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Animals Fear Humans — by Design?

It is common to take a stroll in a wooded area and encounter critters, which often scamper away. Others freeze in place as a defense, or possibly doing threat assessment. They usually want to get away from us. Animals have fear of us and of each other. 

Our apartment is on the second floor of three. Lots of trees in the area. Squirrels show no fear in leaping up onto our porch, but when we go outside, they run off. 

We often see how animals are afraid of us, like this cat. This may very well be a plan of the creator. These articles explore this idea from the Bible and science.
Wikimedia Commons / Jineshpanchal (CC BY-SA 4.0)
One was on the porch when a big hawk landed on the railing. That's never happened before. The rodent froze in terror and just laid there. The hawk just looked at it, probably not hungry at the moment. If we had gone to the sliding glass door, I lack belief either would have stayed put.

Even domestic animals show fear of humans, including pets around strangers. Animals that have gone feral or never knew human contact are in touch with their inner wildness. It takes a mighty long time to make friends with a feral animal that is considered domesticated, and that is often unsuccessful. Horses were brought to the Americas by Spanish explorer Cortez in 1519, and wild horses have run free in western areas ever since. Obviously, these can be domesticated with patience and skill. A wolf can be tamed to live around humans, but they can never be domesticated as pets.

Fear and anger can overlap as animals get ready to defend themselves or attack. That's why in many cases it's best to back away (including bears, but that can be complicated). Included in their fear of man is the desire to be left well alone.

Those who believe in particles-to-puma evolution will simply say humans and animals developed a mutual fear through natural selection and such. That may be a part of it, but the evolutionary mythos rejects the biblical explanation out of hand.

What follows is a rather lengthy article that is split into two parts. This child found it fascinating. Philip Bell proposes that the "dread of man" in Genesis is not just something to skim over. We know wild animals don't fancy our presence, but there's more to it. He explains that in addition to the Curse in Genesis 3:14-19, God changed animals psychologically and physically to fear humans. This was actually a mutually beneficial situation. He also reasons from Scripture, uses natural science, medical science, history, and other things to support his idea. Mr. Bell also answers anticipated objections.

Traditionally, God’s words about the fear and dread of mankind (Genesis 9:2) have been seen as descriptive of the postdiluvian world rather than prescriptive. However, the eating of all kinds of animals was sanctioned immediately afterwards (Genesis 9:3). I advance the thesis that both statements are closely connected, that the ‘dread of man’ actually represented a second major biological juncture in history, akin to, though less obvious than, the corruption of animals arising from the Curse. In other words, God supernaturally altered animal psychology when lifting the bar against humans eating meat (Genesis 1:28). Part 1 of this paper begins to explore this proposal, including an overview of the thoughts of previous Bible commentators on these verses. Anticipated objections are explored and answered comprehensively. Part 2 explores the ramifications in much more detail.

To finish reading, see "Dread of man: part 1—hermeneutics, cultural evolution, and biblical history". I'll just place the introduction to the next section right here for your convenience:

In part 1 of this paper, I proposed that the fear and dread of humans was supernaturally imposed upon animal minds just after the Flood (Genesis 9:2), and sought to answer objections that might be raised. Animal fear of humans is innate, but it stems principally from that point in history, rather than from creation. Part 2 is a more detailed examination of the implications of the thesis. After exploring the neurobiological basis of fear, some interesting exceptions to the ‘dread of man’ are noted, where wild animals are fearless of humans; hypothetical explanations are attempted. Informed speculation is also offered in relation to the transition between the antediluvian and postdiluvian periods. What did the Noahic family do for food immediately after leaving the Ark, and what about the succeeding generations? We consider dietary requirements, the history of hunting, and even the advent of gardening. Finally, we conclude with a hitherto apparently unnoticed contrast between the biblical creationist and evolutionary timelines.

That one can be seen at "Dread of man: part 2—fear, hunting, and human diet". You'll thank me later. 


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