Question:

Question

Answer:

I read your article on Jesus eating meat. You make the point that God gave plants to be eaten in the beginning. Then you state that was changed at the Ark. However, Abel was a keeper of sheep (Genesis 4:2) and he sacrificed the sheep with the fat (Genesis 4:4). Though it is not stated, it is inferred that they ate meat. Instead of saying that this was changed at the Ark, maybe you should say, by the time of the Ark it had clearly changed


Since sheep are used for wool as well as meat, the fact that Abel kept sheep does not provide a necessary inference that the sheep were used for food. Genesis 4:4 states that, "Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat." However, we have no record of what Abel did with the portions that he did not offer to God, so once again we cannot draw an unavoidable conclusion in regards to the eating of meat.

In Genesis 9:3 we read, "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs." God's statement refers back to Genesis 1:29 where God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food." Here then we know that vegetitables were used as food prior to the Flood. Since God added animals after the Flood, it must be assumed that they were not given to man prior.

Other commentators have reached the same conclusion:

Adam Clarke: There is no positive evidence that animal food was ever used before the flood. Noah had the first grant of this kind, and it has been continued to all his posterity ever since.

John Wesley: Hitherto man had been confined to feed only upon the products of the earth, fruits, herbs and roots, and all sorts of corn and milk; so was the first grant, Ge 1:29. But the flood having perhaps washed away much of the virtue of the earth, and so rendered its fruits less pleasing, and less nourishing, God now enlarged the grant, and allowed man to eat flesh, which perhaps man himself never thought of 'till now.

Matthew Henry: Hitherto, most think, man had been confined to feed only upon the products of the earth, fruits, herbs, and roots, and all sorts of corn and milk; so was the first grant, Ge 1:29. But the flood having perhaps washed away much of the virtue of the earth, and so rendered its fruits less pleasing and less nourishing, God now enlarged the grant, and allowed man to eat flesh, which perhaps man himself never thought of, till now that God directed him to it, nor had any more desire to than a sheep has to suck blood like a wolf. But now man is allowed to feed upon flesh, as freely and safely as upon the green herb.

March 15, 2005