. The beginning verses of this chapter provide us with so many changes to the new post-flood world and here is what they some of them say:
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the [a]sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. 3 Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. 4 Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.(verses 1-4)
The blessing in verse 1 is the same as the pre-flood world and it is a mandate by God to humans to populate the earth, though I doubt God intended to have the planet over-populated or that single families would try to do it all at once. I have trouble with some parents who over-indulge in multiplying as from what I have seen, they do not want to take responsibility for the size of their family but place it on God’s shoulders. In other words, they do not grow up but want to remain as children even though they are bringing children into the world.
It is a difficult topic to get into and it really should be reserved for another day. But needless to say, some families are large because of health issues and other legitimate reasons.
The first change is found in verse two and it reads:
#1. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the [a]sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given.
It is different from chapter one’s instruction
Fear of humans is now introduced to the animals. Prior to that we see no fear and that can be illustrated by how the serpent approached and talked to Eve in the Garden. That garden was a paradise thus there would be no reason for any of the animals to be afraid of man and in the curses God presented to the 3 participants in the sin against God, the animals were not mentioned save for the serpent and his descendents.
We can see how the pre-flood world could corrupt the animal kingdom because of this environment of friendship between man and the animals.
The second change comes in verse 3:
#2. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.
Notice the bold words for they provide us with a lot of information. First, eating red meat is not unhealthy for you despite what vegetarians claim. All meat was given to us to it, even though God places restrictions on certain foods for the people of Israel later. We did not rise up and demand this change nor did we usurp God authority and just take red meat to eat God allowed us to eat animals and that makes the big difference.
Paul talks about eating meat in Romans and he says
Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. (ch. 14)
Verse 3 is the key– we are not to criticize or judge those who do not eat as we eat. Vegetarians go too far in their condemnation of eating meat and need to get back under God’s direction because one style is not healthier than the other. God has allowed us choice in our diet thus we should not partake in those thoughts which divide the church. The one who eats meat is just as acceptable to God as the one who does not.
The problem in this issue comes in when we get to the following passage of scripture:
20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats [i]and gives offense. 21 It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles (ch. 14)
Verse 21 is where the problem comes in as too many people use this passage to force their ways upon others. They are not even close to stumbling but simply do not like what someone else does so they use this verse as a sledge-hammer to bring the other person into line with their personal views not God’s. I have seen this take place on a large-scale as in about my junior year at my undergrad alma mater people students started to use the word ‘offended’ as a means to control other student’s behavior.
They were in no danger of losing their faith but merely used that verse to state their personal opinion that believers should not do certain activities. Like the secular Political Correct problem we face in this era, students could not make a move without ‘offending’ someone. Discord and other negative emotions began to take hold and disharmony rose up until one student ‘lost it.’ I won’t go into details of that but suffice it to sat, that using scriptural words like ‘stumble’ or offended’ in the wrong way doe snot bring about the Christian harmony Jesus wants to see in his followers.
The misuse of scripture simply opens the door for evil to get in and work its destructive nature upon people who are to be the light to the world. Another example on a lesser scale took place in a restaurant where a party of 4 students had a little wine with their meals as the Bible directs. Unfortunately for them a professor was eating at the same restaurant at the same time and witnessed their actions. They faced expulsion the next day.
Christians do more to hurt the cause of Christ than any group of unbelievers could hope to do. They hand evil open doors on a silver platter and I am not talking about the 4 students here but the failure of the professor and school administration to react in a biblical and christian manner. Sometimes when we try to maintain an image of spirituality we fail so miserably and do the exact opposite. We should not let fear dictate our response and by the word fear I mean that we do not allow the thought that the authority of the school and its staff would suffer because they acted in a just and merciful manner
To illustrate that I reference certain decisions by lesser courts who side with the unjust actions of the police force in hopes of not rendering their authority to maintain law and order useless. Like the police example whose authority would not be damaged by saying they erred and correcting that error,, the school’s authority would not be damaged by adjudicating the situation correctly and with wisdom, correcting the over-reaction by that particular professor and other staff members. Because the court handled certain decisions wrong, they did damage the authority of both the police and their office and the same held true in the case of my alma mater. They damaged their authority and spiritual stature by mishandling the whole affair.
This is what we cannot do when it comes to the issue of meat and non-meat eaters.We cannot mishandle the situation though at times many vegetarians do mishandle it when they offer to bring their own food to a person’s house, after being invited to dinner, because meat will be served. One thing that vegetarians need to remember is that their diet is not divinely ordained and they will not be sinning if they eat meat in order to be polite guests.
There are other ways of politely handling this situation but insulting the host by bringing your own food is not one of them. The following verse applies to vegetarians as well as meat eaters:
19 So then [h]we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another
Insulting someone is not obeying this instruction. Sometimes a vegetarian will have to swallow their pride and eat meat to keep the peace and not offend another person or cause them to stumble in their faith. if one does not want to eat meat, then fine but they need to remember that their diet is not sacred and that the rules of the Bible apply to their dietary habits as well. They also need to remember that one diet is not greater than another (unless it is fast and junk food rich) and they need to put aside the sin of superiority and humble themselves just like meat eaters need to do.
We cannot let our diets bring sin into the church, causing division and ruining the ministry that local congregation has or could have. The issue is not about what we eat but how we remain sinless when we eat.
In the beginning I mentioned those parents who seek large families, extremely large families, but they do not offend me nor cause me to stumble in my faith. I just do not agree with their reasoning and do not like the perceived lack of taking responsibility for their procreation habits. I do not judge them nor condemn them but I will not follow in their footsteps.We need to remember that personal opinion is not divine nor the order for the church and we must learn to accept differences treating each other as Christ wants
The unity of the church helps us keep evil outside but that unity must be Christ based and not implemented by bullying others or forcing our different views upon those who disagree with us. As much as I do not like vegetarianism, those who practice it and have repented of their sins are believers like me and I will treat them just like that even though we disagree on how or what we should eat.
Unity in Christ does not mean unity in daily habits or personal opinion. It means obedience to God’s instructions even when we disagree on human things. It does not mean that we accept false teaching or unrepentant sinners to appear ‘inclusive’ but that we are united against sin as God has outlined it. It means we seek the truth and accept it when we find it.
There are so many things that do not doctrinally matter that have caused splits in different churches over the centuries and that is not the right way to go.