Question:

I havesome questions that I desperately need answered regarding some of the statements in "Did Jesus Eat Meat?" These questions are not sarcastic or rhetorical, I'm simply seeking answers.

If God meant for man to eat animals, then why did he give them nerves that allow them to feel pain when they are killed?

Why did he make them care for their young and allow them to feel joy and connectionwhen we are simply meant to take that away from them?

Why are they able to feel sorrow if they are just food?

Why would a benevolent God create carnivores that prey on the innocent? Why would a loving and merciful God require his creations to kill?

One of the ten commandments is "Thou shall not kill". Most interpret it to mean that man shall not kill man, but that distinction was never made. How do we know?


Answer:

I'm puzzled by your questions as most have obvious answers. All living creatures were made to feel pain so that the creature would know when something is dangerous and to avoid injury. You have nerves in your skin that tell you that something is hot. They let you know when to avoid things that might present a danger to you. The fact that a creature experiences pains of some sort at death, doesn't negate the need for pain as a warning mechanism during life. Your first question has nothing to do the eating of meat. You might as well ask why we feel pain when we are dying of a disease.

In the second and third question you are assigning human emotions to animals. Some animals do express sadness, joy, and loyalty -- but not all. Almost all are unable to retain those emotions, if they have them, beyond a short time frame. But like the question about nerves, the responses a creature has to its environment are essential for survival of either the creature directly or the young for which it cares. The fact that God assign the animals to also be food doesn't imply that food can only be lumps which neither feel, nor grow, nor move, nor die. The error you are making is constantly saying "just food." The plants in this world are not "just food" nor are the creatures in this world. Most of the creation serves multiple purposes.

Your fourth question is a little more reasonable, but you crouch it in emotional terms. Why would you call an animal "innocent?" The word implies the ability to make moral judgments -- something animals are unable to do. They can make instinctive judgments, but animals, unless intensely trained, are unable to act despite their instincts (something humans do regularly).

Death entered the world because mankind sinned. "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die"" (Genesis 2:16-17). The last phrase in Hebrew expresses the concept that in the process of dying a person will die. That is, men would decay both physically and spiritually. As a consequence of their sins, God said, "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19).

As to why some animals are carnivores, the answer is all around you. God designed many of the animals to be prolific. This allows ample quantities to be available as a food source. But without predators to keep these animal populations in balance, they will quickly destroy the environs in which they live. In my area is a large private forest preserve. For years they forbade hunting in their preserve. But recently they learned that without some checks, the forest was being destroyed by deer and other animals whose population went unchecked. Worse, disease had set in as well, making the animal's lives miserable. They now allow limited hunting.

Before man came along, carnivores were the predators to keep the animal population in balance. But man tends to eliminate the predators for safety, so they must perform a similar function. There is no need to waste either the fur or the meat in these cases.

In regards to why death is required, it still comes back to the fact that men sin. Death is the consequence of sin (Romans 6:26). To get the idea across to men, God required animal sacrifices in the Old Law. Ultimately God showed the serious nature of sin by the death of His own Son to provide a pathway out of sin. Whether you wish to understand or see this doesn't change the fact that it has always been a part of our world. Where you make your mistake is defining love and mercy as having no involvement with death. Yet we understand that the ultimate expression of love is when one person is willing to lay down his life for another. "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13). "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Exodus 20:13 states, "You shall not murder." Only the King James Version uses the word "kill" and it is universally agreed that it wasn't the best selection for translating the Hebrew word ratsach. The Hebrew word ratsach is only used in the taking of human life. It is never used for the taking of animal life. The answer to the question "Is the commandment "You shall not kill" or "You shall not murder"?" addresses this in more detail.

Most of your "arguments" are actually appeals to emotional sympathy. There is no rational basis. You attempt to seek authority from God's word, but you insist on doing so by attempting to turn one part of the Bible against the other -- something that can only be done by twisting the meaning of passages. Concerning the Scriptures, Peter warned, "which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked" (II Peter 3:16-17).

If you are going to accept that the Bible is God's Holy Word, and if you are going to use it as the basis of an appeal, then you must accept that the Bible states:

"So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man"" (Genesis 9:1-6).

"When the LORD your God enlarges your border as He has promised you, and you say, 'Let me eat meat,' because you long to eat meat, you may eat as much meat as your heart desires. If the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter from your herd and from your flock which the LORD has given you, just as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your gates as much as your heart desires. Just as the gazelle and the deer are eaten, so you may eat them; the unclean and the clean alike may eat them. Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life; you may not eat the life with the meat. You shall not eat it; you shall pour it on the earth like water. You shall not eat it, that it may go well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in the sight of the LORD" (Deuteronomy 12:20-25).

"These are the animals which you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the mountain goat, the antelope, and the mountain sheep. And you may eat every animal with cloven hooves, having the hoof split into two parts, and that chews the cud, among the animals" (Deuteronomy 14:4-6).

"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer" (I Timothy 4:1-5).

The fact is that you are being dishonest in your use of the God's Word. You make yourself out to be pious, but simultaneous denying the very words that you tell others you follow.