Watchtower 1961 December 15 pp.766-767 Questions from Readers
Questions from Readers
• When, in Genesis 1:30, God says: "To every wild beast of the earth and to every flying creature of the heavens and to everything moving upon the earth in which there is life as a soul I have given all green vegetation for food," are we to understand that this absolutely excludes the idea that any animals ate meat at that time or before that? And on this basis are we to conclude that all animals will be vegetarian in the new world? How, then, can we account for the meat-eating birds, insects, reptiles and other animals with their poisonous fangs, hunting prowess, and so forth, apparently given them at creation and admirably equipping them as meat eaters?
Genesis 1:30, as just quoted, does not say that God had given "all green vegetation for food" to the wild beasts, the flying creatures and everything moving upon the earth in addition to what meat or flesh they could catch by hunting. The verse just ahead tells us that God said to Adam and Eve: "Here I have given to you all vegetation bearing seed which is on the surface of the whole earth and every tree on which there is the fruit of a tree bearing seed. To you let it serve as food." (Gen. 1:29) We do not understand this to mean that Adam and Eve could eat animals that lived on grass and other vegetation, and that in eating such animals minus their blood Adam and Eve were eating vegetation indirectly, inasmuch as, to begin with, the animals ate the vegetation and then Adam and Eve ate the animals that lived on such vegetation to convert it into flesh. No! But it is evident that God set the perfect man and woman on a vegetarian diet, without suggesting even dairy products.
First after the flood God specified in so many words that Noah and his family and their descendants could eat bloodless meat or flesh. This indicates that God-fearing men like Abel, Enoch and Noah and his family had not lived on animal and bird flesh prior to the flood. What the ungodly men lived on till the flood we do not know. Abel, Enoch and Noah and his family did not reason in a roundabout manner and violate the Edenic dietary law that God stated to Adam and Eve in Eden, in Genesis 1:29, 30.
Of course, the Bible says a lot about zoology, but the Bible is no exhaustive treatise on all zoological matters. It therefore leaves in a lower or secondary position the discussing of details about the lower animal creation. It fixes first attention on Jehovah's superior earthly creature, man, and specializes on that. Hence the facts about wild beasts, domestic beasts, flying creatures and insects are spoken of only incidentally, or in illustrations.
So, if the Bible itself does not give any answer to these questions about those creatures lower than man, it does not mean that there is no answer to the questions that is consistent with the Bible. It simply means that we are not to preoccupy ourselves with such questions. One big fact we must remember: that we humans are living and all these birds, insects and other animals are living in a system of things that has obtained since Jehovah God legalized man's eating animal flesh minus its blood. Accordingly, if man has been eating animal flesh and insects for four thousand three hundred years and has teeth that can be adapted to eating such solid food as flesh, it is not strange that birds, insects and other animals should be also living on flesh that they hunt for and catch.
As to the preflood situation on the diet of man and animals, we may take the situation in Noah's ark as an illustration. Under God's instructions Noah and his family were to take into the ark wild beasts, domestic animals, flying creatures and birds, two each (male and female) of the unclean kind, and seven each of the clean kind. Besides this, Noah was to take into the ark every sort of food that is eaten to "serve as food for you and for them." (Gen. 6:19-22) Now Noah had no deepfreeze unit nor any refrigeration installation to preserve processed flesh foods in the ark. The seven sheep, seven bulls and cows, seven goats, two horses, two pigs, and so forth, that Noah took into the ark would hardly have been enough flesh food for the two lions, two tigers and two of the other wild flesh-eating beasts of today to live on in the ark during the flood. Noah was not instructed to carry on a slaughterhouse in the ark to feed the wild beasts with flesh foods. Nor was he told to enmesh tremendous quantities of flying or creeping insects to provide fresh food for the creatures today devouring insects.
Noah came out of the ark the following year with not less wild beasts, domestic animals, flying and creeping creatures and birds than he took into the ark. It is possible that he had more when he came out, due to the breeding of these lower creatures. Well, then, on what did every living thing in the ark live during those twelve lunar months and ten days, or one full solar year, shut up inside the ark? Certainly not on flesh, nor on one another.
All those creatures, human and subhuman, were able to live without flesh for a whole year inside the ark. Why could not every one of those living creatures live without flesh during 1,656 years prior to the Flood, or back to the time when God specified to Adam and Eve in Eden what he had given to earthly creatures as food? And if they could subsist that way during the first 1,656 years of man's existence, why can they not return to that way of life and keep living that way during the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ and then for eternity? During his millennial reign Jesus Christ as King will have control over animal, bird, insect and fish life as well as over human life. He will regulate it according to God's will and for the good of all creature life on earth. So we should not think only of the post-Flood side of the question and leave out of consideration the pre-Flood side of the question as if it had no bearing. Let us take the Bible position on the subject and not over-occupy ourselves with merely incidental matters to the extent of wasting time, thought and peace of heart and possibly stumbling ourselves into the camp of the godless evolutionists.