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5-25-12 CreatMat garden_of_eden

Did Animals Eat Meat Before the Flood?

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Did Animals Eat Meat Before the Flood? 

The Bible describes the perfect world God created in Genesis 1 and 2.  One of the most notable attributes of the pre-Fall world was the absence of carnivorous (meat-eating) behavior.

And God said, Behold, I have given you [Adam and Eve] every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.  And to every beast of the earth, and every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. (Genesis 1:29–30)1

Of course, Adam and Eve sinned and everything changed, including diets. Carnivorous activity is a prominent aspect of our world today, but when did it begin? It is not specifically mentioned in the Curse (Genesis 3:14–19). In fact, at the time of the Curse God told Adam “thou shalt eat the herb of the field” (Genesis 3:18b).  People were not given meat o eat until after the Flood (Genesis 9:2–4).2 But what about the animals? Did they begin to eat meat before the worldwide Flood? Scripturally and scientifically, the answer appears to be yes.

Biblical evidence

The Bible is the final authority, and in any question it should be consulted first. The Bible describes the world before the Flood in Genesis 6:11–12:

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth….

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  • JP Cory

    Abel raised sheep and sacrificed his best lambs to God. I don’t think Abel was raising sheep for pets. Biblically, the Fall is the definite line by establishing death as a marker of the Fall.

    • David

      It’s possible that Able raised sheep for their wool and for sacrifices!

  • http://facebook Mary Liz Danuser

    Wow!as many times as I’ve read those pages I never saw this info previously.

  • Janie

    Hello, I’ve enjoyed reading this artical, but I find myself questioning the automatic assumption that it is the consumption of meat that God was referring to when he said all flesh had become corrupt.
    I will point out that the first account in the Bible of the killing and use of animal flesh can be read in Genisis 3:21. Not to mention that God used the word “cattle” in Genisis 3:14 when speaking to the serpent.
    Finally, God was pleased with Abel’s sacrifice of animal flesh.
    It is more likely that it is HOW all flesh was trying to procreate that God found corrupt, as the account in Genisis 6:1-8 suggests.
    That being said, I believe the life we would’ve had in the Garden of Eden was God’s best for us, including our diet. But we are not there; the demands on our bodies outside the Garden, require nutrients, some of which, that can only be acquired though the consumption of meat.
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this subject; I welcome further discussion.

  • The Wiseman

    Genesis 3:21 says, “And God made coats of skins and clothed them…”

    The Bible does not say “wool” or “fur” but “skins”. Now a “Skin” can be removed ony from a dead animal; the act of skinning a live animal would automatically cause it’s death. So God must have caused the death of that animal; once skinned, it would seem that the carcase would be used for food, since there is no proscription against meat eating anywhere in Scripture.

  • tim pope

    Genesis 9, which is pointed to in the article, implies that God had a restriction on the eating of meat. I am sure that those whom God referred to as corrupt were eating meat. Animals, however, I believe would have still had that God given instinct to eat plants. Only after the flood when the earths vegetation would be much more scarce did He remove that instinct.

  • Briana Marie Molina

    Thanks so much for posting! :) I was studying this morning and realized what these verses were saying that nobody really seems to want to acknowledge. You’ve made great biblical references and made things clear. Thanks again. God bless!

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