Quadrupedal Christ

Stephen Moore’s chapter, “The Quadrupedal Christ” explores the relationship between humans and animals and the issues surrounding the image of Christ in the book of Revelation. Moore points out quite rightly that in Revelation, it is the only time in all of Christian writing where the metaphor of Jesus as the Lamb of God is not just metaphorical but actual. He is one who is “like the Son of Man” and yet glimpses back and forth between mainly human and particularly animal. Furthermore, Moore notes that is not just the Christ as a bifurcated human-animal, but is a triad of three essences, “divine-human-animal triad that bleeds into each other profusely”. Revelation, unlike other writings blurs the lines on how one is supposed to look at Jesus. Most scholarship agrees that in revelation particularly, no one renders John’s usage of Christ as the lamb metaphorically. Rather, in reading Revelation the reader is supposed to imagine this divine-lamb like creature with a curious set of horns and eyes just as it is. As to why people have traditionally read it this way is an interesting concept, especially because most people who have read this book throughout history make metaphors or images out of most other situations and characters in its story.

Moore also points out that in the entirety of the book, the lamb does not speak. It stays in the image of a slaughtered beast that forever lives. Another section in Moore’s chapter discusses the relationship between the way humanity looks at the slaughtering of animals differently than it does that of their fellow race. For example: the slaughtering of animals today, especially in the U.S. would if it were compared to humans on the same scale would not even come close to what Nazi Germany accomplished under the Third Reich. Generally today, people relegate cattle, sheep and the like as animals that die for our behalf but are not murdered for us. The difference being that humanity possesses a certain soulish quality that other animals do not. If one relates this back to Revelation they encounter a disturbing truth. The Christ, slaughtered and sacrificed in a similar way animals are today is the only means by which John shows his audience that humanity can obtain salvation. It was through cruel acts of savage men and spilled blood of the righteous God-Man-Lamb, forever in Revelation holding in part to his animality that the salvation of God has come to the world. Whether or not John intended to make this ecological comparison (most likely he did not), it is striking when one meditates on the Christ as an animal and not just the God-Man.

The final thing that should be noted in Moore’s chapter is the relationship between calling the sacrifice of an animal murder or not. Typically, we carnivorous bunch would not label the death of an animal to feed our hungry bellies as “murder”. However, if we relate that logic to the Christ-Lamb in Revelation our logic fails us. This Lamb-Christ is obviously understtod to have been murdered, and yet is pictured just as much (if not more so) as an animal than it is a human being. That being said, Moore makes the reader at least ask the question, “Is my eating an animal, or  rather slaughtering one order to meet my own desires be considered murder?”

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