Meat a vegetarian could eat

Have you seen Man vs. Food, a show on the Travel Channel in which a bloke named Adam Richman goes around to different cities, showcasing their signature food joints and taking on food “challenges” such as eating that gigantic steak in Amarillo or attempting to down the world’s hottest chicken wings. Anyway, he was in Miami on Superbowl weekend and he did a feature on Joe’s Stone Crabs. Here I learned something remarkable. From the restaurant’s website:

In order to assure the continued survival of the species: Only one claw may be removed so the crab can defend itself. Egg bearing females are not allowed to be declawed.The crabs are captured in baited traps. No spears or hooks are allowed. . . . The claws make up half the weight of the whole crab, they are removed by carefully grabbing from the rear and twisting. The crab is returned to water and the claw regenerates. It takes between 12 to 24 months to reach legal size again.

So these crabs are caught, but instead of being killed, only one claw is removed. Then the animal is thrown back into the wild and then grows another claw. People can thus eat crab meat–which Adam said is delicious–without requiring the death of the animal!

OK, I realize that vegans and animal rights advocates would object to twisting the claws off but this is a “sustainable” food supply that at least some vegetarians might get past their consciences.

And yet, the thought gives me the creeps. Isn’t it better that the animal dies as a sacrifice, fulfilling the principle that all life depends on the death of other life (which holds true even if someone eats only vegetables), so that sacrifice is essential for both spiritual and physical life?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • colliebear56

    Joe’s Stone Crabs: The. Best. Seafood. Ever.
    I’ve been there, and their restaurant is tops in quality, cleanliness, atmosphere. You will wait in a long line to get in. Lunchtime is an excellent time to experience this place because the lines are shorter.
    Agree that the tearing off claws thing is creepy, but I don’t really want to think about it, a.k.a. burying one’s head in the sand.

  • colliebear56

    Joe’s Stone Crabs: The. Best. Seafood. Ever.
    I’ve been there, and their restaurant is tops in quality, cleanliness, atmosphere. You will wait in a long line to get in. Lunchtime is an excellent time to experience this place because the lines are shorter.
    Agree that the tearing off claws thing is creepy, but I don’t really want to think about it, a.k.a. burying one’s head in the sand.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Well, it is a crab after all. A tasty crustacean, and if they can produce another tasty claw in 12-24 months, then, hooray for the delicious crab.

    We used to catch blue crabs all the time down in Florida and I always felt a bit sorry for them as I heard them clicking around in the boiling pot of water after we tossed them in.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Well, it is a crab after all. A tasty crustacean, and if they can produce another tasty claw in 12-24 months, then, hooray for the delicious crab.

    We used to catch blue crabs all the time down in Florida and I always felt a bit sorry for them as I heard them clicking around in the boiling pot of water after we tossed them in.

  • https://twitter.com/LoveLifeLitGod LoveLifeLitGod

    “Isn’t it better that the animal dies as a sacrifice, fulfilling the principle that all life depends on the death of other life (which holds true even if someone eats only vegetables), so that sacrifice is essential for both spiritual and physical life?”

    I have never, ever looked at meat this way. This is very profound. Wonderful food for thought. (Bad pun not intended!)

  • https://twitter.com/LoveLifeLitGod LoveLifeLitGod

    “Isn’t it better that the animal dies as a sacrifice, fulfilling the principle that all life depends on the death of other life (which holds true even if someone eats only vegetables), so that sacrifice is essential for both spiritual and physical life?”

    I have never, ever looked at meat this way. This is very profound. Wonderful food for thought. (Bad pun not intended!)

  • Joe

    Kill it; rip its arm off … I don’t care either way. Just put a big ole pile of it on my plate.

  • Joe

    Kill it; rip its arm off … I don’t care either way. Just put a big ole pile of it on my plate.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I lost any sympathy for crabs when I worked in a crab meat processing plant in Alaska one summer. I have never seen visible hate like what I saw in the eyes of a hold-full of crabs. The only thing that came close was looking in the eyes of a cornered rat once. Crabs aren’t nice.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I lost any sympathy for crabs when I worked in a crab meat processing plant in Alaska one summer. I have never seen visible hate like what I saw in the eyes of a hold-full of crabs. The only thing that came close was looking in the eyes of a cornered rat once. Crabs aren’t nice.

