The original question was:
Kangaroos technically are unclean animals according to Leviticus as they have paws and not cloven hooves, don’t chew cud, etc. Therefore, only one pair would have gone onto the Ark.

Answer by John Mackay

This statement about the Australian Kangaroo is interesting, so let’s analyse it from the very beginning. Genesis declares that all animals and man were created as vegetarian and all were declared good by God (Gen 1:26-31). It means the basic possession of hoof or claw type was not a defining issue at that stage – vegetarianism was. Good is a positive term and so is clean. Even our saying ‘cleanliness is next to Godliness’ reflects this.

By Noah’s flood (Gen 6-7), some creatures that entered the ark were declared to be clean by God – a positive term which means they meet with God’s approval, so they must have still been in form and behaviour similar to the way He made them. Clean creatures were sent by sevens. But God told Noah that He would send some creatures that were labelled unclean – a term undefined in the text at that point. Only one pair of each unclean animals boarded the ark. Unclean is a negative term and does not qualify as ‘very good’. So something has happened between creation and the flood.

Genesis 6 tells us some creatures, man included, had become corrupt and violent, and that is unacceptable to a God who made a good world. Hooves, however, are still not listed as the criteria for distinguishing clean from unclean. In today’s world, the observed progression of food choices is from vegetarian to scavenger to carnivore, (e.g. the NZ Kea Parrot), so most likely by Noah’s day the unclean ones had started to eat dead things. They had become scavengers. Sin had brought death and it had passed onto the whole of creation, so there would have been plenty of easy dead food sources around by pre-flood time. There is, however, no hint in the text that any creature had yet become a ‘dependant carnivore’ which could no longer exist on plant food alone. Likewise, no examples of carnivores were listed by the start of Noah’s flood. Hence Noah, who had to collect food for the animals on the ark, could stock it with plant food rather than barrels full of dried meat.

After the flood God instructed Noah that man was henceforth permitted to eat meat. He told Noah and his family “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” (Genesis 9:3) No restriction on clean or unclean meat was made for Noah, and no reference to hooves as a criterion was implemented. Noah was free to eat pig as well as camel, etc. but he and his family and descendants were not free to eat humans or blood. God was very specific on this matter. (Gen 9:1-7)

The next serious classification of clean vs unclean is the one in Leviticus specifically revealed for the people of Israel. This is indicated in Leviticus 11, where clean and unclean foods are listed and the unclean ones are declared “unclean for you”. The defining and repeated “for you” is missed by many people who want to make these definitions universal. The definition of unclean as an eater of dead things, and unclean as the possessor of certain hoof types first appears here, so a practising Israelite was forbidden to eat such creatures. Since there were no kangaroos in Israel that we know of, they would never have been given the label unclean in Jewish law, unless Solomon imported some along with his apes and peacocks, etc.

The next relevant reference to animal consumption is the letter from the Jewish Christian leaders to the newly converted Gentile believers in Acts, where the Apostles specifically pass on the food rule God gave Noah, and not the one given to the Jews. Acts records that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles and Elders directed that all Christians are permitted to eat any meat, but must not eat blood or strangled animals (as they still have blood in them). (Acts 15:29) This confirmed the original instructions given to Noah, which applied to the whole human race then, and still apply now. Kangaroos are not excluded from your diet by this list, but it does lead to one last question. Why a separate rule for the Israelites who were descendants of the man Israel?

The definitions of clean and unclean revealed though Moses had another purpose which shows every time you invite a Jewish family for a meal – is it Kosher? Their food laws are a wall that divides. The definitions relating to what was unclean given to the people of Israel certainly do isolate them from the pagans around them. That’s the significance of the “for you” in Leviticus. In a world where the Holy Spirit was not yet given to indwell God’s people, such a wall was necessary and it made for one reason the Israelites could not go into all the world and preach the gospel. Whatever God’s purposes in working through Israel were until Jesus the Messiah came, this protective barrier was necessary. But now Jesus has come and He has also sent His Holy Spirit to indwell Christians with the power of God and commanded His people to go into the world. Any dietary and divisive animal distinctions, walls, barriers that would hinder you from mingling with the very people you are sent to minister to are no longer relevant. They have therefore been removed.

In conclusion: there is no reason to put Kangaroos on God’s pre flood unclean list as they still are fully vegetarian, and show no signs of ever having been any different. After the flood roo burger was OK for Noah, as well as for us, but not black pudding or blood sausage.

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