Hinduism, a religion of the majority of the people in India and Nepal, describes everything in terms of divinity and in relation to the ultimate reality. The different aspects of this ultimate reality are all to be found in the various forms of the physical world.

Hindus see divinity in all living creatures. Animal deities therefore occupy an important place in Hindu religion. Animals are a very common form of transport for various gods and goddesses.

The cow is a symbol of Hinduism. It is also a symbol of the earth because it gives so much yet takes nothing in return. Because of its great economic importance, it makes good sense to protect the cow.

Snakes are a symbol of healing and primal energy. In Kerala, snakes are worshipped as guardians of the home; and it is said that when a snake enters one’s life, there is a new birth of creativity and wisdom. These snakes and Cobras are worshipped and offered prayers on the Nag Panchami day. Fast is observed and Brahmins are fed on this day. The piety observed on that day is considered a sure protection against the fear of snake bite. In many places real cobras and snakes are worshipped and digging the earth is prohibited, because serpents live under the earth or in nether world and digging may hurt or annoy them.

The Hindu view as explained above is quite contrary to what the Bible teaches about nature. The Holy Bible is clear that God (Jehovah) is the Creator of the universe. Creation is His possession, not man’s. We live in the universe and experience our own and the biophysical world as a gift from God. It is not our absolute possession.

In serving God, we need to recognize the participation of creation in the life of God, and for us today, this is displayed in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Unless we worship God as Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of all that exists, we may imagine ourselves as stewards and managers of lands belonging to an absentee landlord on the earth. Apart from the worship of God as sovereign and redeemer of creation – as not only its originator but its incarnate and involved redeemer – humans always stand in danger of turning their ownership and use of the earth into a substitute for God, and worshipping the creature rather than the Creator.

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