  • Rev. F. Bischoff

    This reminds me of the story of a salesman driving down a country road when he spots a three-legged pig standing out in the yard in the front of a farmhouse. Curious, he drives in and asks the farmer what the story is about the pig. The farmer says, “About six months ago we had a house fire in the middle of the night and that pig knocked down the door and woke up the entire family. He saved us all.” “Oh,” said the salesman, “and the pig lost a leg during the rescue?” “No,” said the farmer. “Then how did he lose his leg?” asked the salesman. The farmer aswered, “A pig that special you don’t eat all at once.”

  • Rev. F. Bischoff

    This reminds me of the story of a salesman driving down a country road when he spots a three-legged pig standing out in the yard in the front of a farmhouse. Curious, he drives in and asks the farmer what the story is about the pig. The farmer says, “About six months ago we had a house fire in the middle of the night and that pig knocked down the door and woke up the entire family. He saved us all.” “Oh,” said the salesman, “and the pig lost a leg during the rescue?” “No,” said the farmer. “Then how did he lose his leg?” asked the salesman. The farmer aswered, “A pig that special you don’t eat all at once.”

  • ssmith

    “Isn’t it better that the animal dies as a sacrifice, fulfilling the principle that all life depends on the death of other life (which holds true even if someone eats only vegetables), so that sacrifice is essential for both spiritual and physical life?”

    My hubby calls this idea “the chicken argument” – as long as the animal has lived a healthy and proper life and if we humans have cared for it appropriately, it can fulfill its ultimate telos on our table sustaining us as we live *our* proper lives.

  • ssmith

    “Isn’t it better that the animal dies as a sacrifice, fulfilling the principle that all life depends on the death of other life (which holds true even if someone eats only vegetables), so that sacrifice is essential for both spiritual and physical life?”

    My hubby calls this idea “the chicken argument” – as long as the animal has lived a healthy and proper life and if we humans have cared for it appropriately, it can fulfill its ultimate telos on our table sustaining us as we live *our* proper lives.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    I have a customer in Miami who overnights a box of stone crabs to me and my family in Idaho for a Christmas dinner the last couple years. Now I see how famous Joe’s is! The crabs along with the sauce furnished are breathtaking. We always grate some Idaho potatoes and fry them in butter (with a dash of garlic salt)for accompaniment as per my friend’s recommendation. If we get another box this Christmas I will give thanks to the giver and the Giver with renewed appreciation for the sacrifice.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    I have a customer in Miami who overnights a box of stone crabs to me and my family in Idaho for a Christmas dinner the last couple years. Now I see how famous Joe’s is! The crabs along with the sauce furnished are breathtaking. We always grate some Idaho potatoes and fry them in butter (with a dash of garlic salt)for accompaniment as per my friend’s recommendation. If we get another box this Christmas I will give thanks to the giver and the Giver with renewed appreciation for the sacrifice.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    This revelation gives me hope that there may indeed be eating of meat in heaven. You know what would be even better? Re-grow-able lobster tails. Heavenly!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    This revelation gives me hope that there may indeed be eating of meat in heaven. You know what would be even better? Re-grow-able lobster tails. Heavenly!

  • Kelly

    I wonder if your observation of “animal life as sacrifice” is a reason why, in Genesis 9, it is forbidden to eat “meat that has its lifeblood still in it.” One reading of this passage is that it includes eating meat from living animals, which was considered cruel. Just throwing that out there.

  • Kelly

    I wonder if your observation of “animal life as sacrifice” is a reason why, in Genesis 9, it is forbidden to eat “meat that has its lifeblood still in it.” One reading of this passage is that it includes eating meat from living animals, which was considered cruel. Just throwing that out there.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I’m with Lars,
    Swimming off the coast of Oregon one summer one tried to get my foot. So I swooped down and picked it up, taking it on shore to show my son, the thing pinched me, cut my finger good, but I never had better crab.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I’m with Lars,
    Swimming off the coast of Oregon one summer one tried to get my foot. So I swooped down and picked it up, taking it on shore to show my son, the thing pinched me, cut my finger good, but I never had better crab.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I have no problem with eating crabs (or meat), or probably even with twisting their arms off, though I have to wonder what it means that so many of us wince at the thought of the latter. Why do we have an innate reaction to that? (In contrast, while I’ve never cut the heaf off a chicken, I’m much less bothered by that, at least in theory.)

    But I don’t think it’s a given that this is, in fact, “sustainable”. After all, God gave these crabs two claws for a reason. And while, yes, he also gave them the ability to regenerate a lost claw, it seems logical that a crab with only one claw will not survive as well as a crab with two. And while I have no reason to think that this practice will actually affect the population of stone crabs, if done widely enough, it would probably have a deleterious effect on the population.

