I’ve heard it said that we get goosebumps when we encounter something awe inspiring because we are remembering a place we’ve never been: Heaven. Tonight, as my cat Lia was lovingly rubbing her head against mine, I thought about why God made some animals that are so adaptable to human interaction that they become domesticated. They actually like being around us. Perhaps they are a reminder of another place we’ve never been: Eden.
When God created the Earth and everything on it, He said it was good. There was no sin, there was no death. Adam was given the task of caring for the garden and naming all of the animals. In Genesis 2:19 it says “So the Lord God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.” I don’t think God brought the animals to Adam in a cage, or forced them to go near the scary human. I have a feeling they weren’t afraid of him at all. There is even a theory that some or all of the animals could talk back then, based on the fact that Eve doesn’t seem to be surprised at all to be having a conversation with a serpent (Genesis 3:1-5).
As an animal lover, I can’t imagine what it would be like to just exist peacefully with all animals. I’ve worked with some that were the exact opposite of peaceful! A tiger named Kendra comes to mind. She hated me from day one for no reason I could ever figure out. Maybe I just smelled funny. Every time I worked in the tiger building with her, she would snarl and growl at me and jump against the mesh between us to try to get me. Then, in stark contrast, there is my other cat, Tiy, who loves nothing more than having me throw fuzzy mouse shaped toys for him to chase. He loves to have his belly rubbed and often sleeps on the top of my recliner back while I’m watching TV. This love is a reminder of Eden and a promise of the New Earth to come. It’s enough to give me goosebumps.