconsistencies in that position, but it seems rather strained.

            Let’s look at Jesus. He too made up stories to press a point. They are called parables. In them, every detail is relevant to his point. What then do the fine details in the tale of Jonah mean, if they never actually happened? Also, what of Danny’s comment that Jesus clearly quoted the tale of Jonah as truth (Matt 12:40)?

          • I haven’t actually got a fixed point of view on the historical accuracy of Jonah. However, if you are telling a story to make a theological point, it will be filled with fine detail to engage the listener.
            And Jesus citing the account of Jonah does not necessarily mean He was quoting it as historical truth. He was using it to foretell His own resurrection.

          • Anton

            So Jesus too can tell a pack of lies, not just the authors of the Old Testament!

          • Pack of lies?

            Jesus’ interpretation can be understood as typological. Jonah spent three days in the belly of the fish; Jesus will spend three days in the grave. While Jonah metaphorically declared, “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried,”, Jesus will literally be in the belly of Sheol. Jesus compares his generation to the people of Nineveh. Nineveh repented, but Jesus’ generation, which has seen and heard one even greater than Jonah, fails to repent.

            Jonah prefigures Christ’s burial and resurrection. “As the crowds increased, Jesus said, ‘This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.'”

          • Anton

            I couldn’t agree more that Jonah prefigured Christ’s burial and resurrection. But only if it really happened to him.

          • It’s a strong argument, agreed. But not decisive.

          • dannybhoy

            Could I interject here and post an interesting article that came my way this morning, regarding “Sola Scriptura”. As Jack is a stout defender of the Catholic Church and many of us are various shades of Protestant, I think it adds to the underlying issues. I got it from the blog ‘Christian Forums’ which I follow from time to time…
            “….So the concept of Sola Scriptura, which I shall reference as SS from now on, has been in debate here for the past few days it seems. After reading and watching and debating on a few threads myself, I decided to make a new thread in regards to the issues with this concept.
            This will be a long post, please read entirely before responding
            First, here is the definition of SS: is a Christian theological doctrine which holds that the Christian Scriptures are the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice.
            On the surface, this sounds like a rather valid idea. The Bible is the written word of God right? So how could there be anything higher?
            However, when we dig past the surface, there are 3 key issues that come up in regards to SS.

            You can follow the thread here….
            http://www.christianforums.com/threads/the-issues-with-sola-scriptura.7963691/?utm_source=newsletter_1&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=August_30_2016

          • Anton

            Jesus was a sola scriptura man in re the OT. If we regard the NT as having comparable authority to the OT then that’s good enough precedent for me to accept sola scriptura. Of course the meaning of words used in scripture are established by their usage in the cultures within which the scriptures were written.

          • dannybhoy

            Agreed. I have just finished Job and started on The Song of Solomon. In the Tanakh these come in the section known as the ‘Ketuvim’ or Writings.
            “Unlike the Torah and the books of Prophets (Nevi’im), the works found in Ketuvim do not present themselves as the fruits of direct divine inspiration…”
            http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/ketuvim-writings/

            Personally I find this a useful distinction because although I accept these books as a part of Holy Scripture, I don’t find them as inspirational as for example the Torah and the prophets. Proverbs for example seems a mixture of Godly and human wisdom -which makes sense if indeed Solomon was the author or inspiration. The same with the Song of Solomon which seems to me to be a love story/narrative between the king and his love.
            So overall one accepts that Scripture is the ultimate spiritual authority and guide leading to salvation, godliness and inspiration, but not all books have the same purpose.

          • dannybhoy

            “First, let me say that the historicity of this account is vital to the Christian. Believing it is not an option, for Jesus Christ Himself believed it and made it a model for the doctrine of His resurrection. “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40).”

            from..
            http://www.icr.org/article/did-jonah-really-get-swallowed-by-whale/

            I believe it, just as I believe that God caused the gourd to grow to give Jonah shelter…
            Or sent the ravens to feed Elijah..
            God who spoke Creation into being can surely suspend the natural processes in order to achieve His purposes. That doesn’t mean we’re gullible or credulous; just that we accept that God is rather greater than we are…

          • chefofsinners

            You don’t believe God could do that? What about a virgin birth?

          • Of course He could – the question is whether He did.

          • chefofsinners

            If He could, why would He say He did when He didn’t?

          • Which is back to the literary styles used in scripture. It may be an historical account or it may be didactic fiction told to establish a religious point and convey a truth.

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, that whole resurrection thing. Complete didactic fiction designed to establish a religious point and convey a truth,

          • No. That’s an historical fact, Carl.

            Literal or figurative?