    Also, Bryan, if there was no meat-eating in Eden, what would make you think there would be in Heaven? On the other hand, you won’t believe how tasty the Brussels sprouts will be!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I have no problem with eating crabs (or meat), or probably even with twisting their arms off, though I have to wonder what it means that so many of us wince at the thought of the latter. Why do we have an innate reaction to that? (In contrast, while I’ve never cut the heaf off a chicken, I’m much less bothered by that, at least in theory.)

    But I don’t think it’s a given that this is, in fact, “sustainable”. After all, God gave these crabs two claws for a reason. And while, yes, he also gave them the ability to regenerate a lost claw, it seems logical that a crab with only one claw will not survive as well as a crab with two. And while I have no reason to think that this practice will actually affect the population of stone crabs, if done widely enough, it would probably have a deleterious effect on the population.

    Also, Bryan, if there was no meat-eating in Eden, what would make you think there would be in Heaven? On the other hand, you won’t believe how tasty the Brussels sprouts will be!

  • Jenny

    Sacrifice? If I chose to murder you- my defense in court would not be that you “sacrificed” yourself to my. I’d love to see a murder trial in the U.S. that allowed murder of the basis of sacrifice that the victim did not vocalize. No, animals do not “vocalize words” in the same sense– but enough science has been done to study the physiological responses of animals up until slaughter to demonstrate they are not complicit.

    Unless you are willing to accept that I may murder another ‘human’ in the name of sacrifice, or population control (a hunter’s mantra), or some Darwinian struggle in which I am stronger than you- then let’s rethink the language used to describe animal enslavement and slaughter.

    Not so sure that if the animal could vocalize in an anthropomorphic way that it would utter the words, “Please… rape me… slaughter me… and you would be doing me a favor in doing so.”

  • Jenny

    Sacrifice? If I chose to murder you- my defense in court would not be that you “sacrificed” yourself to my. I’d love to see a murder trial in the U.S. that allowed murder of the basis of sacrifice that the victim did not vocalize. No, animals do not “vocalize words” in the same sense– but enough science has been done to study the physiological responses of animals up until slaughter to demonstrate they are not complicit.

    Unless you are willing to accept that I may murder another ‘human’ in the name of sacrifice, or population control (a hunter’s mantra), or some Darwinian struggle in which I am stronger than you- then let’s rethink the language used to describe animal enslavement and slaughter.

    Not so sure that if the animal could vocalize in an anthropomorphic way that it would utter the words, “Please… rape me… slaughter me… and you would be doing me a favor in doing so.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jenny (@13), the word “sacrifice” does not refer only to situations in which the entity losing its life does so willingly. I’m pretty certain that, in most sacrifices throughout history, the animal being killed did not offer up its life of its own volition, but was in fact killed in spite of its will to live. The only counterexample that leaps to mind is, of course, Jesus, who gave himself up as the “atoning sacrifice for our sins”.

    Taking the life of an animal so that we can prolong our life is entirely different than murdering it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jenny (@13), the word “sacrifice” does not refer only to situations in which the entity losing its life does so willingly. I’m pretty certain that, in most sacrifices throughout history, the animal being killed did not offer up its life of its own volition, but was in fact killed in spite of its will to live. The only counterexample that leaps to mind is, of course, Jesus, who gave himself up as the “atoning sacrifice for our sins”.

    Taking the life of an animal so that we can prolong our life is entirely different than murdering it.

  • Dan Kempin

    ” . . . the principle that all life depends on the death of other life . . .”

    What? I have never heard of this principle before, and now that I have heard of it, it doesn’t make any sense. A baby is not sustained by the milk of its mother? Eating an apple is the death of the apple? Seriously, I don’t get it. It doesn’t work on the physical or the spiritual level. Life doesn’t come from death. It comes from God. True, we can be sustained by the sacrifice of other life, but how does it follow that we must? We do not receive our life from the death of Jesus but from his life.

    (For the record, I am all for tasty animals of all varieties. I have just never heard that statement before.)

  • Dan Kempin

    ” . . . the principle that all life depends on the death of other life . . .”

