Swords to Plowshares

Promoting a faith-based love for all creation.

Did God have a new plan for creation after the flood by giving humanity permission to kill animals?

No, the plan was the same as it was in the beginning (Genesis 1:27-29), but humanity immediately fell into temptation (Genesis 3:6) to do things their own way instead of God’s way (Genesis 8:20). The account in Genesis 8-9 of Noah getting off the ark is one of the most misunderstood and misused justifications for animal cruelty in all of scripture. God was warning humanity of the consequences of following our own evil imaginations (Genesis 8:21) instead of following God’s instructions to be good stewards (Genesis 1:27-31, Luke 12:32). People twist this passage to justify being tyrants over animals, just as they do with the original instruction in Genesis 1:28, when in fact both accounts point to doing the opposite – being loving and merciful stewards.

Noah was so faithful and meticulous at following every one of God’s instructions concerning the building of the ark (Genesis 6:14-16), filling it with food (Genesis 6:21) and animals (Genesis 19-20, Genesis 7:2-3) and his family (Genesis 6:18, Genesis 7:1), and believing the flood was about to come (Genesis 6:17, Genesis 7:4). It says he did all that God had instructed (Genesis 6:22, Genesis 7:5), and his faith was justified when the flood came and God saved everyone aboard the ark (Genesis 7:10, Genesis 7:18).

Then when God said to exit the ark (Genesis 8:15-16) and release the animals so they could be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 8:17, Genesis 7:3), Noah did so (Genesis 8:18-19). But then instead of waiting for further instruction, Noah took it upon himself to build an altar and start burning some of the animals on it (Genesis 8:20), unprompted by God to do so, which is contrary to the stated purpose God had for the animals (Genesis 8:17, Genesis 7:3, Genesis 1:22). That is the action God was responding to when he said “every inclination of man’s heart is evil” (Genesis 8:21), which was precisely the stated reason for the flood in the first place (Genesis 6:5).

Instead of immediately destroying us again, despite our hearts being inclined toward evil and cruelty instead of love and mercy, God in his endless mercy promised he would never again destroy the earth with a flood (Genesis 9:8-11). He made this promise not only to humanity but also to all the animal (Genesis 9:10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17).

Click here for more Q&A about Animals and Stewardship in the Bible

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