Summary: A Study On Biblical Food Laws
Sermon: “A Study On Biblical Food Laws”
Scripture: Luke 10.8
Introduction: Just like a car needs fuel to provide the energy to the engine before it can function so to does the human body need energy in order to function. While some may have tried it in the past, I would not recommend gasoline as a part of any ones daily diet. Human get there energy from the intake of calories which are provided in the foods we eat. Some foods provide more calories than others and some food is better for our overall system than others. The Bible has a lot to say about the food that we eat. This study will take us through God’s Word in search of Gods dietary plan for His creation. We will see that God over the course of history has on occasion changed the dietary plan for his creation. We will look at each dietary plan and its respective generation. We will discuss in brief the basic diet and the change that occurred. We will also discuss how these changes related to God’s plan for His creation. Let’s dig in to God’s Word.
Dietary Regulations Prior to the Call of the Nation of Israel
Biblical food laws prior to the calling of the nation of Israel fall under two distinct eras. First is the pre-flood era and second is the post-flood era. Let’s look at the pre-flood era.
In the outset of creation God established a garden paradise east of Eden. “Out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food (Gen. 2.9).” From this passage we can begin to get an idea of the dietary habits God intended for His created order. Later in this chapter “God commanded the man, saying, ‘of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat… (Gen. 2.16-17).” In this verse we see the dietary equipments for the Adamic, or pre-flood generation, by what is not said as much as by what is said.
First God says that they could eat from the fruit of every tree but one. So, we learn from this command that fruit was good with one exception, that from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This exception had more to do with obedience than with food. Secondly, what we see mission is the inclusion of meat. At this point God does not give the go ahead on the consumption of meat but, neither does he say it could not be eaten. With that said I believe that we can be pretty sure that the pre-flood diet prescribed by God was of a vegetarian nature. This idea will be clarified by God’s dietary requirements for the post-flood generation.
This vegetarian type diet went on until the day that Noah and his family left the ark. With the flood God altered the balance in the world. This change in the geological and atmospheric aspects of the earth led to the circumstances that perpetuated the degradation of the human body. These changes caused the life span of all living creatures to begin to shorten dramatically.
However, this was not the only changes that were made. God also altered the dietary regulations for His creation. We discovered that the scripture listed fruit as the diet for the pre-flood beings. Yet, in God’s address to Noah after departing the ark He clearly states that the pre-flood diet included every green herb as well (see Gen. 9.3b). So, up to and including the time of the flood the diet of prescription was fruit and vegetables. However, this dietary plan is expanded by God after Noah and his family departed the ark. Two things changed among man and beast that day. There diet and there distance from one another. God told Noah that “fear … and the dread of you shall be on every beast … bird … and on all fish (Gen 9.2).” God also told Noah that all of these animals had been “given into [his] hand (Gen. 9.2).” In fact God said that, “every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs (Gen. 9.3).”
So, God turned the world in to a buffet for the post-flood generation. The only prohibition concerning food centered on eating flesh with its blood. This freedom in food choice after the flood should help us realize that the food laws that we will find later in Leviticus and Deuteronomy are unique.
We should take note at this point that God had already declared what He considered to be clean and unclean animals before the flood. This designation was not something that began with the Mosaic Law. When God told Noah to enter the Ark He told him to bring clean and unclean animals aboard. Since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and He can not and does not contradict Himself, we must recognize that there is more going on with the food regulation that meets the eye. Let’s keep digging.