    What? I have never heard of this principle before, and now that I have heard of it, it doesn’t make any sense. A baby is not sustained by the milk of its mother? Eating an apple is the death of the apple? Seriously, I don’t get it. It doesn’t work on the physical or the spiritual level. Life doesn’t come from death. It comes from God. True, we can be sustained by the sacrifice of other life, but how does it follow that we must? We do not receive our life from the death of Jesus but from his life.

    (For the record, I am all for tasty animals of all varieties. I have just never heard that statement before.)

  • Joe

    Jenny – who is raping crabs? Were talking about killing the crab versus ripping off its claw.

  • Joe

    Jenny – who is raping crabs? Were talking about killing the crab versus ripping off its claw.

  • Joe

    Dan @ 15. “We do not receive our life from the death of Jesus but from his life.”

    You can’t split that hair Dan. We need both his death and his resurection. Without his death we would still be on the hook for every sin we have, are or will committ. That is whay St. Paul makes clear that “we preach Christ crucified …” (1 Cor 1:23) and that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Heb. 9:22).

  • Joe

    Dan @ 15. “We do not receive our life from the death of Jesus but from his life.”

    You can’t split that hair Dan. We need both his death and his resurection. Without his death we would still be on the hook for every sin we have, are or will committ. That is whay St. Paul makes clear that “we preach Christ crucified …” (1 Cor 1:23) and that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Heb. 9:22).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dan (@15), ah, but what is the baby’s mother sustained by? Odds are, it is not merely by fruits. At the very least, plants are dying to sustain the mother.

    There is a group of people out there who eat only the parts of plants that do not kill the plant (they’re called fruitarians or fructarians). This is, of course, an extreme form of veganism, and its adherents tend to suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Perhaps these people are ignorant of the fact that the time for living off of just tree fruit ended after we were kicked out of the Garden. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but when God says to Adam, “you shall eat the plants of the field,” it seems to me he’s indicating that death is now part of the world, and it is how life will be sustained (through God, of course, but this is how he chose to do it).

    This may be a bit off-topic, but at least I’m not talking about crab rape.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dan (@15), ah, but what is the baby’s mother sustained by? Odds are, it is not merely by fruits. At the very least, plants are dying to sustain the mother.

    There is a group of people out there who eat only the parts of plants that do not kill the plant (they’re called fruitarians or fructarians). This is, of course, an extreme form of veganism, and its adherents tend to suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Perhaps these people are ignorant of the fact that the time for living off of just tree fruit ended after we were kicked out of the Garden. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but when God says to Adam, “you shall eat the plants of the field,” it seems to me he’s indicating that death is now part of the world, and it is how life will be sustained (through God, of course, but this is how he chose to do it).

    This may be a bit off-topic, but at least I’m not talking about crab rape.

  • Dan Kempin

    Joe, #17,

    I didn’t say the death of Jesus is irrelevant. I said our life does not come from His death. That’s a statement I will stand by. Jesus is not dead, and we have life precisely because He is NOT dead.

    tODD #18,

    As I said previously, life can certainly be sustained by the death of an animal, and is much tastier and more nutritious to boot. (I still am not covinced that eating a plant is “killing.”) I am questioning the premise that life “depends” on death and that death is “essential” for life. There is no doubt that fructarians, though they may be malnourished, are still very much alive.

  • Dan Kempin

    Joe, #17,

    I didn’t say the death of Jesus is irrelevant. I said our life does not come from His death. That’s a statement I will stand by. Jesus is not dead, and we have life precisely because He is NOT dead.

    tODD #18,

    As I said previously, life can certainly be sustained by the death of an animal, and is much tastier and more nutritious to boot. (I still am not covinced that eating a plant is “killing.”) I am questioning the premise that life “depends” on death and that death is “essential” for life. There is no doubt that fructarians, though they may be malnourished, are still very much alive.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Even fruititarians are digesting the living cells that constitute the piece of fruit. Look at the Old Testament sacrificial system, in which animals were killed as an offering to God, but then (except for burnt offerings) eaten by the priests, the Levites, and the offerer. No, Dan, Jesus is not dead now, but He was. Without His sacrifice we could not have eternal life.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Even fruititarians are digesting the living cells that constitute the piece of fruit. Look at the Old Testament sacrificial system, in which animals were killed as an offering to God, but then (except for burnt offerings) eaten by the priests, the Levites, and the offerer. No, Dan, Jesus is not dead now, but He was. Without His sacrifice we could not have eternal life.

