Last week I started a blog series about what we are eating, if it really is what we are SUPPOSED to be eating, and what God has to say about all of it. If you didn’t read last week’s posting, please do! This is a VERY important topic that simply is not addressed in most Christian circles. It desperately needs addressing before it is too late!
Genesis 2:16-17 states: “You may freely eat from every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You are not to eat from it, because on the day that you eat from it, it will become certain that you will die.” Now there is, of course, the obvious meaning that Adam and Eve died spiritually as soon as they ate of the tree because of their disobedience. What if, however, there is more here than meets the eye? What is knowledge? Daniel 12:4 says that in the last days knowledge will increase. Could it be possible that utilizing our increasing knowledge of how to deal with the immediate issues concerning food, such as the use of antibiotics to combat diseased meat, that we have messed up? Do we really think we know more than God about what we should eat? If God said not to “eat of the tree”, do we really believe that we can somehow make the forbidden safer? Paul said that we know in part. I’m willing to contend that we know a lot less than we think we do!
What does God have to say about what to eat and what not to? Glad you asked! The first real instruction we have on what to eat was given to Noah after the flood: “Every moving thing that lives will be food for you; just as I gave you green plants before, so now I give you everything — only flesh with its life, which is its blood, you are not to eat.” (Gen 9:3-4, NASB) It would appear that it’s pretty much open season in the food department, but I believe we need to look a little deeper.
The Lord continues to take a stand against eating blood, but then He gives us some further instructions about what to eat, and what not to. Leviticus chapter eleven goes into great detail about this:
“Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘These are the living creatures which you may eat among all the land animals: any that has a separate hoof which is completely divided and chews the cud — these animals you may eat. But you are not to eat those that only chew the cud or only have a separate hoof. For example, the camel, the coney and the hare are unclean for you, because they chew the cud but don’t have a separate hoof; while the pig is unclean for you, because, although it has a separate and completely divided hoof, it doesn’t chew the cud. (Lev 11:2-7, CJB)
” ‘Of all the things that live in the water, you may eat these: anything in the water that has fins and scales, whether in seas or in rivers — these you may eat. But everything in the seas and rivers without both fins and scales, of all the small water-creatures and of all the living creatures in the water, is a detestable thing for you. Yes, these will be detestable for you — you are not to eat their meat, and you are to detest their carcasses. (Lev 11:9-11, CJB)
” ‘The following creatures of the air are to be detestable for you — they are not to be eaten, they are a detestable thing: the eagle, the vulture, the osprey, the kite, the various kinds of buzzards, the various kinds of ravens, the ostrich, the screech-owl, the seagull, the various kinds of hawks, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the horned owl, the pelican, the barn owl, the stork, the various kinds of herons, the hoopoe and the bat. ” ‘All winged swarming creatures that go on all fours are a detestable thing for you; except that of all winged swarming creatures that go on all fours, you may eat those that have jointed legs above their feet, enabling them to jump off the ground. Specifically, of these you may eat the various kinds of locusts, grasshoppers, katydids and crickets. But other than that, all winged swarming creatures having four feet are a detestable thing for you. (Lev 11:13-23, CJB)
Whatever goes on its paws, among all animals that go on all fours, is unclean for you; (Lev 11:27, CJB)
” ‘The following are unclean for you among the small creatures that swarm on the ground: the weasel, the mouse, the various kinds of lizards. (Lev 11:29, CJB)
Many Christians I talk to say that the dietary laws in the Old Testament are not relevant today, but what if we are wrong? Let’s look at the general picture that the Lord paints for us in Leviticus. The Lord delineates between certain types of animals, then fish, then other creatures. Many of the creatures listed as “unclean” are scavengers, or bottom feeders. They feed primarily on sick, dying, or already dead insects, animals, or sea life. These are the clean-up crew of the earth.
Some are obvious garbage disposals, but some are not. Sharks, for example, have fins, but they lack scales. Many sharks feed primarily on fish that have fins and scales, but they are not discerning eaters. The larger sharks have been observed feeding on dead, stinking carcasses among other things! Large sharks are also at the top of the food chain and as such contain a lot of mercury, sometimes ten times the amount considered safe. Shark-fin soup anyone?
So, you may be thinking, I don’t eat shark meat, but what about pork? It’s a well-established fact that pigs will eat anything! Most pigs are kept in closely confined spaces. They are fed slop and also pick food particles out of feces. Still sound appetizing? What about rabbits? Even though rabbits are not scavengers or predators, many rabbits, as well as rodents, carry a number of unwanted diseases.
Let’s do a comparison. Let’s say, for instance, that you were told to go to the garbage dump and scavenge for food. You are allowed to eat anything you find and cook it any way you want, but all your food must come out of the dump. You would say: “No Way”, or as my grand-kids would put it: “Eweeee!!” None of us would choose to eat that way, but daily we make food choices that are fairly similar. We don’t eat out of the dump, we eat the dump instead!
Next week, we will develop this theme further. Stay tuned; there’s more to come!