Is It Okay To Eat Meat?
Is Meat Okay To Eat?
God originally created man as a vegetarian (Gen. 1:29-30), however with the fall of man death entered the world opening the possibility for the eating of meat. (Rom. 5:12). After the flood of Noah, God knew for life to survive meat eating would become a necessity and thus gave man permission to eat animals (Gen. 9:3-4). This is a temporary situation that will change when Christ returns. In that day He will restore all things to their original design, even the carnivorous animals will eat vegetation once again (Isa. 11:6-7).
Diets, diets, and more diets! One can’t seem to get away from the talk of diets. Some follow low carb. diets, others no fat diets, others no meat diets, others all meat and protein diet, and of course my favorite, lots of sweets diet. This leads me to the question that is on many peoples mind. What should be the normal diet for man? The answer to this is found in the Bible.
We must begin by going to the time of man’s creation to see what God originally had in mind for man. In Gen 1:29-30, “God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food"; and it was so” (NKJV). God’s original diet for man and animals was vegetation and vegetation only. Vegetation as it was originally created in a perfect world would not only have provide more than ample food for the world’s population, but as the only source of food it would have provided all that man needed to enjoy perfect health.
However, vegetation did not keep its full potential to meet man’s physical needs. in Gen. 3:17-19 God spoke to Adam and said, "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it. All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return." Vegetation as a source of food would now be cursed would be lacking in its full potential not only in providing all the nutrients the body needed but also in being as readily available as it had been before. Now man would have to toil at having enough food in order to survive.
However with this said, man and animals would continue to be vegetarian for the first 1500 years of his existence. Even lions and other “carnivores” ate only vegetation at this point of man’s history. This should not be so surprising to us because the prophet Isaiah tells us that when the Lord returns to the earth to establish His kingdom and to restore earth back to its pre-cursed existence, animals will once again eat only vegetation.
Isa 11:6-9, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,”
Isa 65:23, “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, The lion shall eat straw like the ox,”
Vegetation as the sole source of food will take another hit at the time of Noah. Before the flood all the land received water daily and the climate was an even temperature year round making it an ideal environment for vegetation to grow. However after the flood, the climate and weather conditions would now change radically. Now there would be rain and drought, hot and bitter cold seasons, deserts and artic areas, Vegetation would quickly fall behind in providing for all of man’s and animals nutritional needs. Thus as Noah comes off the ark God now makes meat as additional provision for the survival of man and animal.
Gen 9:2-5, “ And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood” (NKJV).
From that day forward animals and man became carnivorous and God ordained it was alright for man to include meat and meat products in his diet.
Some argue this is OT law or was a part of the Mosaic law and is no longer in effect in the age of Grace. Thus individual’s today should return to being vegetarian. However Gen. 9:2-5 indicates that this permission to eat meat was given to all the descendents of Noah and that covers all humanity from his time forward including you and me. Likewise, the eating of meat was a practice of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was the Lord who prepared fish for his disciples while they were out fishing and who multiplied the fish and loaves to feed the multitude. Every time the Lord celebrated Passover he would have been required by the law to eat lamb. The eating of meat is also a viable option for Christians in the Church Age as well. Please note the following references.
1 Cor 10:25-26, “Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience' sake; for "the earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness."
1 Tim 4:3-5, “God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
Rom 14:2-4, “For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.”
With all of this said, it can be concluded that God permits Christians to eat both vegetation as well as meat. However, the curse fell not on just vegetation but on man as well. Because of this curse, many of us have developed physical problems that require a more strict diet. For example, since I have diabetes 2, I must restrict my diet of the amount of carbohydrates (sugar) and fat I consume. It would be a sin for me to avoid this diet knowing the damage it would cause my body, the temple of God (1 Cor. 16:19).
The good news is that when Christ returns, my body will be transformed and made perfect and powerful like His body. Once again I will be able to eat a normal diet without problems. Likewise the Lord is going to restore nature to its original condition and thus vegetation will be the source of food for all of mankind. As Isaiah writes
Isa 55:13, “Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; And it shall be to the Lord for a name, For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." (NKJV)
Isa 35:1-2, “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice” (NKJV)
Isa 35:6-7, “For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.” (NKJV)
Isa 41:19, “I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, The myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine And the box tree together” (NKJV)
Isa 43:19-20, “Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. The beast of the field will honor Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I give waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen.” (NKJV)
Isa 51:3, “He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the Lord;” (NKJV)