Creation: What on Earth Are Animals for?

  • Philip J. SampsonEmail author
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series book series (PMAES)


In the harsh and sometimes unforgiving conditions of pre-modernity, farmers simply could not afford to value animals for their own sake. Yet by the mid-seventeenth century, a nonconformist discourse of creation had emerged which did just that. This chapter explores that language, with its pioneering radical discourse of animal-human relationships. In contrast to the consensus narrative of ‘dominion thought’, this theocentric view rejects the idea that animals are created for humans to use as we please. Rather, animals were made to declare the glory of God, and humans are charged with conducting their great orchestra of praise. This way of speaking had important consequences for the existence and experience of animals, as well for animal relationships with humans.


Nonconformist Discourse creationCreation John CalvinCalvin rightsRights harmonyHarmony 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oxford Centre for Animal EthicsOxfordUK

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