            “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is real food, and My blood is real drink. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him. For My flesh is real food, and My blood is real drink. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me.”

          • carl jacobs

            Sure. Because the Christian faith collapses into dust if it isn’t. But the fact is that Jonah has the same provenance as Luke. And you are quite willing to throw Jonah under the bus. Tell me. Did Moses descend Mt Sinai with the Commandments or is that just a didactic story as well? I just wonder how far you will take this special pleading for the sake of making peace with Modernism.

          • The resurrection was witnessed.

          • carl jacobs

            Ah. So you believe because others saw? But what did Jesus say to Thomas? You tell us to credit the lesser testimony of men and reject the greater testimony of God. Yet it is written “If they will not listen Moses and the Prophets, they will not believe even if one rises from the dead.”

            It is not lost on me that you will move Heaven and Earth to defend each jot and tittle in the Canons of the Council of Trent, but have no difficulty casting aside Scripture as “didactic” simply because you find it preposterous to the modern mind. There is no question where your true authority lies. There is nothing in the Book of Jonah to indicate it is anything but history. You simply think it can’t be history because … well, three days in a whale? Preposterous!

            I know people who affirm the resurrection but will not admit to one historical fact in the first five books of the Bible. Are you one of those?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Thank you Carl. Needs to be said.

          • I have an open mind on Genesis, Carl. I believe in the truths they convey. The message conveyed by the Book of Jonah is more important than a squabble about its literacy or otherwise.

            The Fathers, who were much closer than we are to the original audience of Genesis, held a wide variation of opinions on Genesis. Catholics are at liberty to believe that creation took a few days or a much longer period, according to how they see the evidence, and subject to any future judgment of the Church.

            In regards to history, in 1905 the Pontifical Biblical Commission stated that at times it is possible to conclude that the sacred writers did not intend to give a true and strict account of history. They ” proposed rather to set forth, under the guise and form of history, a parable or an allegory or some meaning distinct from the literal or historical signification of the words”

            Although the first eleven chapters of Genesis are history in a true sense, the narratives contained within “relate in simple and figurative language, adapted to the understanding of mankind at a lower stage of development, fundamental truths underlying the divine scheme of salvation.”

            So far as the other four books are concerned, the sacred authors were of a different culture and had different patterns of writing than our modern historians. In recording history, these authors may omit certain facts, neglect chronological order, or give a mere summary of discourse. This does not make these documents false history. The authors did not intend to assert accuracy, for accuracy was not needed to serve the purpose of the message.

          • Where has Jack said the account of Johah is “preposterous”? It may well be true. It conveys a deep truth about God, man, repentance and mercy, and Jack would much rather focus on this. Is the Book of Job actual history too? Again, what matters is the deeper truth is conveys.

            And, no, Jack believes in the resurrection because He accepts Christ’s words about this, the reports of witnesses recorded in scripture – which Thomas didn’t – and the truths contained in the OT which prophesised His life, death and resurrection. It would be unreasonable not to believe.
            The authority Jack recognises is God, revealed in scripture, and as understood and presented by Christ’s Apostolic Church.

          • carl jacobs

            Where has Jack said the account of Johah is “preposterous”?

            The very first thing you said was …

            You believe Jonah was actually, physically, within the belly of a whale for 3 days?

            You did everything but snicker. Your words, Jack. I had to check and make sure it wasn’t sarky who wrote those words.

            The Book of Jonah has exactly the same authority as the words of Christ in Luke. If you have some internal textual evidence suggest Jonah is not history, then present it. There is nothing in Jonah that offends except the part about whale. You are judging it according to a rationalist mindset that says “Those things don’t happen.” Well, people don’t rise from the dead either. And yet you accept that. When I questioned you on the difference, you said “Witnesses.” Now you repudiate your own defense. So tell me. Why do you believe the historical testimony of the Book of Luke but not the historical testimony of the Book of Jonah? And remember. You have already tipped your hand…

            You believe Jonah was actually, physically, within the belly of a whale for 3 days?

          • It was the mood Jack was in. He was goading Anton. Like when he wrote: “But God and the government should stay out of the bedroom. Contraception and abortion off-set all health risks.” And that was taken seriously too by another ardent protestant.
            It’s a debatable point whether the Book of Jonah is historical testimony, whereas the Gospels are.
            And the Book of Job?

          • chefofsinners

            The raising up at the last day is literal. As for the bread and wine, Jesus specifically states that ‘this is my body’ and ‘this cup is a new covenant in my blood’. So we know they are figurative.
            Jesus also spoke of Jonah. ‘As Jonah was three days in the belly of the fish so shall the Son of Man be three days in the earth.’ So the story of Jonah is figurative, but is as real as the bread and wine are real.

