A Voice Came to Him, Rise, Peter; Kill, and Eat: What the Bible Says about Hunting
By Betty Miller
The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious. Proverbs 12:27
Killing Animals in Vain
The book of Proverbs deals with many practical subjects as well as spiritual ones. In this verse, we are given advice on hunting. It is not wrong to hunt; however, Proverbs 12:27 says that the man who hunts for game and just kills it, and does not take possession of it for eating is a slothful man. The diligent hunter takes his game for food (roasting) and considers it a precious possession, as he has food for his family’s table. Today men are slaughtering animals for wicked reasons. Many elephants and rhinos are killed for their tusks and horns and their bodies are left to rot. Other animals are slain for just the sport of it and their heads and bodies are stuffed to hang on a wall for a trophy of man’s prowess, while the meat was discarded. Bulls are slain for men just to watch the sport of bull fighting. Cock fighting is another sport where the cocks are put together to see which one will kill the other. Gambling is usually associated with this sport. We could name other atrocities of killing animals which take place with evil motives. God looks on the heart and motives of men when it comes to how we treat His creatures and we shall be judged for it.
Some people consider killing animals as an evil thing and have become vegetarians because they do not want to kill anything. Certainly, this is a noble thing; however, the Bible does not speak against killing animals for food. It does, however, speak against abusing or mistreating animals. In the beginning when God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and gave man charge over all the animal kingdom, man was given a fruit, grain and vegetarian diet. All the animals were under man’s dominion and Adam was given the task of naming all of them. Although we are not given a detailed account of how the animals responded to Adam it appears they were tame, as they were brought by God before Adam and he named them all.
Hunting and killing animals that are wild and attack men or their domesticated animals is not considered evil either, as David in the Old Testament had to kill a lion and a bear to protect his sheep as a part of his shepherd’s duty.
And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 1 Samuel 17:34-35
The Vegetarian Age: Pre-Flood
The Bible says that in the earliest days of creation, all of God’s creation, including animals, were vegetarian. When God blessed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He said to them: “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be food for you. And to the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food. And it was so” (Genesis 1:29-30).
It appears that all creation was vegetarian until after the waters of the Great Flood receded and Noah and his family were left to replenish the earth.
Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall upon all of the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, now I give you everything.” Genesis 9:1-3
It is interesting to note that because they didn’t eat meat, it could have been one of the reasons that Noah was able to so easily gather all the animals into the ark–and explains why the animals did not devour each other while they were in it.
Carnivorous Age: Post-Flood
After the flood, why did God now deem it fit for His creation to eat each other? A possible clue that comes to mind is this: Man’s wickedness had just reached its fullness, and God had destroyed almost all of the inhabitants of the earth because of it. That flood had somehow changed the order of things–and it was as if Noah and his family were like Adam and Eve, beginning things all over again, but without the innocence of Adam and Eve. The first world, which had been created in perfection, was ruined because of sin. For man to function in the post-flood world, evidently God allowed for the eating meat that would become a part of our existence. The distinguishing mark on this particular era of history would be having to live with the blight of sin.
Because man chose to sin, he lost his proper position of authority over God’s creation; he lost it in the Garden of Eden, and then it appears that he lost even more when God decided to flood the world because of man’s wickedness. When man lost his original position on the earth, it caused all of creation to lose its proper position as well. And now, everything has been tainted with the perverted character of the Wicked One. Even certain animals must be destroyed at times because demons have entered them. In the Old Testament, when an animal killed someone or was vicious, it was commanded to be destroyed.
If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit (cleared). Exodus 21:28
Today, some ask if it is a sin to eat meat. The Bible makes it clear that we can eat meat, even as Jesus ate meat when He was on the earth.
And they gave him (Jesus) a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. Luke 24:42-43
Heaven on Earth Age: Christ’s Return
In the millenium, when Jesus comes to restore this earth back to His original plan, we will then be able to enjoy the original plans and purposes for this earth. The animals will once again eat grass and not each other. Man will also enjoy the original foods God made for him and since the devil will no longer be present in this earth, all creation will be free from the curse of sin. The wild animals will no longer attack men. The lamb and the lion will lie down together. Man will have no desire to hunt or kill anything. All the earth groans and awaits for that day to come when the devil no longer roams this earth but is chained and cast into hell along with all of his followers.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:6-9
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