Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 21 Number 8 August 2019
Page 16

Questions and Answers

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Did Mankind Eat
Animals before the Flood?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Louis RushmoreWe cannot ascertain conclusively from the Bible whether mankind ate animals before the worldwide flood of Noah’s day. Neither can we answer the more finely tuned inquiry whether faithful children of God ate animals—irrespective of what non-faithful humans may have done—prior to the universal deluge.

Here is what we do have in Scripture regarding a God-authorized diet. Following creation, God permitted Adam and Eve as well as the animal kingdom to eat vegetables. “And 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” (Genesis 1:29-30 NKJV). Then, after the global inundation, Noah was told, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs” (Genesis 9:3).

God made several changes to the environment of earth (1) as a consequence of sin in the Garden of Eden and (2) as a consequence of sin leading up to the universal flood. Paradise or an Edenic existence no longer prevailed on earth after God made changes to His original creation because of man’s sin. Adam and Eve were advised that (1) women would experience labor pains in childbirth (Genesis 3:16) and (2) God cursed the ground with thorns and thistles, requiring toil and sweat to acquire crops (Genesis 3:17-19). Following the flood, the face of the earth was altered by water and the climate underwent a dramatic shift (i.e., rain instead of vapors only watering the earth, hurricanes, tornadoes). I don’t know when God reassigned the mosquito to its bloodsucking mission, but doubtlessly it was not so originally. Diseases and every hurtful thing in the natural world are attributable to the consequences of sin entering the world. Obviously, God also made an alteration in His authorized diet for mankind, too.

Students of God’s Word differ as to whether Adam and Eve, as well as their descendants, ate animals in addition to vegetables. Amusingly, different authors in the same book compilation wrote contradictory statements as to when mankind began to eat animals. “Permission is now given to Noah and his sons, and thus to mankind, to slaughter animals for food. Prior to man’s fall from grace in the garden of Eden it appears that both humans and animals were vegetarians (Gen. 1:29-30)” (Mosher 172). “The herbs, the fruit trees, and the animal creation were to provide food for man (Gen. 1:29-31). God reminded Noah of this when he departed from the ark (Gen. 9:1-5)” (Brazier 814).

Likewise, Bible commentators offer opposing views. “Both Adam and the animal creation were vegetarians until after the Flood (Gen 1:29-30; 9:1-4)” (Wiersbe).

Some infer, from this passage that men were content with herbs and fruits until the deluge, and that it was even unlawful for them to eat flesh. And this seems the more probable, because God confines, in some way, the food of mankind within certain limits. Then after the deluge, he expressly grants them the use of flesh. These reasons, however are not sufficiently strong: for it may be adduced on the opposite side, that the first men offered sacrifices from their flocks. This, moreover, is the law of sacrificing rightly, not to offer unto God anything except what he has granted to our use. Lastly men were clothed in skins; therefore it was lawful for them to kill animals. For these reasons, I think it will be better for us to assert nothing concerning this matter (emphasis added). (Calvin)

Secular resources are no help in deciding conclusively when mankind began eating meat, because evolutionary influence places that moment about seven million years ago—rather than within 6,000 years ago since creation. Fortunately, though, whether mankind was authorized by God prior to the Flood to eat animals is not a critical issue for anyone living today.

Works Cited

Brazier, Bill. “Characteristics of God Revealed in Genesis.” The Book of Genesis. Memphis: Memphis School of Preaching, 2001, 799-816.

Calvin, John. “Genesis 1:28.” Calvin’s Commentaries. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2006.

Mosher, Keith A., Sr. “God Blesses Noah: Sons of Noah; Their Generations; Babel; Shem to Abraham (9:1-11:28).” The Book of Genesis. Memphis: Memphis School of Preaching, 2001, 169-190.

Wiersbe, Warren W. “Genesis 1:24-31.” Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament. CD-ROM. Warren W. Wiersbe, 2001-2004.

“How Will You Know You
Have the Holy Spirit?” and
“What Is the Influence
of the Holy Spirit Today?”

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Two related questions received are, “How will you know you have the Holy Spirit?” and “What is the influence of the Holy Spirit today?” The Holy Spirit no longer manifests Himself in miraculous ways—since the close of the first century. The purpose of miracles in the first century was to validate the New Testament prophets (i.e., the Christ, apostles, other disciples) and validate their messages (Mark 16:17-18, 20). Miracles, according to their purpose, did confirm the New Testament or the Gospel (Hebrews 2:3-4). Therefore, once “the faith which once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) had been declared to humanity, the purpose of miracles was concluded. Accordingly, the inspired prediction that miracles would end (1 Corinthians 13:8-13) came to pass.

Therefore, no one living today can ascertain that the Holy Spirit is in him or her merely by observance. Without miraculous confirmation of the Spirit’s presence, one must turn to another source to determine if the Holy Spirit is in him or her. In our time, the only way a person can know that the Holy Spirit is in him or her is because the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is in the child of God. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16 NKJV). “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). The apostle Paul told first century Christians that the Holy Spirit resides in them. Therefore, Christians today—not non-Christians—have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them.

Consequently, since the Holy Spirit does not operate openly and miraculously today, the influence of the Holy Spirit presently is through the Word of God. The Word of God—especially the New Testament or the Gospel—is the means by which today that a child of God can know the Holy Spirit dwells in him or her. In addition, through the Word of God only does the Holy Spirit exercise Himself in these contemporary times. Any other and conflicting proposition relies on one’s own subjectivity and emotional desire.

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