And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.( Genesis 9:1-6)
This inclusio, (passage which begins and ends virtually the same way), outlines the new order established by God upon the earth, affecting the relations between humans and animals, as well as establishing human government on the earth.
Of first importance, as indicted by repetition at the end of the passage, Man is still called to be fruitful, and multiply and to replenish and cultivate the earth. Though his imagination is evil continually(original sin),there is yet a future for man, he is to bear children, grow, and derive abundance from the earth. He is to expand in number and settle,occupy, and cultivate the earth to the glory of God.
Contrast this with the modern Zero Population Growth ideal of our modern ‘thinkers’, and with the devastation wrought by fifty years of a “birth control” and abortion revolution. Genesis 9 offers man the vision of life and hope, but the vision of our modern neo Eugenecists, is the vision of death and despair! How true Proverbs 8 is when it portrays personified Wisdom as saying, “All those who hate me, love death!”.
Secondly there is to be a clear difference between animal and human life. God would put the fear of man in all of the wild beasts, as a protection for man. Morris notes in his Genesis commentary that the domesticated animals are exempted from this stark terror. Man is still to rule over God’s creation, but not by direct authority, as Adam once did, but indirectly through this fear.
Thirdly, for the first time in history, man was now authorized to use the animals as a food source, man could now eat meat. There could be practical reasons for this, for now the harsh weather would perhaps require of man more protein for nourishment, especially dealing with winter cold. Or this allowance could have been given to reinforce the superiority of man over animals, a kind of brutal dominion!
There is a redemptive lesson to be gained in the eating of meat. The whole idea of substitutionary atonement is implicitly taught in it. For example, when the children of Israel were taught by God to keep the Passover, they were instructed to take a lamb into their house for three days (long enough to attach to it as a pet), then to slay it, roast it ,and eat is as a family.
Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: … Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. Genesis 12:3-7)
Those children were being taught that ‘that lamb had to die in order for us to live’. A life in given exchange for a life, and sustenance and nourishment comes through that life substitute.
There is a spirituality to eating meat, which is perhaps why we are warned of the new false religion of the last days,which includes a ‘religious vegetarianism’, among its other poisonous doctrines.
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:(1 Timothy 4:1-4)
Finally, though animal flesh could now be consumed, all blood itself was to be held Sacred. The very Life of the flesh is in the blood. All life belongs to God the giver of life. The blood of clean animals would be used for sacrifice at God’s command and was acceptable to God, until the coming of the antitype to all sacrifice, Jesus Christ.
Therefore out of reverence for the very principle of life and atoning sacrifice, the eating or drinking of blood was forbidden to man. This prohibition carries over into the New Testament as well, as the church council in Acts 15 attested, binding gentile converts from blood consumption , whilst loosing them from circumcision.
Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.(acts 15:19-20)
As we will see in the next section, if animal blood was regarded by our Creator as sacred, how much more does he regard the sanctity of human blood?