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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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The 21st-century Dog-worshippers

In South Korea you can clone your dog. No need to grieve after its time on earth is done; for a bargain £75,000 you can have another one exactly like it, according to an article in The Times Magazine this week.

What a shame Loni Edwards didn’t know that. When her bulldog Chloe died, Edwards didn’t just lose a pet, but a valuable source of income. Chloe was one of an increasing number of pets who are ‘Instagram stars’, apparently earning their owners up to US$15,000 per sponsored post. Chloe died as a result of a staff error during a routine surgery, and Edwards has been involved in legal proceedings ever since, trying to gain recognition that her pet was more to her than just ‘property’, as the law currently sees domestic animals.

I can understand Edwards’ desire to recoup her financial loss, but the article about her and Chloe includes some frankly extreme reactions by other pet owners (and pet fans) to the passing of the social media ‘stars’. And for anyone to go to the lengths – and cost – of cloning an animal is beyond my comprehension.

Loss of anything or anyone we love is, of course, a bad thing. It is painful and upsetting, and is not how God designed the world. However, this realisation should drive us into the arms of our creator, not to finding solace in created things.

‘Solutions’ to our sadness like pet cloning may all too easily become a form of idolatry, telling us something other than God can fill the hole in our lives. And like all idols, these solutions promise much, but can never satisfy. Your new pet might look identical to the one you lost, but it won’t be the same. And one day it too will die.

Seeking satisfaction in created things is what put humanity in this predicament in the first place. Adam and Eve had everything they could possibly need; they were ‘like God’ already – created in his image, to carry out his rule and reign on the earth. But when the serpent showed them the fruit and told them that they needed it to be complete, they chose to believe him. The fruit was attractive and nutritious, but putting it in place of God had tragic consequences. Let’s stop repeating the mistake: only the creator can comfort us in our grief and satisfy our deepest longings.

Jennie Pollock


Jennie Pollock


  1. A(nother) timely ‘connection with culture’, Jenny, thank you. A compelling read alongside this is ‘The grace of dogs’ by Andrew Root, a beautifully written engaging book offering insights into both science and theology ……….. as well as dogs!

    By John Samways  -  26 Oct 2018
  2. Thanks Jennie for a profound and perceptive article exposing one of our attempts to fill the hole in the soul.

    By David Hughes  -  26 Oct 2018
  3. Thanks Jennie,

    Idolatry is a problem not just in society but in the church as well.
    How often is marriage seen as ‘the’ Christian lifestyle – leaving single, celibate Christians to feel second class?
    How often is being employed by a church or mission seen as more valuable than legitimate work done elsewhere?
    How much do we value people on the basis of their looks, their income, their speaking ability, their dress sense or their job title?

    It is right to look outward and identify the idols of our society, but let’s not forget to look at ourselves.

    By John Steley  -  26 Oct 2018
  4. Thanks for interesting article. On a minor aspect, I query your comment in para. 4 that loss ‘ …is not how God designed the world.’ Is not transience and mortality built into God’s creation (Romans 8:20-21)?

    By David Clay  -  26 Oct 2018
  5. I so identify with what John Steley has written above!

    By Jean Watson  -  26 Oct 2018
  6. I marvel at how often the Garden of Eden and our fall always seems to give us a real insight to our condition that no amount of philosophy can get near to. It is the prologue to our current and future human condition. As we are getting so close to designer babies (if not already here) it will be possible to be the creator’s.
    Demi-gods. Lord help us.
    Thanks Jennie for marvelling me

    By John from Belfast  -  26 Oct 2018
  7. The Creator God gave us all that lives including Dogs,also cats, horses, Birds of the air and herbaceous life too.’ It is for us to honour it and allow it like us die at the due season. We can not artificially keep alive our pet animals we owe it to them to comfort them when their end is near not to prolong their lives artificially

    By mary quenby  -  26 Oct 2018
  8. Thanks everyone. David Clay, are those verses not pointing to the ‘bondage of decay’ that entered the world as a result of the Fall? After they ate the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve were banished from the garden so that they couldn’t eat the fruit of the tree of life ‘and live forever’ (Gen 3:22). I read somewhere recently that God graciously allowed them not to live forever in a sinful and broken world, because eternity like this would be unbearable. Our future hope is for eternity with no more loss or mourning or pain.

    By Jennie Pollock  -  27 Oct 2018
  9. Thanks for this. I hadn’t come across this story. If this life is all there is, then hanging onto it (and its happy animal associations) at all costs, including cloning, has a weird logic to it. However, I have no doubt that everyone who reads this can think of thousands of ways to use £75K in a more God-honouring way.

    By Dave Matthews  -  29 Oct 2018

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