Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Should a Christian Eat Meat?

And there came a voice to him, “Rise, Peter; Kill, and Eat”. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. 
 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, “What God Hath Cleansed that Call Not Thou Common.” Acts 10:13-15(KJV)

The question should a Christian eat meat or vegetable comes up often, there are some Christians that say we should not  eat pork, or shell fish, and some say Christians should only eat vegetables and it makes no different  what the argument everyone claim to have biblical proof.   Which is correct for the Christian? To eat meat or not to eat meat that is the question.

About 7 years ago I went to Christian retreat called the School of Knowledge in St. Petersburg Fl. The experience was tremendous however; there was a Dr. (whose name I won’t divulge) that proclaimed himself a healer through the application of Bible Based Nutrition. Being a bodybuilder I naturally was drawn to his class on biblical healing and nutrition, being a discerning man of God I questioned his knowledge of scripture and the attempts to prescribe thaumaturgy (thau-muh-tur-jee)[a]  in place of sound biblical or medical solutions.

He argued that God never intended for us to eat flesh, and used passages like Genesis1:29; Proverbs 23:20; Isaiah 7:14-15; Daniel 1:8; Romans 14:21; 1 Corinthians8:13 To defend his position. However when I asked about God’s instruction to eat the lamb whose blood would paint the door post. 
The Dr defended  “That was a onetime thing” 

“One more question” I inquired, “Having full knowledge of the Apostle Paul’s statement to his spiritual son Timothy that every creature is good if received with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:1-5) how much consideration should I put in your allegation that we should abstain from the meats which God has created to be received with thanksgiving?”

 The room went chillingly quite, the good Dr. walked up to where I was sitting on the bottom seat of the bleachers, bent over until his face almost touched mine and whispered in my ear “I will speak to you after the class” I realized that I was causing an interruption so I slowly moved from the bench where I was sitting and slipped right out of the door.

As I walked around the campus area I anecdotally questioned why did Jesus feed fish to the 5000 (John6:9-10) and the 4000 (Matthew15:36) if God never intend us to eat flesh?  Or why passages like Deuteronomy 14:7-8 and Leviticus11:2-4 put restrictions on what we can eat. Was it because of the law? 

No because Genesis 9:3 which came before the law God says "Every Living Thing that Crawls Shall Be Meat For You; For Even as the Green Herbs Have I Given You All Things". 
Had I finally found a contradiction in the bible? Was God changing his mind?  This just can not be so because Malachi 3:6 clearly states "For I Am the LORD, I Change Not;"

Understanding the Signs of the Time
When I was a kid they would teach in school that any problem could be answered if you knew the 5 “W’s”  Who, What, Where, Why and How ( even though I’m not sure how “How” is a W) However when it comes to many things concerning the Bible we need a 6th “W”  which is When.
I have found that when a thing happens in the Bible is just as important as what happens. This truth is seen in the dilemma we have with eating meats, let me explain a little more. For ease of understanding I will use bullets to show differences in time.

  • The When; (In Genesis 1:29; ) prior to the Great flood God said “...Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
    • Then in  Genesis 9:3 ; 4 right after the flood when much of the plant life was destroyed by the flood God gave man meat with no restrictions 
  •  When;    Then after the exodus from Egypt God wanted to show the Israelite as separate from the rest of the world? And those animals that were likely to cause the most disease He (God) restricted from the diets of the children of Israel by the law.

    Many of the animals that chew cud but did not have a split hoof ate feces. Like rabbits and pigs scrimp and lobster 
    were no longer a part of their diets because of the microbial contamination that they naturally carry. It makes good sense when you see that lobster, shrimp and crabs were restricted but fish from the same lake or ocean was not.

    It is these very same animals that we eat today as a delicacy; lobster, crabs, oysters all oceanic animals which eat the feces of the ocean floor, also rabbits and camels which though they chew curd do not have a split hoofs, and of course the dreaded pig that has a split hoof but does not chew curd. What do all these animals have in common? They all carry many diseases which could not be controlled with the medical knowledge that was available up to that point.
    • Then;  Today we have the technology to process these meats in ways that prevent microbial contamination in meats, and minimizes bacterial growth, reducing or eliminating contamination altogether.
Therefore God  gave instructions on how to prepare food to the Jews to avoid disease through microbial contamination in Deuteronomy 12:16 . We find that in all these God gives reason for his command and the possibility of problems if these laws are not fulfilled. Exodus 15.26 God said “I will put none of this disease upon you which I have brought upon the Egyptians, because I am the Lord which heals you.”

When Christ came we were given a new law and testament, a law of mercy, the testament of reconciliation. It is under this law that God gave all His people freedom to eat any meat desired. Acts 10:9-13; 1 Corinthians 10:25; Romans14:2, 14; 1 Timothy 4:1-3    The Christian is no longer under the ceremonial Laws of the Old Testament. We can make the decision to be carnivores,  (pure meat eaters) or vegetarian  (never eating animal flesh) or like most people we can find our comfort zone somewhere in between.  Whereby every other religion has restrictions on what they can and cannot be eaten, Christians have a God  gives us freedom to eat meat if we desire, or if we so desire not eat meat. The Bible says Whom the Son set free is free indeed (John 8:36) There is a freedom that is in Christ whereby we are not controlled by law or rule or tradition, and no man has power to take away this freedom that Christ gives us (Galatians 2:1-4)

Paul addresses the question directly in the book of Romans:

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. (Romans 14:5-6)

Therefore, the Christian is free to eat or not eat meat according to his own conscience.  if your conscience says eat meat than do so, but if your conscience says the slaughter of animals for food is wrong and you are against eating meat, then don't eat. To eat or not does not make you closer to Christ, nor take you further away. nor is salvation in eating of abstaining, a man is no more righteous because he abstains compared to one who indulges. However, all eating whether, meat or vegetables   should be done giving thanks to God.(Philippians 4:6)

Soli Deo Gloria 
 Your Brother in Christ

[a] the working of miracles or the doing of magic

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