From Humane Religion

Letter from C. Wells about Sexism is a Sin

I was really tracking with you on these articles until I came to the description of herem. You mention that it was man's idea, not God's and that God denounces it in Jeremiah.

1. I can recall several instances where God commands His people to kill everyone instead of take them captive.

2. The reference in Jeremiah is very vague and doesn't particularly apply to any one sin.

Your thoughts?

Reply by Frank and Mary Hoffman

Dear C:

Thank you for your comments and question.

Since J. R. Hyland is no longer with us to answer your question according to her intent and interpretation, we will do our best to answer for her.

We agree that there were other instances recorded in the Bible where God does command the killing of everyone, and we agree that the Jeremiah passage seems to cover a much broader scope.

There are two main underlying things at work here that we should also consider. The first is that everything that is taking place is part of God's concession to sinful humans, and not His creation or heavenly will, where there is no death or suffering. The second has to do with the fact that in the wildness, the Hebrews were put on a healthful vegan diet of manna, and God limited to killing of animals to the sacrifices. Furthermore, when they entered the land they were to eat of the produce, and drive the people out before them, because of their evil ways. J. R. seems to be saying that the people greatly exceeded God's intent with their cruelty and destruction.

We hope this helps.

Please feel free to write back if you have any further questions or comments.

In the Love of the Lord,

Frank and Mary

Response by C

Well, I understand the permissiveness versus perfect will thing.

But God didn't just let the Israelites consume manna. He also sent them quail.

I'm not sure if you're trying to assert that God isn't into people eating meat or killing animals. I just don't think that's a valid argument taking the whole counsel of scripture. Just looking at the temple sacrifices or covenantal sacrifices that God himself ordained, I don't think we can say that God was very seriously concerned about not killing animals.

I don't really think you can take the animal issue and make it a central theme of scripture. I didn't realize that was one of the foci of this site. I'll keep that in mind.


Reply by Frank and Mary Hoffman

Dear C:

Thank you for writing back.

Yes, God sent them quail after they grumbled, and many of them died because of it. This was another concession with a dire consequence. Afterwards, they returned to eating manna, and God never again sent them quail or any other animal.

Think about what happens to a human being when they deliberately kill an animal; doesn't that person have to harden their heart so as not to feel empathy for that animal, so that they are capable of taking away the life of the animal who wants to live as much as we do. God wants us to have a soft heart.

Sacrifices were going on well before Moses gave the people the limiting Law. These animals were to be the person's companion, so that the horror of killing him or her was so traumatic that they wouldn't sin any more. But the killing of animals became so common place that the people thought nothing of it. This is the reason for Isaiah's/God's tirade in the first chapter, where God even refers to the people who kill the animals as murderers (v. 21).

There was no death in Eden before the Fall, and there is no death in heaven (Revelation 21:4), and Jesus told us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48), and to pray for our heavenly Father's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). There really doesn't seem to be any room in God's will for the abuse and killing of animals for human use, does there?

We look forward to hearing back from you.

In the Love of the Lord,

Frank and Mary

Go on to: Letter from John Holleran about Sexism is a Sin - 3 Aug 2009
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