After discussing this topic together, my husband, Mr. S, was generous enough to pen this article and I would like to thank him for taking the time to do so.
The other day I discussed the health reasons behind why our family eats animal products. While the question of whether or not animal products are nourishing is important, I feel that the spiritual aspect of whether or not animal products are Biblically permissible is even more important. I’ve witnessed first hand the "holy" feeling that one can get when they avoid animal products. I used to be so pleased with myself because I didn’t have to kill animals to feed my body, but while I was busy patting myself on the back, my health was eroding and I was believing a lie.
It is easy to be deceived on topics. The world system (and our own minds) are more than up to the task of self deception. When we compare ourselves to ourselves we generally look pretty good in our own mind. Sometimes, even when we compare ourselves to others we still think we look good. However, what happens when you compare yourself to an external standard of truth, such as the Bible?
This is where things often unravel for us because things we have been raised to believe, or that society teaches are often not Biblical. God allows us to eat meat. It is clear from scripture that Jesus ate meat (passover) and fish. God specifically made Adam and Eve clothing from the skins of animals, and there is an interesting parallel in that God clothes his people in the righteousness of Christ. He used the sacrifice of animals in the Old Testament to foreshadow the final sacrifice of Jesus Christ for his people. In the new testament the eating of meat is reaffirmed.
Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Leviticus 11:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
Exodus 12:8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
Matthew 26:18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.
1 Timothy 4:1,3-4
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some
shall depart from the faith…
3 …commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be
received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it
be received with thanksgiving:
One last note though, neither eating meat nor not eating meat commends us to God. While eating meat can provide nutrient dense food that God created for our benefit, it certainly does not make us "good" in God’s eyes. Likewise, not eating meat does not improve our righteousness before a perfectly holy God. There is nothing we can do that commends us to God. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
1 Corinthians 8:8
But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
By the way, just because we can eat meat and God gives it to us does not mean that every form of raising animals is good stewardship. The same as industrialization has polluted the land and mind of man, it has also messed up food production. Rather than an animal being raised to the glory of God and with thanksgiving by a family it is now raised almost exclusively for greed (in a mass produced fashion). While it may seem impossible for man to raise and eat animals properly in our modern culture due to our sin, that is because our worldview and culture are wrong, not because eating meat is.
The third part of this series will be posted in the coming days, addressing the many thoughtful comments and questions y’all have posted on part 1 & 2. I would love to hear any more comments or questions you have on the topic.