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“How Man Differs from the Animal Kingdom”

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 14, 2017

Sunday School lesson for 19 January 1930 –

Objectives: 1. To help members of the class recognize those peculiar characteristics which differentiate man from the animal. 2. To show that it is in the realm of these characteristics peculiar to himself that man finds his greatest possibility for advancement along the lines of knowledge, appreciation, wisdom, control, love, joy, and happiness.


I. The animal is amoral. Man is either moral or immoral. Why is this so?

II. Animals have neither moral accountability or personal responsibility.

a. Why do we not hold the animal responsible?

b. What powers or capacities would the animal have to have before we could hold it morally responsible?

c. What are the characteristics present in man but lacking in the animal which makes man personally responsible?

III. Man has all the characteristics of the animal plus those soul characteristics which make possible his intellectual, aesthetic, moral and spiritual life.

a. Help the class to see the difference in the life we live through our mere animal nature and the life we live through our aesthetic, spiritual, and intellectual natures.

IV. Man builds for the future, the animal adjusts to immediate stimuli. Give examples.

V. The worlds of art, literature, history, science, religion, and philosophy are all due to those capacities, faculties, and powers which are unique to man.

Suggestions: The animal has a full set of appetites, passions, emotions, impulses and cravings. It also has a form of consciousness but it is not the kind of consciousness which we find in man. It is not self-consciousness.

While the animal has these appetites, passions, emotions, and impulses, it seems to be a slave to them. There appears to be no central power which can regulate and control these tendencies.

Man also has a full set of these appetites, passions, emotions, impulses, and desires. In fact, they would seem to be keener in man than in the animal. Nature, or God, however, seems to have given man a wonderful set of tools with which to organize, shape, and build all this raw material into a beautiful life – a life which is guided by principle and control rather than by impulse. It is in this wonderful set of tools, called by some the Soul Attributes, that man rises above and beyond the possibilities of the animal world. Man is self-conscious. He is aware of laws and relationships which pertain to his own nature. He is aware of his hopes, his desires, and his aspirations. He chooses his objective and organizes a plan of procedure to make his aims come true.

Man reasons about himself, about the world, about his relation to the world, about God, and about reason itself. he wills to adjust, to organize, and to create, and more than this, he appreciates and enjoys it all.



  1. Interesting.

    Compared with today’s lessons, it is interesting to note that this lesson plan quotes no scriptures or general authorities. Was this typical for the lessons of that time?

    Comment by Niklas — February 16, 2017 @ 3:09 am

  2. Nikoas, I’m not quite sure how these lessons worked. There was a regular lesson manual (or at least a bulletin printed quarterly with full, scripture-laden lessons), and also short outlines like this one printed in the Instructor each month. When the library is open again (it has been closed for remodeling for several months) so that I can read the manuals again, I will compare a few of them with the outlines like this one, to understand better what was going on.

    All that to say, you’re right. It would be odd if this were all there was, because there isn’t any attempt to link this to scripture.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 16, 2017 @ 6:50 am

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