The last item on a theology of zombies is how zombies are like animals. Zombies lack three of the things we associate with being human. They lack a sense of transcendence — the ability to connect with God. They lack the higher rational abilities. Yes, they can think well enough to direct the instinct to find food and kill, but they cannot work with logic beyond basic problem solving — like how to get into a house that is boarded up. They think, “I’ll hit it with my body and hands,” not “Let me find a tool to remove the boards or a hammer to break them.” Lastly, zombies are devoid of moral quality. They are instinctual, looking for food, but show no sign of moral capacity to guide what should be food. There is no “ought” or “should” with zombies, only what “is”  or “is not” food. It is, in this sense, a scientific decision, namely, what best satisfies need for food? It is not a moral one: what should satisfy my need for food? Jesus speaks to this issue as well when he says that “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word coming from the mouth of the LORD.”

In sum, we can say that zombies are beastial in nature, or animalistic. Does Scripture speak of people becoming animalistic? Is there something that “beastifies” a human? Indeed, evil or wickedness turns a human into a monstrous beast. Let’s take a somewhat random sampling of how evil is linked to becoming animalistic. Ps. 49:12 states, “Man in his pride will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish.” This text links the sinfulness of pride — not an overt pride but more the autonomous pride of self-vigor — with the fate no better than that of beasts. Verse 20 of the same Psalm links lack of rational thought to man becoming like a beast: “Man in his pride yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.” Psalm 57:4 uses lions as a metaphor of men who are cruel with their mouth and excessive in their violence: “My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts — the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.” Similarly, Ps. 68:30 uses “beasts” and “bulls” as metaphors for men who enjoy spoils taken through the violence of war: “Rebuke the beasts . . . the herd of bulls . . . . Trample underfoot those who lust after tribute; scatter the peoples who delight in war.” Ezekiel 34:8 discusses Israel (v. 2) as sheep and those who scattered them (the Babylonian people) as “beasts”: ” . . . surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep . . . .” Who can forget the scathing quote by Paul, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12). This suffices to make the point although many other verses remain, even “beast” standing for satan (E.g., Ps. 73:22, Dan. 7:5, Rev. 11:7).

Wickedness in Scripture leads to animalistic behavior: irrationality, cruelty, violence, satisfying greed, etc. Zombies, of course, are particularly vivid portrayals of such wickedness: they are mindless, need-driven, and violent. Is this similarity between zombies and the wicked in the Bible strange? No, not if we consider the fact that humans are patterned after the good, loving, and intelligent God. To act evil, then, is to descend from the dignity of being human to the profanity of acting like an animal. God is good (moral); those who are not become immoral, and so beast-like. God is loving; those who are not become cruel and violent, and so animalistic. God is intelligent; those who are not become mindless brutes. Zombies, then, are merely an extension of biblical thought. The wicked are violent, irrational, cruel, and immoral; ergo, beast-like. Zombies are beasts perfectly personifying the horrific effects of evil on humanity.

Dr. Scalise