          • dannybhoy

            It’s a difficult one, ‘Specs.’
            At the moment I am working my way through Job in the JSP Tanakh version of the Old Testament. (I recommend it as the Jewish interpretation ‘flows’ well.
            Now some people say that the book of Job is a historical account and others, that it is a literary work to illustrate why bad things happen to good people.
            As I read it it does indeed seem to me to be allegorical. Whilst there seems to be some historical setting, overall it reads more like a story to illustrate the problem of bad stuff happening to devout people.
            Contrast these verses..
            ” 18 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
            (Job 1)
            then Job 42>
            “12 And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. 15 And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. 16 And after this Job lived for 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. 17 And Job died, an old man, and full of days.”

            Now I don’t know about you, but if I had children and they had been killed as part of a celestial debate, another tranche of kids, wealth and even more donkeys would not have exactly comforted me…
            So it seems to me that there are good reasons for regarding some Old Testament books as allegorical rather than historical.
            http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-book-of-job-a-whirlwind-of-confusion/

            https://www.ou.org/torah/nach/nach-yomi/job_-_introduction/

          • chefofsinners

            Therein lies one of the subtle perfections of scripture. Job was given, we are told, double what he had before. Yet he only had the same number of children. How then did he receive double? Because the children were not lost. Their immortal souls continued to live and for the past 4000 years or so Job has been reunited with them.

          • dannybhoy

            Ah!

          • These words are not figurative as is clear from the account. They scandalised some of the disciples who left Him as a result. His body and blood, His sacrifice, was the New Covenant.

          • chefofsinners

            They only scandalised the disciples who did not grasp that they were figurative. And possibly those who understood very well but could not countenance the idea that Jesus should die for them. Very much like Peter when Jesus wanted to wash his feet.

          • His listeners were stupefied because they understood Jesus literally and correctly. He repeated His words with greater emphasis. Jesus made no attempt to soften what he said, no attempt to correct “misunderstandings,” for there were none. Our Lord’s listeners understood him perfectly well. If they had mistaken what he said, why no correction? On other occasions when there was confusion, Christ explained just what he meant.

            John 6:60: “Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’” These were his disciples. “After this, many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him” (John 6:66). This is the only record we have of any of Christ’s followers forsaking him for purely doctrinal reasons. If it had all been a misunderstanding, if they erred in taking a metaphor in a literal sense, why didn’t He call them back and straighten things out? Both the Jews, who were suspicious of him, and his disciples, who had accepted everything up to this point, would have remained with Him had he said he was speaking only symbolically.

          • chefofsinners

            It is a feature of John’s gospel that he records many times when Jesus was misunderstood. (2:20, 3:4, 4:15, 4:33, 8:22, 8:33. 11:12). This is another example. Christ was speaking figuratively of new life imparted by receiving His Spirit. This is clear from Jn 6:63 “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.”

          • When He spoke figuratively and there was misunderstanding, Jesus explained Himself to His disciples – not a wider audience.

            Take John 4:33: “Whereupon his disciples said to one another, Can somebody have brought him food?” And in John 4:34: “But Jesus said to them, My meat is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish the task he gave me.”
            Same in John 11:12. Jesus explains Himself to His disciples.
            This is the only occasion Jack is aware of when Jesus fails to explain Himself to His disciples.

          • chefofsinners

            Jesus does explain Himself to His disciples in verses 61 to 63.

          • They were not His disciples but Jews looking for a miracle. (verse 24)

          • chefofsinners

            No, they were His disciples – Verse 60.

          • But He didn’t explain Himself or say He was speaking figuratively and not literally. Verses 68 to 72 suggest this might be where Judas lost His faith.

          • chefofsinners

            John does not record all the details in his gospel. He says as much in the very last verse. Written last of the four gospels, John was aware that his readers already had the information in the others. He selected miracles and explanations to suit a wider purpose. The fact that Jesus is not recorded as saying something in John’s gospel does not mean He did not say it.

          • This incident is not mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels. Everywhere else when His disciples did not understand Him, Jesus explained. The lack of an explanation on this occasion, alongside the verse on Judas, seems pertinent. An argument from silence is a weak one.

          • chefofsinners

            It is you who is arguing from silence.

          • No, I’m applying reason based on the actual words of scripture, the disturbance the literal meaning caused and Jesus’ failure on this one occasion to correct the misconceptions of His disciples.

            You have explained this by an argument from silence. “John does not record all the details in his gospel … The fact that Jesus is not recorded as saying something in John’s gospel does not mean He did not say it.”
            The early Church certainly believed in the Real Presence and these were people who knew Jesus and the Apostles.

