No, the title “Saving endangered animals is God’s will?” isn’t a quote from Noah. Prince Harry reportedly has said that saving endangered animals is God’s test for humanity.
I think even the religious among us can look at a statement like that and see there are many flaws in it. I’ve heard it frequently estimated that 99.9% of all species that ever lived are now extinct. And God did a pretty good job bumping off many of those himself. Remember, only certain animals went on the ark during the flood. I mean, a T-rex on a boat…even faithful Noah would have had a problem with that one.
And of course there’s what God himself said on the issue when he created man.
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” – Genesis 1:26
Of course I don’t personally think God meant for man to have cart blanch in terms of wasting what he’d created. Restraint seems to always have been a part of the Judeo/Christian religious teachings even when it wasn’t followed by adherents. But I still think that scripture is a bit of an insight into what God feels man’s place on earth is. We get to use the animals: eat them, make them work, keep them as pets, kill them to protect ourselves.
There is what I see as a great dichotomy between the desire for humans to save species and the desire to see humans as just another animal, a mere product of evolution. Prince Harry does say this is God’s test so he’s stepped outside of that part of the argument. But many who hear what he’s saying and shout hooray don’t believe in God. They believe in man’s evolution from one life form into this one. I won’t say from a lower life form to a higher because that’s not how they view it. It’s not higher or lower, it’s simple and complex. Man isn’t high, he’s just more complex.
Evolutionarily speaking if a species doesn’t survive that’s okay. It didn’t adapt. It wasn’t strong enough as a species to make it. As I’ve stated, evolutionary biologists believe that the vast majority of species have gone extinct. Only in as much as the existence of another species promotes the continued existence of mankind do we have an evolutionary obligation to keep them alive. That’s why we have so many cows and pigs. We need them to survive because we eat them.
Not so much the Condor or the Spotted Owl or some bivalve in California. We don’t need them. “Oh, but what about the interconnections of all things? You kill off the mollusk and the butterfly effect! Huh huh?” shouts the environmentalist. Maybe, but if 99.9% of all species have gone extinct with literally thousands occurring during he epoch of man it seems life on earth has done okay with a niche empty. Why? Because in evolution that niche, once occupied by one species, gets filled by another. It seems there’s little argument for saving the panda bear other than the fact that we humans think they are adorable.
What I think
Do I think we should save extinct species? Yes I do. Not because it’s God’s test for us, nor because I think we will destroy the ecosystem if we don’t. I think we should because these species enrich our lives through the wonder and stimulation they provide our intellect and because they bring us happiness. In other words, we should because we want to. Not because we have to or because God will condemn us to an eternity of hell fire and damnation if we don’t. If you believe that humans have any moral responsibility at all that belief is at odds with a belief that we are nothing but animals like any other.
If human beings are nothing but animals then we have no obligations except for survival and mating. There is no place for morality in the animal kingdom. But when it comes to saving a spotted owl there’s suddenly a moral outcry. That owl is in a niche we humans want to move into and if the owl can’t make it on its own then it has no business surviving in an evolutionary world.
I believe we aren’t just animals and more than mere occupants of this planet. I believe this is OUR planet. As such it makes sense to be good stewards of it, to take care of it, but not for the sake of the animals but rather for our sake. If the blue whale goes extinct it’s not going to destroy the ecosystem anymore than the stegosaurus going extinct did but it’s an awesome creature worth saving because we are in awe of it. I’m a conservationist, not an environmentalist. The first is a plan to manage responsibly our natural resources, the latter is a religion. So when Prince Harry says it’s a test from God I have to wonder which god he means?
Prince Harry has said that saving endangered animals is “God’s test” for humanity.