So, as my 17 (nearly 18) year old niece is a vegetarian recently changed to Vegan, I decided to do some serious research into the subject after she expressed disappointment and frustration at the response she gets from people on this topic. Now, I’ll admit, my initial response was similar to many… “What, you can seriously go without eating a perfectly cooked steak, or a delicious chicken breast?” I love my meat and enjoy cooking with nice meat.
I didn’t want to just give her the same response that many do, without it being an educated opinion… so this is what prompted the research journey.
I must admit, I do stick to those two main meats listed above.. chicken & steak. The are really the only ‘healthy’ ones that i like to eat. I’m not a big fan of fish and only really eat it very rarely as I do acknowledge that it’s good for me. I do have some sort of mince dish once a fortnight or so, but I’d prefer to stay away form it, as well as sausages, as you just can’t always be sure exactly what’s in them. So, what I’m saying is that I don’t eat a huge range of meat. My eyesight has always made it difficult to cut up anything with a bone in it, so I’ve stayed away from chops, t-bone etc.
During a conversation with Miss 17 this week, she questioned my biblical standpoint on the topic of meat eating, as I must admit I’d fallen back to those verses about dominion over animals when talking to her at other times etc. Also, the one thing I’ve clung to is the ‘God gave us meat to eat’ argument. Something prompted me to look into that and verify that I was in fact speaking correctly. My research tells me that I WASN’T !! (Whoopsie)
Gene:29-30 … And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
Let’s also look at Genesis 2:9 ..And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. and vs 16 – And the Lord God commanded the man (Adam), saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden (God’s first form of food for us was in fact grown from the ground….. maybe significant, maybe not, but an interesting point nonetheless.)
In vs 18 God decided that Adam should not be alone and that He would make him a helper, so the animals which God had created out of the dust back in Gen 1:20, were paraded past Adam, and he named each one. A suitable helper had not been found, so it was then that God created Eve. I think it’s very interesting that animals were first seen as Adam’s HELPER, there is no mention or even hint at them created for his food.
In Chapter 3 vs 18, after the fall has occurred, God speaks of Adam eating the plants of the field, and bread.. but still no mention of eating meat. (& so the plot thickens… who else is starting to think the Vegetarians maybe aren’t the crazy ones??)
However, in vs 20 & 21 of Chapter 3, it says this… the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. So, where did these ‘skins’ come from? Several commentaries look at whether this was skin from an animal, which of course would have had to die in order for him to have the skin, or did God simply create the skin Himself?
In Genesis 4:4, the first specific mention of killing an animal occurs….Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.
When we get to Gen 8 vs 20… the flood waters have subsided and Noah comes out of the ark and offers a sacrifice to The Lord and He finds the aroma ‘pleasing’. Now, would this indicate that God was ok with the sacrifice of animals? It had been made clear prior to this that a sacrifice was made of an innocent animal, to atone for our sins… all being a prelude to the ultimate innocent, Jesus, who would make the ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross… taking the penalty for our sin. A commentary I read on this verse and others relating to it suggests that it wasn’t the aroma of animal blood and burnt flesh that God found appealing, but the repentant attitude of Noah which prompted him to do the sacrifice in the first place. (Remembering we are fallen man.)
Gen 9:1-4 gets rather interesting… *remembering that man’s diet to this point has been only vegetarian… And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
This paragraph from the same commentary mentioned above suggest this of Gen 9: 1-4…
This whole passage is a concession from God and does not express the will of God. God recognizes the evilness of the human heart and is allowing humankind to live in a state of being that is less than His desire or ideal.
The same commentary goes on to say…
However, upon the ark there was once again no death, and apparent obedience to the Lord. But following the Flood, when there was supposed to be another Edenic way of peaceful living and obedience to God, Noah and his family sacrificed innocent animals, because they supposedly recognized themselves as not pure, and needed to repent. This brings about the mixed feelings of God, as expressed in Genesis 8:21.
Apparently, it is easier to kill an innocent animal than it is to be obedient to the Lord our God. Or, perhaps there is more to this corrupted state of being. Are humans expressing their dominance and power over the animals by killing and eating those who are weaker than themselves (The sin of the boastful pride of life)? Are humans expressing their sins of the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16), by eating the flesh that had been denied them as poor people who looked upon the eating of flesh as a status symbol? I believe the answer to both questions is, “Yes!”
I particularly liked this following paragraph as it relates back to Gen 2:18 where animals were to be helpers.
For nearly a year, the animals upon the ark had lived in close confinement with Noah and his human family. It must have been as though these animals were also part of Noah’s family. The killing of the innocent animals for the sacrifice was a betrayal of the pre-existing peaceful state, and brought fear and terror to the heart and soul of every animal upon the ark. This is the key point that God emphasizes and expands upon in Genesis 9:2. Not only had the humans lost their perfect state of being with God, but now they had lost the companionship and fellowship of most of the animal kingdom.
God, knowing the evilness of the human heart, further grants the concession of eating the animals, for He acknowledges that the humans are not ready to repent of their evil nature.
Once again, a topic that requires some time with God to process. I can’t honestly say that I’ll be changing to a vegetarian lifestyle tomorrow , but I can definitely tell you that my opinion on it has done a 180 from where I was a few days back.
It’s knowledge awesome !!! I’ve chosen in this blog to look at this biblical side of the topic, but there is actually a complete other side to it also in regards to agricultural farming and the harm it causes to the environment. I’m still researching that angle, so will fill you all in once I feel more equipped to do so.