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Bible Studies/were animals originally created as food


In genesis ch 1-9 kj, I'd like clarafication. In the beginning, before the flood, doesn't God tell us that he has provided tree, fruit, etc for man and animal"as food for meat".
and wasn't it until after the flood that god gave permission to eat the animals. Ch. 9

Dear Ja'el,

You are correct that in the beginning God gave man only what we would call a vegan diet. The word meat, in the KJV, is the Hebrew word “food,” and it’s translated that way in most other versions. I’m using the NKJV here, because of its more contemporary language.

Gen 1:29  “And God said, "See, I have given you EVERY HERB THAT YIELDS SEED WHICH IS ON THE FACE OF ALL THE EARTH, AND EVERY TREE WHOSE FRUIT YIELDS SEED; to you it shall be for food.”
This diet contained fruits, grains, and nuts only. After the fall, vegetables were added:
Gen 3:17  Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.
Gen 3:18  Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And YOU SHALL EAT THE HERB OF THE FIELD.

After the flood, perhaps because there could be no fruits and vegetables for some time, God gave man the permission to eat flesh food:

Gen 9:3  Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, EVEN AS THE GREEN HERBS.
Gen 9:4  But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

God gave man the permission to eat the flesh of animals, but He qualified it by the phrase, “even as the green herbs.” Some green herbs are not eatable, and so we could gather that some beasts would not be eatable either. And it’s clear that God specifically told them not to eat blood, and later, He added the fat as well.

Lev_3:17  'This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you SHALL EAT NEITHER FAT NOR BLOOD.' "

When God brought the animals into the ark, He chose one pair of all “unclean” animals, and seven pairs of “clean” animals. Evidently God intended for them to only eat the “clean” animals, for eating any of the “unclean” would immediately cause extinction of that variety.

When we look in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, we discover that this is the proper interpretation:

Lev 11:2  "Speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth:
Lev 11:4  Nevertheless these you SHALL NOT EAT among those that chew the cud or those that have cloven hooves: the CAMEL, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you;
Lev 11:5  THE ROCK HYRAX, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you;
Lev 11:6  THE HARE, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you;
Lev 11:7  and THE SWINE, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.
Lev 11:8  Their flesh you shall NOT EAT, and their CARCASSES YOU SHALL NOT TOUCH. They are unclean to you.

Continuing, God gives reference to the animals living in the waters that would be fit for food:

Lev 11:9  'These you may eat of all that are in the water: whatever in the water HAS FINS AND SCALES, whether in the seas or in the rivers—that you may eat.
Lev 11:10  But all in the seas or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water or any living thing which is in the water, they are an abomination to you.
Lev 11:11  They shall be an abomination to you; you shall not eat their flesh, but you shall regard their carcasses as an abomination.
Lev 11:12  WHATEVER IN THE WATER DOES NOT HAVE FINS OR SCALES—that shall be an abomination to you.

God also names which birds should not be eaten:

Lev 11:13  'And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: THE EAGLE, THE VULTURE, THE BUZZARD,
Lev 11:14  THE KITE, AND THE FALCON after its kind;
Lev 11:15  every RAVEN after its kind,
Lev 11:16  the OSTRICH, the SHORT-EARED OWL, THE SEA GULL, AND THE HAWK after its kind;
Lev 11:19  THE STORK, THE HERON after its kind, THE HOOPOE, AND THE BAT.
Lev 11:20  'ALL FLYING INSECTS that creep on all fours shall be an abomination to you.
Lev 11:21  Yet these you may eat of every flying insect that creeps on all fours: those which have jointed legs above their feet with which to leap on the earth.
Lev 11:22  THESE YOU MAY EAT: THE LOCUST after its kind, THE DESTROYING LOCUST after its kind, THE CRICKET after its kind, AND THE GRASSHOPPER after its kind.
Lev 11:23  But all other flying insects which have four feet shall be an abomination to you.
(Most insects walk on four legs and use the two front legs more or less like arms.)

Deuteronomy 14 is similar to Lev. 11.

This is probably more than you wanted to know, but I felt it would help you to understand why God used the words “even as the green herbs.”

So, between the creation and the flood, man did not have God’s permission to eat the flesh of animals. But after the flood, He permitted it.

Reading the Bible is very important to the Christian. It would be difficult to maintain a saving relationship with God without it. And learning about God and His requirements for us would be nearly impossible without some connection with God’s Holy Word.

Actually, if we watch for Him, we’ll find Jesus Christ in almost every passage of the Old and New Testaments. Sometimes He’s known as the Creator (cf. John 1:1-4, 10, 14); sometimes He’s known as “the Angel of the LORD” (Ex. 3:1-14; cf. John 8:56-58); sometimes He’s known as the “servant” (Isa. 52:13-53:12); and sometimes as the Messiah. Often He’s behind the scenes, working through those who live according to His will.

If you have difficulty understanding the Bible, there are many aids available to help you do this, (see list below). But above all, read your Bible for yourself, and pray that God will help you understand it.

Check out for other Bible questions you may have.

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Thurman C. Petty, Jr. (43 Bible lessons; 20 Books; more)

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Thurman C. Petty, Jr.


I`ve been a Pastor and Bible teacher for 40 years.


I`m a writer--author of 18 Bible-based books and over 200 journal articles. Web site: where a lot of my books and writings are posted. I've been married to the same lovely lady for 55 years. We're more in love now than when we married. My wife and I were missionaries to Pitcairn Island, in the South Pacific, from 1982-1984.

I've been a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church since the age of 9.

Books: Pacific Press Publishing Association; PettyPress. Number of titles published: 16. Journal Articles: Adventist Review; Signs of the Times; Guide Magazine; Ministry: A Journal for Clergy; Sabbath School Leadership; The Youth's Instructor; Student Movement; Cord, and others. Total Journal articles: over 200. Web Site: Contents: 18 of my books; 41 Bible study guides; over 30 sermons; Stories; poems; links to other sites, etc. E-mail address:

I have a BA and a Master`s degree--both degrees are in Biblical studies.

Awards and Honors
I was awarded the "Golden Cord" from my Alma Mater, Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, for my foreign mission service.

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