From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
God created animals first: great sea creatures, birds, cattle and the beasts of the earth, each according to its kind, and then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1). He gave man dominion over every living thing on earth.
Man has three attributes which animals do not have: reason, conscience and will. Animals are motivated by instinct. Their behavior patterns are instinctive, not intelligent. A dog probably feels no more remorse after biting a man than he does when chewing a bone. An animal acts instinctively, according to set, inner urges.
The first man, Adam, used all three of these attributes. First, he reasoned that his own judgment was as good as God’s, and he ate the forbidden fruit. In that act, the will of man came into play, for he could have decided either way. Then, after he broke God’s command—not to eat of the fruit—he felt conscience-stricken and ran away to hide. Man has been following the same pattern through the centuries—willfully disobeying God and running away.
Within these God-given attributes are life or death, happiness or sorrow, and peace or conflict. If he dissipates the powers which God has given him, he is of all creatures most miserable. People are little creatures with big capacities, finite beings with infinite desires, deserving nothing but demanding all. God made people with this huge capacity and desire in order that He might come in and completely satisfy that desire.
God wants to commune with mankind. The Bible says, “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (2 Corinthians 6:16).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)