Genesis 9:3 - The green light for endless slaughter?

Stravinsk

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Often when I talk to Christians about vegetarianism/veganism they quote
one of numerous biblical passages.

Today I want to ask Christians about one of these passages. Please stay on topic as this is the only passage meant to be discussed here.

Genesis 9:3



The gestation (pregnancy) period for most mammals considered "food" in
all the cultures that presently eat them is anywhere between 5-8 months, with
the exception of chicken (less than a month).

At the point of birth, the animals have not reached maturity, cannot breed and create more of their kind yet, and could not be a regular food source for humans at the early stages.

Noah and his family are supposedly given the green light in Genesis 9:3 that animals are now on the menu. But there were only 2 of each kind brought on board the ark, so in order for the animals to survive at all and procreate, Noah and his family would have had to eat something else. The world was just flooded. There are no grain or corn crops lying around. It will take time to grow cereal grains and other crops to eat.

Can't slaughter the cows, pigs, goats, horses or any of the larger mammals for some time - there's only 2 of each kind to keep the species going, and mature offspring won't be available for at least 1.5 years.

Chickens arrive in less than a month, but it's still around 18 weeks before they can even lay eggs and are large enough for maybe 2 meals for 1 human. 18 weeks is a long time to wait around for a few chickens to mature when you're hungry.


In the Hebrew, a distinction is made between the livestock, or larger animals, and other life:

H929 - Bhema - livestock (cattle, pigs, horses etc)

H7431 - remes - creeping thing

H7431 - remes - is the word used in Genesis 9:3, not Bhema.

I took the trouble to look through every instance of "Remes" and found that it never refers to Bhema directly, and in fact every time it is used with Bhema, they are distinct. Bhema is not Remes, they a separate class of living things.

The only logical conclusion I can come to is that Noah and his family were not eating any of the larger animals to sustain themselves, but only those who's gestation cycles are very short, and so this would mean insects like locusts and some of the smaller land animals/reptiles that procreate and grow quicker.

The flood made the world food-less for humans for a short time. Grass grows quick, giving many of the mammals food after a short time. Seeds and starchy crops fit for humans take a little longer to develop.

The simple wording of most bibles on this passage makes it seem that for (some obscure reason), the Flood changed everything about God's dietary plan from post flood forward. That reading of it is very convenient for many. However, it seems much more likely that it was meant as a temporary measure to allow humans to survive, until crops could be sown, grown, and harvested, and even then, the humans only allowed to eat the Remes (small creeping things) and not the Bhema (larger livestock - pigs, cattle, sheep etc).
 
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Lucian Hodoboc

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So you're a vegan who's ok with eating insects?
 

Stravinsk

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So you're a vegan who's ok with eating insects?

I'm not o k with eating insects, however I do think that in survival situations (such as surviving a world wide flood that wiped out all crops, plant life, and animals save those in the arc) eating things without the "breath of life" would be alright on a temporary basis. If Noah and his family were given the green light to eat meat, several species of animal wouldn't even exist as they wouldn't have time to procreate.

Christians often point to this story as justification without thinking it through, because it seems nice and convenient to them.
 

Lucian Hodoboc

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If Noah and his family were given the green light to eat meat, several species of animal wouldn't even exist
Maybe they don't. Maybe there were more animal species on the ark that are no longer around because Noah and his clan ate them.
 

Stravinsk

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Maybe they don't. Maybe there were more animal species on the ark that are no longer around because Noah and his clan ate them.

Maybe God made a mistake in creating those species and it was just time for them to go extinct even though Noah was instructed to save them. Maybe insects in abundance with short gestation periods providing food temporarily until crops could grow makes a lot more sense in both the context of the passage and God's original diet for mankind laid out in the first few chapters of Genesis.

Maybe Christians lie to themselves over this issue because it's simply more convenient for their socially inherited/adopted lifestyles.
 

Odë:hgöd

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According to Psalm 104:25, the Hebrew word remes (reh'-mes) tells of not only
creatures that live on land, but also those that live in water; which suggests that
remes is somewhat ambiguous and not all that easy to classify; in point of fact, it
could even include amphibious critters, e.g. frogs, which are valuable as food even
today in deprived countries like North Korea.

Remes are apparently creatures that skitter, slither, or hop rather than bound
and/or gallop; indicating that some words seem relative to how creatures move
about rather than their size or appearance.

For example the Hebrew word 'owph (ofe) in Gen 1:21 is commonly translated birds
and/or fowl but it just simply means covered with wings; which according to Lev
11:13-23 also pertains to bats and flying insects.

The Flood left some species of vegetation intact. For example Gen 8:10-11 tells of
an olive leaf which-- according to the Hebrew word taraph (taw-rawf') --was freshly
plucked off the tree rather than found lying around dead on the ground.

Also, a number of plants produce their fruit underground, e.g. carrots, turnips,
radishes, yams, beets, peanuts, parsnips, rutabagas, onions, and Jerusalem
artichokes , and radishes. If Noah was directed where to look, he and his family
could dig those up.

Plus, Noah was ordered to take aboard common foot stuffs for himself and for the
menagerie. I've a hunch that some of that was left over; maybe even quite a bit;
especially if God kept it resupplied like at 1Kgs 17:8-16 and 2Kgs 4:1-7.

Also, according to 1Kgs 19:5-9, God is capable of strengthening the nourishment of
common food so that the human body can get by on less than usual servings.
_
 

Josiah

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Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.


