Monday, October 02, 2017

Was meat on the menu?

To a modern reader, Gen 1:29-30 and 9:1-4 suggest meat-eating was a postdiluvian development. But to an attentive Jewish reader, that would not be the case. In Gen 4:2-3, we have two offerings which foreshadow the offerings of the firstborn and firstfruits in the Mosaic cultus. Sacrificial meat was either eaten by the priest or the worshipper (e. g. Deut 15:19-23). Therefore, the default inference to draw from Abel's offering is that meat eating antedated the flood. Gen 9:1-4 probably involves a distinction between livestock and game. And because game animals would not be hunted, they would become fearful of man (9:2). If, moreover, humans consumed meat prior to the flood, that it seems all the more likely that animal predators did as well. 

1 comment:

  1. I think that was Kline's position as well. Calvin seemed to think that this is just a more complete account of what God had already given to man at creation:
    "Because Moses now first relates that this right was given to men, nearly all commentators infer, that it was not lawful for man to eat flesh before the deluge, but that the natural fruits of the earth were his only food. But the argument is not sufficiently firm. For I hold to this principle; that God here does not bestow on men more than he had previously given."