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Does the Bible mention treating animals with kindness?

When I solicited questions to be addressed in this series, a member of the congregation wrote this to me: “Animals are mentioned in the Bible as beasts of burden and sacrificial animals.  Is there any mention of treating animals with kindness?”
The short answer to that question is: yes. However, it is important to note that what the Bible says about caring for animals comes in the midst of a great narrative. It is a narrative of Creation, Fall, and Redemption. Let’s look at these three great acts in the narrative play of world history one by one. First, let’s look at creation.
At the very beginning of the Bible, in the book of Genesis, chapter 1, verses 26 through 28, we read this: Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27 So God created…
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Why does God allow suffering?

In response to my invitation to submit questions to be addressed in this sermon series, one of you asked, “God is all knowing, loving, omnipotent. Why is there so much senseless, tragic pain and suffering in the world? Particularly to innocent people?”
Another person wrote, “Why does it always seem like when it rains, it pours? When we are working on one problem or crisis and trying to effectively solve it, several more seem to pile on top. I know God only gives us what we can handle, and He always gives us the tools and guidance to overcome the problems, but it would just be nice to only have one problem at a time.”
This same person said, “I can answer my own question with—this is just life, God is challenging us to reach our full potential, or we are being trained for a next phase in our life—but I would like to hear your take on it as well as what the Bible has to say about it.”
Both of these questions are, I think, different forms of the question: “Why does God allow suffering?”
C. S.…

Is the resurrection just a nice story?

Today, in our series on Ultimate Questions, I want to address this question: is the resurrection just a nice story? In other words, did the bodily resurrection of Jesus really take place in space-time history or is it just an inspiring tale? In the twentieth century, the belief became popular that Jesus rose spiritually but not bodily from the grave, making of the Gospels a nice story, a myth.
For the past few months, our Thursday night book discussion group discussed a book by two New Testament scholars, N. T. Wright and Marcus Borg, entitled: “The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions”. In the section on the resurrection, Marcus Borg argued for the spiritual resurrection of Jesus. He wrote, “Indeed, this seems to me to be the central meaning of Easter. Beginning with Easter, the early movement continued to experience Jesus as a living reality after his death, but in a radically new way. After Easter, his followers experienced him as a spiritual reality, no longer as a person of flesh and blo…