I'm just a tad cautious of basing everything on one verse without context, but okay....

All animals get their energy by the conception of living organisms. While it is a part of many religions (and some subsets of Christianity), I know of none that forbids the conception of living organisms (such would insure death within some days). Indeed, suicide is generally forbidden in most religions and to reject all food would be suicide.

And just because something is ALLOWED doesn't mean ergo it is REQUIRED. Apples and oranges, obviously.

IMO, there is nothing wrong with SELF IMPOSED restrictions on what a person chooses to consume. Personally, I don't eat liver... and I don't believe that's a sin. If one wants to be a vegan for example, I see no moral problem with that, I would simply advise them to consult a bona fide physician or licensed dietitian since it is important to get proper nutrition.

IMO, this does not permit cannibalism since the one of the Biggies is "Thou shalt not murder" (the word there means to intentionally kill a human). But it probably means all other organic foods are PERMITTED (not necessarily required).

As for Noah, the text simply doesn't say. It does seem absurd that they would eat required animals, but then again, the text doesn't say they did. Again, just because something is ALLOWED doesn't mean it's therefore REQUIRED.... I'm allowed to eat liver but I don't. I'm allowed to eat rabbit, but as one with a bunny as a beloved pet, I CHOOSE not to. Ain't saying it's immoral or sinful to do so, just that I choose not to.

This doesn't seem like rocket science to me.





.
 

ImaginaryDay2

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How does the verse in question suggest that foodstuffs were not taken onto the ark for sustenance, such as dried or cured meats along with other plant based food?
 

Odë:hgöd

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Apparently Adam was a fruitarian at first, and then his diet later expanded to
include other kinds of vegetation.


Gen 3:18b . . and your food shall be the grasses of the field.

I don't think Man is supposed to graze on pasture like buffalo or deer and elk. Many
of the grasses God intended for him to eat fall into the food group we call cereals;
which are raised primarily for their grain; e.g. corn, wheat, oats, and rice; et al.

In their natural form, whole grains are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fiber,
carbohydrates, fats, oils, and protein. After modern refining, grains are pretty much
good for nothing but carbs unless they're fortified with artificial supplements.


NOTE: The Hebrew word translated "grasses" also includes shoots, i.e. sprouts. In
point of fact, some plants are better eaten as sprouts rather than adults. For
example asparagus and cattails.

Point being: According to certain passages, Noah was a righteous man who did as
he was told. That being so, then I think we may safely assume that he followed
Adam's diet and didn't eat flesh until he was given the green light to do so; ergo:
the possibility of Noah stowing dried and/or cured meats aboard the ark for his food
is very unlikely.


BTW: I cannot find any verses indicating that Noah was permitted to eat the flesh
of cattle, beasts, birds, or fish. The Hebrew word remes (reh'-mes) in Gen 9:3
speaks of creeping things (Gen 1:24) which would be limited to creatures that
skitter, slither, crawl, or hop; on land and in water. (Ps 104:25)
_
 
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hedrick

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This is probably why 7:2 says he took 7 pairs of the clean animals, which would be the ones he could eat. Of course 6:19 says one pair of everything.
 

Stravinsk

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How does the verse in question suggest that foodstuffs were not taken onto the ark for sustenance, such as dried or cured meats along with other plant based food?

God outlines man's diet in the first few chapters of Genesis. This did not include animal flesh. Ergo, Noah wouldn't have brought any on the ark *to eat*.

Christians/Jews/Muslims etc often point to this verse as God's first permission to eat animals. My opening post argues that it is not logically consistent with the flood/animal saving story, and doesn't match the hebrew word for livestock, rather, insects.

Further, if such permission was granted, then it would make no sense for God to later punish the Israelites for crying out to eat meat when God had provided them manna. Numbers 11 is but one chapter that illustrates God's anger in this matter.
 

tango

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Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.


I'm just a tad cautious of basing everything on one verse without context, but okay....

All animals get their energy by the conception of living organisms. While it is a part of many religions (and some subsets of Christianity), I know of none that forbids the conception of living organisms (such would insure death within some days). Indeed, suicide is generally forbidden in most religions and to reject all food would be suicide.

And just because something is ALLOWED doesn't mean ergo it is REQUIRED. Apples and oranges, obviously.

IMO, there is nothing wrong with SELF IMPOSED restrictions on what a person chooses to consume. Personally, I don't eat liver... and I don't believe that's a sin. If one wants to be a vegan for example, I see no moral problem with that, I would simply advise them to consult a bona fide physician or licensed dietitian since it is important to get proper nutrition.

IMO, this does not permit cannibalism since the one of the Biggies is "Thou shalt not murder" (the word there means to intentionally kill a human). But it probably means all other organic foods are PERMITTED (not necessarily required).

As for Noah, the text simply doesn't say. It does seem absurd that they would eat required animals, but then again, the text doesn't say they did. Again, just because something is ALLOWED doesn't mean it's therefore REQUIRED.... I'm allowed to eat liver but I don't. I'm allowed to eat rabbit, but as one with a bunny as a beloved pet, I CHOOSE not to. Ain't saying it's immoral or sinful to do so, just that I choose not to.

This doesn't seem like rocket science to me.

This is pretty much what I was thinking, although I'm less bothered about eating rabbit. The difference between "may" and "must" is one that gets lost in a lot of discussions.
 
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