Leviticus 11:1 - 47
NKJV - 1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them. 2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth:
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
To my knowledge, the Bible indicates that humans were first given permission by God to eat animals for food after the Flood (Genesis 9:3). I would say that God did this due to the major disruption that would have been caused to both the quantity and quality of vegetation and agriculture by the Flood, so that humans would have an adequate food supply, especially in the time immediately following the Flood. Other possible reasons that have been suggested from a theological standpoint for humans being given permission to eat animals have included: -- the fact that animals were saved from the Flood only by Noah's intervention, which gave humans rights over animals that humans did not possess prior to the Flood, including the right to consume them for food (but still with restrictions, such as not consuming their blood); -- change to the climate after the Flood (including long, unproductive winters with respect to agriculture), and the dispersion of humans to colder climates, which necessitated a source of food that would be sufficient for year-round survival; -- the steadily decreasing lifespans of humans as indicated in the Bible after the Flood, signifying a progressive weakness that could only be adequately addressed through the consumption of meat as well as plants; -- so that humans would have an increased awareness of the fundamental difference from a spiritual standpoint between human life and animal life (that is, humans being created in God's image, and having a spiritual component that animals did not possess). (It has been suggested that the reason that Cain offered crops in his sacrifice to God was because he regarded the killing and offering of an animal (as Abel did) to be the equivalent of the killing of a human. After Abel's sacrifice of a lamb was accepted by God, while Cain's offering of crops was not, Cain wrongly concluded that the killing of a human would also be acceptable to God, leading him to kill Abel. God therefore later permitted humans to kill and consume animals to give them a greater appreciation of the fundamental difference from a spiritual standpoint between animals and humans.)
God allowed humans to eat animal flesh because the flood destroyed all the vegetation and no fruits and vegetables would have been available for quite a while (Gen 9:3). Noah most likely brought some seeds, dried fruits and nuts with him the ark, but that would have been insufficient to sustain him and his family. Although at this point meat was permitted for food, God made clear distinction between clean and unclean animals (Gen 7:2; Lev 11). The diet God assigned to humans was a vegetarian one (Gen 1:29) and it remained as such after sin entered the world (Gen 3:18). In the context of the Creation, the vegetarian diet pointed to God’s original intent; a world without violence and death. The diet also showed God’s wisdom in providing humans the best type of food needed. Anyone buying a new car would be wise to use the type of fuel the manufacturer recommends. Obviously, God did not believe meat was necessary for humans. And God did not abandon the ideal vegetarian concept - in the wilderness God provided His people with manna. Only when they rebelled, God gave them quail, which resulted in sickness and death (Num 11:4-23, 31-34). By taking proper care of our bodies, which are temples of the Holy Spirit, we glorify God and a careful Bible examination would indicate that vegetarianism is God’s favorite diet for His people. Today many non-Christians started to realize the benefits of a plant-based diet - some due to ethical concerns and opposition to animal cruelty, others because ecological or religious reasons. Interestingly, the Bible says that in the Kingdom God's saints, as well as animals, will again be vegetarians (Isa 11:6-9; 65:25).
Since most animals reproduce rapidly and their young mature quickly, the beasts could easily overrun/invade the human population; so God allowed meat-eating beginning in Genesis 9:3, a verse Tim mentioned. This would prevent the animals from so doing.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.