“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11)
Not every animal appears to be of equal value to God. Some of them, in Genesis 1, were blessed. Then there is the way that God described some of these creatures.
Even the word creature is used in different ways. In Genesis 1:20, the Hebrew word translated as creature is sherets. The verse refers to “living creatures”. The word for “living” is nephesh. In verse 21, however, the word nephesh appears again, but is translated just as “creature”.
Another interesting place where the word nephesh appears is in Leviticus 17:11 – “The life of the flesh is in the blood”; literally, the nephesh of the flesh is in the blood. It seems that there is a differentiation between animals with or without blood, as they would be animals with or without life. That is not to say that non-nephesh animals are not living, but their quality of life is different. They are not blessed animals, like those with blood are.
So what is this blessing for nephesh animals for? It is surely because of the importance of blood. Hebrews 9:22 reminds us that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins”. Of course, the only perfect blood was that of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shed His blood, not only as a covering for our sins, but to wash away our sins completely.
Ref: Ham, K. (2014), Was there Death before Adam Sinned?, in New Answers Book 3, (Master Books). Image: Adobe Stock Images, Licensed to author.