          • chefofsinners

            My words which you have italicised are me pointing out that your argument is an argument from silence.

          • Dominic Stockford

            lols.

          • chefofsinners

            The account of Jonah has been accepted as fact for thousands of years. This has nothing to do with literary styles and everything to do with Christians wilting the first time some self-proclaimed expert scientist says ‘that couldn’t have happened’. Of course these things couldn’t have happened within the scientific description of the material world. That is the whole point of miracles.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Read the text again – it doesn’t say ‘whale’. Further, as chef says, is God not capable of doing whatever he wants? He created the whole lot, after all.

          • Big fish, whale, that’s not the issue. God can of course do what He wants. I’m not obliged to read this account as historical truth. Just like I’m not obliged to believe a serpent spoke to Eve or that she ate fruit from a tree.

          • Dominic Stockford

            It is AN issue – your dismissiveness of the facts as written demonstrates that you don’t even care what the Bible actually says. And if Eve didn’t, then how did sin get into the world? Jesus believed and taught that it was through Adam (and Eve by extension).

          • But a serpent? And eating a fruit?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Why not? It was the one thing that God told them they should not do – this is the point. And whatever YOU might think of what God said ‘thou shalt not’ (eating a fruit, or homosexuality, or whatever), it is what God said to them, do NOT do.

          • Jack is questioning the historical accuracy of a serpent speaking and fruit being eaten, not that there was God’s command, temptation and disobedience.

          • chefofsinners

            The logic is simple. Adam and Eve were created perfect but we now have a range of genetic mutations. Therefore mutations must either 1) on balance be accumulating or 2) have accumulated in the past and stabilised at current levels.

          • Anton

            No, it’s not simple. You don’t know enough genetics. You need to define a mutation. If you define a mutation as something bad then you need to explain why, remembering that what is a bad mutation for survival in one environment might be good in another. Genes are subject to change all the time. The idea that the genome is “running down”, an idea which creationists have introduced, makes a good soundbite but cannot be translated into concepts that make consistent sense at genetic level.

          • chefofsinners

            No, mutations are not necessarily bad, it’s just that they often are. Specifically, when near relatives marry there is an increased chance of harmful genetic conditions.
            As you say, genes are subject to change all the time. The more time, the more change. And of course the larger the population, the more change.

          • Anton

            Don’t think I’m disagreeing with your views about animals; rather, about some of your human genetics. It is speculation that the number of recessive lethals has increased significantly on a timescale of thousands of years. (Each of us carries on average about 5 of these genes, but there are so many genes that the probability of marrying somebody carrying any one of the same five is tiny. If we are this unlucky, every offspring conceived carries two copies of the recessive lethal gene and is unviable, probably not developing beyond a few cells before spontaneously aborting. Less harmful genes lead to viable deformities.)

            Your argument that social stability weakens the gene pool rapidly is not, I think, founded in fact. There is a very strong element of luck in who survives. Aristocratic children were about as likely to die young as peasant children unless there was a famine.

          • chefofsinners

            “It is speculation that the number of recessive lethals has increased on a timescale of thousands of years. ”
            Not if you start with the assumption that the world is only a few thousand years old and that mankind was created without recessive lethals.

            The real issue is with the many more genes which are not lethal but cause disability and / or shorten life.

          • Anton

            I am open to discussion about relations between biology and the Bible (which I regard as absolutely true, and not in a mythological sense). But I am convinced that the six YOM of creation are six eras (just as YOM must mean in Job 15:23 & 18:20) and that the universe and the earth are ancient.

          • chefofsinners

            Yes – we have discussed it before. My point about why God did not ban cousin marriage in Israel is that if you take a young earth view then there is an easy explanation.

          • Anton

            There is another: that the practice was almost universal in the Ancient Near East, to keep wealth ‘within the family,’ and that if God had banned it then the Israelites might very well have voted against accepting Mosaic Law at Mts Ebal and Gerizim. God did make concessions within Mosaic Law, eg divorce, as Jesus explained (Mark 10). Notice that Abraham married his half-sister Sarah and they had great difficulty conceiving, whereas he got his wife’s servant girl pregnant (with Ishmael) without difficulty and after Sarah’s death had many children by a subsequent wife. So it is likely that there were already genetic problems with cousin marriage quite far back in your 6000-year scenario.

          • chefofsinners

            Hmm. I do not think that Mosaic law was written with one eye on what people would accept. God’s righteousness is absolute. Would He give a law that was imperfect? Indeed Psalm 119 goes to great lengths to describe God’s law as perfect.

