Hunting and the Bible
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Hunting and the Bible
Comments by Jeff Dunn - 27 Feb 2006
I recently read the letter posted on your website from Jonathan concerning hunting and the Bible as well as your response. I would also like to get your thoughts on some verses and thoughts relating Hunting to the Bible and God.
To give you a little background, I was raised in a Christian home, studied Theology at a Christian College and believe solely that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins, rose again, and is coming again to save this world. My belief, security, and salvation have not wavered.
With that said, I was raised in the outdoors, grew up fishing and hunting and have found that my passion is to be in the outdoors…fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, etc. These are all privileges that God has given to you and me. I love being in what many outdoorsmen call “God's country”. Romans 1:20 comes to mind as I have seen some of the most majestic scenery God has made.
With all of this said, I don't understand how a true believer in God's word can be against hunting. I can understand being against certain actions SOME hunters may take, but we don’t need to bestow the same guilt towards others. I know some hunters don’t eat everything they kill, I know some people poach animals illegally (they are NOT hunters!), I know some hunters may perform illegally in their actions…however, the key word is SOME! Let’s focus on the ethical hunters. I don’t want us to get caught up in stereotypes, so for the purpose of this discussion, lets just assume we are talking about ethical hunters who kill only what they are going to eat and do so legally.
First off, your point about not finding a believing Jew who hunts…you may be right. However, you also use Jesus’ teachings in your letter as well. To use both Jewish and Jesus’ points together is a contradiction as Jews today do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah and are still abiding by OT law, right? So, to relate to a Christian, you need not discuss the Jewish belief as they do not believe that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, rose again and is the one true Messiah.
Let start in the beginning…Genesis 1:26…the Lord creates man in His image to be masters over all life. This is not so much directly related to my argument, but more to further set up these key verses, Genesis 9:2-3…God tells Noah, after the fall of man and the flood, to further multiply and fill the earth. God placed the animals in Noah’s/Man’s control/power. “All the wild animals, large and small, and the birds and fish will be afraid of you…I have given them to you as food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables.”
As one reads further (Genesis 9: 4-7), one may argue that God says murder is forbidden (v5), but upon valid inspection, the Lord is speaking of murdering another human…“For to murder another person is to kill a living being made in God’s image.” This does not relate to animals as they are not made in God’s image. If murder were related to animals, then the previous verses would not correlate. If all animals are given to us for food, but we are not to eat animals with the lifeblood still in them (v4), then you must kill the animal before eating it, correct? Yes, so therefore, killing an animal is acceptable, but the killing of a person is not.
Perhaps some less powerful and pivotal verses in proving this point, but none the less show that hunting is and always has been a part of life, would be the following:
---We all know the story about the fishermen throwing there nets on the other side…well, that was fishing and meat.
Luke 9:10-17…Jesus fed the five thousand with fish…meat.
Leviticus 17:13-14…this verse holds meaning and symbolism we need not get into as it is irrelevant to a decision in this thought, but it does show clearly that hunting is an acceptable activity when performed according to the law.
Genesis 10:8-9…Nimrod was a heroic and a mighty hunter before the Lord (or in the Lord’s sight). Nimrod’s name became a proverbial (well-known) name. Although Nimrod may have been evil, his actions as a hunter clearly were not. To say that “their desire to kill corrupted their whole sense of loving and compassion” may have been true for them, but does that make hunting wrong? Of course not, it isn’t the gun that shoots people, it’s the person who pulls the trigger. The pencil doesn’t do the writing, the person holding it does. What you’re doing is finding sinful hunters and blaming there sin on hunting. That would be like finding a vegetarian stealing produce from a store and claiming that being a vegetarian is bad because it makes people want to steal produce.
Proverbs 12:27…This verse goes to show that some outdoorsmen don’t carry out their outdoor activities correctly, but those who do things right are blessed and godly.
Deuteronomy 14:1-21…again, so much symbolism and meaning that is irrelevant to this topic directly, but just goes to show once again that the partaking of animals according to the law is good and well.
Genesis 27:3…Isaac, who was clearly not being disobedient to the Lord, tells Esau to go out with his bow and quiver, hunt wild game, and prepare a meal for him. Neither saw hunting as a negative or unlawful act, but a fine event and great meal. Again, like with Nimrod, don’t get caught up in the fact that Esau turned bad, but that hunting is accepted.
There are many more illustrations and wordings throughout God’s Word relating to the act of hunting…without twisting meanings and playing with the wording. I won’t get into every verse, but there are verses that mention the act of hunting and fishing (for fish, not just men =)). Fowling, chasing, the acts of mighty hunters, archers, the eating of wild animals, the cooking of meat, the use of bows, arrows, snares, pits, nets, using decoys, using dogs to hunt, nooses, etc., are all mentioned throughout the Bible. In taking God’s Word as authoritative and inerrant, it is clear that hunting and partaking of meat has been an accepted part of life from fall of man.
I recently read an article by Tom C. Rakow who had interesting insight into this topic. Rakow stated that indeed, in recent days hunting has come under heavy fire. Practices which were acceptable to most just years ago have now largely fallen into disrepute. In the minds of some, hunting has become an equivalent to murder. As a result, there seems to be a growing divide between hunting and non-hunting segments of society.
Surprisingly, in a country which was primarily founded upon the Judeo-Christian ethic, Rakow says, the topic of hunting is seldomly addressed with scriptural principles in mind. Furthermore, those who do venture to quote from the Bible often arrive at conclusions which are based more upon emotion or personal conviction than on sound interpretive methods.
According to Dr. Rakow, a major contributor to the anti-hunter sentiment which presently exists has to do with the extensive urbanization of our modern society. Due to societal changes, people who were at one time directly tied to the food chain now eat at one instead. He also sees that our cultural views toward hunting have been strongly affected by such things as the influence of evolution and Eastern religious thought which places humans on a similar plateau with animals, the humanization of animals, erosion of Judeo-Christian values, and, of course, the unethical behavior of some hunters themselves.
These are profound statements I feel are very true today. Along with Rakow’s thought about many eating at fast food chains instead of being directly linked to the food chain…what do you think would happen in the world if the grocery stores and restaurants disappeared? Hard to imagine, but I’ll bet some minds would be changed in favor of hunting.
Now the next thought would be, we don’t even need meat…we could just eat veggies and such! Well, that is true, but our life expectancy would drop off. Not because vegetable aren’t as good for us, but because of the animal population! I’m no master of statistics, but if we were to stop every form of hunting and meat eating, do you have any clue how many animals would be around! And how would they survive? They would have to eat our vegetables too! The numbers are astronomical. Animals repopulate much faster than we do and I guarantee it wouldn’t be long before they would cause serious problems to the human population. There is a reason animals can reproduce more and why there are so many. Why, because part of God’s intelligent design and purpose for animals was to be food for us, like the Bible says. That’s the bottom line.
I am interested in your thoughts, so please respond. Being a vegetarian is fine, but when one doesn't see eating meat as Biblical...that's a stretch.
With God as our commonality,
Go on to: Comments by Frank and Mary Hoffman - 28 Feb 2006
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