Of Mice, Men, and God

I have a friend with a “mouse problem”.

Extraordinary weather has swelled the rodent population, and they have come into his house in search of food. They are quite brazen, and, since they carry disease, they must be killed.

My friend is no stranger to killing. He does not speak of his military service in time of undeclared war, but I know enough to know that he has done the necessary.

But he is troubled by this, the killing of mice.

“I have to look into their faces when I remove them from the traps,” he said. “And I see something I would rather not contemplate. I see individuality of expression that leads me to think that God lovingly created each mouse, not in His image, but in His delight.”

I tried to address this. “They are merely mice.”

“And are we merely men, Surpreet? Or did God breathe something special into us?”

“Of course He did. He gave us souls.”

“And how are we to know that the mouse is not possessed of a soul?”

“Scripture says…” But there I had to stop, because it is an issue on which Scripture is silent. We men have souls, but to ue that positive to define a near universal negative – to say that we are specifically said to have souls because we are unique – does not logically follow.

My friend will continue to kill the mice, and He will continue to be troubled. I suspect he says a short prayer for every rodent he kills.

And I will think long and hard on this question. We judge our inferiors and casually kill them when their presence is inconvenient.

Inferiors created with obvious care and love by God, Who may have been charmed by their antics.

We may have much to learn, and we may not have as long as we would like to learn it.

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