Does God Want Us To Eat Meat?
By Christian - 9 Apr 2009
I couldn't help noticing that in neither the main article for this discussion, nor in your comments in response to Ron, do you address something that Ron raised in his comment. God commanded the sacrifice of live animals as a part of worship, and then required the Levites and those who had offered the sacrifice to eat certain parts of the sacrificed animal. I understand that this was a postlapsarian development, but this is not an issue of God merely allowing the consumption of animal flesh. He did, in fact, require it (c.f. Lev. 22:30), even putting time constraints on how quickly the meat was to be consumed.
The sacrifices were part of a system of substitutionary propitiation of sins, and that system was replaced by the perfect substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Sacrificial slaughter was not the only instance of God commanding the Israelites to eat meat, however. While wandering in the desert, the Israelites complained that all they had to eat was manna. The result was the following conversation God had with Moses: "Say to the people, 'Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, "Who will give us meat to eat? For it was better for us in Egypt." Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you.'"
This is not to say that meat is necessarily the best dietary choice, but I disagree with any sort of argument that implies God is displeased by His people eating meat. He specifically made provision for it, overwhelmingly so in the Levitical laws of the Pentateuch and in the New Testament as well. After all, Christ provided the crowds of 5,000 and 4,000 with a meal of bread and fish, certainly not a vegetarian meal, even though it came directly from the hands of God.