Even the most skeptical observers were astounded by Koko’s communication skills. She was able to express herself through a sign language vocabulary that was well over 1,000 signs. She made human friends easily, even showing sorrow when learning they had passed away. The cognitive abilities by members of the animal kingdom should not be a surprise to any Christian. God created the animal kingdom before he created Adam, the first man. He saved every animal kind from the flood. The relationship between man and animal was different in the Garden of Eden. They lived side by side in perfect harmony, neither fearing the other. God provided all the common essentials needed to ensure a comfortable life for both. God said, “I am giving you all the grain-bearing plants and all the fruit trees. These trees make fruit with seeds in it. This grain and fruit will be, your food. And I am giving all the green plants to the animals. These green plants will be their food. Every animal on earth, every bird in the air, and all the little things that crawl on the earth will eat that food.” (Gen.1:29,30) After the flood of Noah, animal natures changed, many became carnivorous and dangerous. Because men were corrupted, they hunted animals for game and food. As a result, both feared the other, and the perfect relationship between man and beast broke.
Ask any animal lover if their pet understands commands, and they will tell you yes, they do. Have you ever gone to the zoo and considered the majesty of the animals? Have you ever wanted to pet a lion or tiger like you would a kitten? Have you ever noticed how efficiently animal's function in their environment or how birds communicate with each other at feeders? Animals were simply never allowed to reach their full potential before being corrupted by the fall of man. In the world to come, their true nature and purpose will be revealed, and once again become close companions to humans. “Then wolves will live at peace with lambs, and leopards will lie down in peace with young goats. Calves, lions, and bulls will all live together in peace. A little child will lead them. Bears and cattle will eat together in peace, and all their young will lie down together and will not hurt each other. Lions will eat hay like cattle. Even snakes will not hurt people. Babies will be able to play near a cobra’s hole and put their hands into the nest of a poisonous snake.” (Isaiah 11:6, 7, 8)
So what, if Koko died, she was just another animal with little purpose. Not so! She once befriended a tiny kitten that she embraced with love and compassion. She understood how fragile the kitten was and they became close companions. Koko was heartbroken when her little friend passed away. She reminded us that life of any kind is sacred and one-day violence, hate, and fear will be replaced with love and compassion. We have a lot to thank Koko for, most of all she proved that the above scripture is valid and one day we will be able to wrap our arms around a tiger and pet him like a kitten. For more about the world to come read “Beam me up Commander,” it’s free!