And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

Genesis 9:1-4

This little excerpt from this passage is so fascinating to me. It seems like God had not permitted the eating of animals prior to this point. This is sometimes taken by some to be an indication of the “true” biological nature of humans, that is that we are somehow all natural vegetarians. I don’t have any comment on that except to say that Paul in 1 Timothy 4:3 says that we are not to prohibit eating foods not explicitly forbidden by scripture.

No, the part I am interested in is the way in which this was handled. There was a responsibility implied in the giving here. Noah and his descendants were not given a gift with no requirements; indeed, the management of this resource would be difficult and require a certain kind of gentleness to overcome that terror that was placed on all animals. The animals that were there to please God were now also tools for survival and prosperity.

As believers who enjoy the Father’s gifts, do we handle them as responsibilities with the wisdom and shrewdness of heirs or do we squander them like spoiled kids?

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published September 28, 2022