          • Anton

            As it was written by God it is the finest legal code that has ever been written. But the notion of perfection is problematic here. God only gave a legal code because the world had fallen from perfection. Before Adam and Eve fell it never occurred to them to commit murder or a hundred other sins. Jesus explicitly described Mosaic Law as containing at least one concession, did He not (Mark 10:5-9)?

            In Psalm 119, which Hebrew word did you have in mind for “perfect”, please? Remember also that “law” is TORAH, which really means “teachings” (although there is also EDOT, meaning “statutes”).

          • chefofsinners

            The Pharisees came to test Jesus with this question. They were already aware that there was some divergence between God’s principles in creation and the Mosaic law, and thought this would be a tricky question.
            Jesus answers confirming God’s will. He lays the blame for the pragmatism at Moses’ door, and distinguishes this from God’s will.
            So yes, Moses may have had one eye on what he thought the people would accept in allowing first cousin marriage. But God would not do such a thing.

          • Anton

            I’ve come across that explanation before and I don’t accept it. God would never have accepted Moses changing a word of the laws He told him to communicate to the people of Israel. for that, Moses would have been killed. Merely for showing impatience and striking a rock twice, instead of once as commanded, God refused to let Moses lead the Israelites into Canaan. Jesus speaks of Moses’ word as meaning the word of God through Moses. If you think otherwise, how can you safely regard the rest of Mosaic Law as incorrupt?

          • chefofsinners

            How can you regard the Mosaic Law as reflecting the will of God? If He was writing something pragmatic then He would not have written the first and greatest commandment, knowing that it could never be kept and that it was being broken even as it was written.

          • Anton

            That is as difficult a question for me as the ones you are declining to answer by putting it!

          • chefofsinners

            I think that the rules on divorce were like the offerings, in that they gave instructions on what to do when people sinned. The rules are aimed at ensuring no-one is unjustly treated when a marriage breaks down. They don’t sanction divorce any more than the offerings sanction sin. This is what Jesus meant by ‘because of the hardness of your hearts.’

          • Anton

            About divorce, I agree. But there is a clear difference between Mosaic Law and Jesus over remarriage after divorce during the lifetime of the ‘ex’.

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, well, the law was only our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. With His Spirit within us and His law written on our hearts, more is expected and more ought to be deliverable. Christ’s teaching often goes beyond the law. “you have heard that it was said… but I say unto you…”

          • Anton

            I agree with the point you are making that Christ requires (and facilitates) higher standards than the Laws in the Pentateuch. But many exegetes think He makes a deliberate distinction between what is “said” (ie, rabbinic tradition, which had not been written down into Talmud in His day) and what was “written” (ie, the laws in the Pentateuch).

          • Dominic Stockford

            The most obvious mutation was ‘sin’, and that clearly caused death, suffering, and physical mutations. And the Bible does support this, ‘groaning’ it says, speaking of Creation waiting for the second coming.

  • Inspector General

    Good grief, this thread still running!

    The Inspector was honoured to meet a former railway worker during a visit of late to a preserved railway. Which makes a fellow muse – what if the ‘wrong kind of dog’ had been at his masters coffin. Only to be chased away by a member of staff armed with a broom. Surely such dog would not be heaven bound, but more likely to end up as a pet of the devil, just as Hitler’s dog Blondi did.

    By the way, said railway, which shall be nameless, was quoted three and a half thousand pounds to ‘host’ Thomas the Mercenary Tank Engine. So look out for a new edition to the revered canon of literature in the life of the mechanical anthropomorphic – “Thomas Gets Gold Leaf Applied To His Boiler”

  • chefofsinners

    The Pharisees Question the Teacher.
    (After Matthew 22:25-8)

    A pooch’s master died
    And left him all alone
    He howled beside the coffin ’till
    He smelled a juicy bone

    Another man to treat his scabies!
    A crotch to shove his nose up,
    But soon the man contracted rabies
    And gently turned his toes up.

    Seven times the masters popped their clogs
    Then the poor hound also died.
    ‘At the resurrection, who was the dog’s?’
    And thus the teacher replied:

    Stop this awful rhyme!
    Get back to your synagogues
    In heaven there is no time,
    No doggerel and no dogs.

    • Inspector General

      …not even Blondi.

  • David

    At a practical level – pragmatism is one of my middle names I must confess – this beautiful spaniel will need a new home, but at the right time, when the dog himself is, reluctantly, able to move on, as they say. Life must go on…
    Just saying, folks….

  • chefofsinners

    New bumper stickers now available:
    A dog is for eternal life, not just for Christmas.
    Also:
    S**t happens. And will continue to happen for a lot longer than you imagined…