The original question was:
If Adam was a vegetarian and God called that good– shouldn’t we also only eat plants and fruit if we want to live pleasing to God as well as a long and healthy life?
Answer by Diane Eager and John Mackay
Genesis 1:29-30 clearly states that man and animals were to live on a diet of plant food. In the original perfect created world, a vegetarian diet would have met all nutritional needs. A combination of green leafy plants, fruits, vegetable, nuts and grains all growing in rich newly created soils would provide sufficient carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins and minerals.
After man sinned by eating the forbidden fruit God cursed the ground. (Genesis 3) From then on there would be thorns and thistles, and growing and harvesting plants would be hard work. Anyone who has tried to pick raspberries or collect prickly pear fruit knows exactly what this means. From the Fall of Man to Noah’s flood there are no further instructions on diet for man or animals. By Noah’s time some animals had become unclean, which is later defined as meaning scavengers, i.e. eating dead carcasses. But there is no indication that any of the ark animals tried to eat each other or Noah’s family.
After the flood God gave Noah new instructions for diet and authorised man to eat meat. This is spelt out clearly when God says that “every moving thing” is now permissible to eat, just as the green plants were from the beginning. (Genesis 9:2-3). Note that Noah was not forbidden to eat pigs or camels or eels. Until the flood Noah in obedience to God’s instructions, would have been vegetarian. However, the flood ruined what remained of the perfect environment, and from then on there would be many places in the world where neither humans nor animals could survive on a totally vegetarian diet, from the Alaskan snowfields to the Australian deserts.
There is however one restriction in the post flood meat diet – eating blood was forbidden by God because the life is in the blood. (Genesis 9:4) Because this instruction was given to Noah and his family, and not to any one racial or cultural group, and God has never been revoked this instruction, it applies to the whole human race.
In the Law of Moses God gave the Israelites some further restrictions on diet (Leviticus 11 &17, Deuteronomy 19) such as not eating pig meat or shellfish, but the Jewish diet did include meat. In fact, eating meat was part of their ceremonies and festivals, e.g. the Passover meal was a meal of roast lamb. But the rule about not eating blood was again reinforced (Leviticus 7: 26-7, 17:10-14).
When the Apostles pondered on what food rules to give to the newly converted Christian Gentiles they told them not to eat meat from strangled animals or to eat the blood. (Acts 15:28-29) Note, the Apostles didn’t send the Gentiles back to Eden, they only took them back to the rules God gave to Noah. The reason is very simple – the good world of Eden lingered only until the flood destroyed the beautiful soil that God had created along with the wonderful lush vegetation. We now live in a world of highly variable and often deficient soils, and plants have degenerated and are no longer as nutritious, due to growing in harsh conditions. This rule against eating blood still applies today, so eating strangled animals and blood sausages is forbidden for Christians, irrespective of local culture.
It is possible to live a healthy life on a vegetarian diet today, but it is not possible to live as they did in Eden. As part of the judgement on sin God cursed the ground and the earth has been corrupted ever since and will remain so until the end of the world. One day God will bring this cursed world to an end, and will create a new heaven and earth with no more curse. There the people of God will live forever in a perfect world with no death or suffering. Diet won’t get you there! Only faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose death and resurrection has paid the penalty for sin.
Addendum: The reason why we are forbidden to eat strangled things is that the animal has not had its blood drained so you end up eating the blood which He has forbidden; and when He told the people of Israel to drain the blood by slitting the animals throat the result was acceptable to Him who tells us not to eat blood, so it should be to us. For those who claim that the red liquid in meat is blood so it can’t be wrong to eat blood sausage please note the red fluid that oozes out of meat is mostly tissue fluid stained with myoglobin – an iron storing compound that makes red meat red. White meat, such as chicken, also contains myoglobin, but not as much as meats like beef or lamb.
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