  • larry

    Most animals that we eat are tortured severely on factory farms. Cows, to take one example, are castrated, branded and de-horned all without pain killers. And that’s before they get to the slaughter house. The males of layer hens are ground up alive since they are worthles to the egg industry (layers are a different species than broilers). Both layers and broilers have their beaks seared of to keep them from cannibalizing each other in the tiny cages they are forced to live it. I could go on for quite some time. Here is a video if you are interested: http://meat.org

  • larry

    Most animals that we eat are tortured severely on factory farms. Cows, to take one example, are castrated, branded and de-horned all without pain killers. And that’s before they get to the slaughter house. The males of layer hens are ground up alive since they are worthles to the egg industry (layers are a different species than broilers). Both layers and broilers have their beaks seared of to keep them from cannibalizing each other in the tiny cages they are forced to live it. I could go on for quite some time. Here is a video if you are interested: http://meat.org

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dan (@19), I realize we’re out in the seaweeds here, and I further realize that this kind of theological slicing is, at best, tricky, but … isn’t it more accurate to say that, because of Jesus’ resurrection, we have the sure hope that the Father accepted his sacrifice? And that, as such, Jesus’ death was what brought about atonement between us and God, which is to say, brought us into life?

    And saying that fructarians “may be malnourished” but “are still very much alive” misses my point: if they keep it up, they likely won’t be alive. I mean, a person who eats nothing will still be “very much alive” … for a few days! But he will, eventually, die. I would similarly offer that the fructarian lifestyle is not one suited for the propagation of human life — or else, we’d likely find a society of fructarians that had been around for more than a generation.

    As to whether eating a plant (in such a way that destroys the plant) is “killing”, it isn’t a rigorous proof, but, again, I will note that, in the Garden, there was no death. And, by extension, there was no killing. Unless I’m missing something, they were told only to eat “of” the trees — that is, the fruit. Once sin came into the world, there was to be death, and they were told to “eat the plants of the field”. As I understand it, that term refers not to fruit trees, but to agricultural plants, such as wheat, which, when eaten, destroy the plant. It’s more correlation than causation, but the eating of plants, and not just their fruit, seems to come only after death enters the world.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dan (@19), I realize we’re out in the seaweeds here, and I further realize that this kind of theological slicing is, at best, tricky, but … isn’t it more accurate to say that, because of Jesus’ resurrection, we have the sure hope that the Father accepted his sacrifice? And that, as such, Jesus’ death was what brought about atonement between us and God, which is to say, brought us into life?

    And saying that fructarians “may be malnourished” but “are still very much alive” misses my point: if they keep it up, they likely won’t be alive. I mean, a person who eats nothing will still be “very much alive” … for a few days! But he will, eventually, die. I would similarly offer that the fructarian lifestyle is not one suited for the propagation of human life — or else, we’d likely find a society of fructarians that had been around for more than a generation.

    As to whether eating a plant (in such a way that destroys the plant) is “killing”, it isn’t a rigorous proof, but, again, I will note that, in the Garden, there was no death. And, by extension, there was no killing. Unless I’m missing something, they were told only to eat “of” the trees — that is, the fruit. Once sin came into the world, there was to be death, and they were told to “eat the plants of the field”. As I understand it, that term refers not to fruit trees, but to agricultural plants, such as wheat, which, when eaten, destroy the plant. It’s more correlation than causation, but the eating of plants, and not just their fruit, seems to come only after death enters the world.

  • Dan Kempin

    This conversation has become a touch surreal. To be serious for a moment, perhaps it would be best to clarify a definition of “life.”

    “Life” comes from God. God is the Lord and “Giver of Life.” Life as existence is entirely dependent upon God (a dependency which is illustrated by the need for food) and, strictly speaking, has nothing to do with death. Death is the absence of life.

    We could speak still further about “a” life, and about living matter–living cells, an organ, plant life, etc. These things are living, as opposed to inert, yet they do not have the “breath of life,” to use the Genesis phrase. Life existed before the fall and, as tODD mentions, eating was a part of life in the garden. The whole system was around before death entered the world. I would think that fact alone would be enough to refute the premise that death is “essential” to life. If not, I will say one word further: Manna. The Israelites ate for forty years without living cells of any type.

    About Jesus, I must be very careful, apparently, to avoid being misunderstood. I know, confess, and rejoice that the death of Christ is my atonement and the atonement of the world. Without his sacrifice there would be no redemption and consequently no life. Please do not feel the need to quesiton me further on that.

    My point, though–and maybe it was the splitting of a hair after all, Joe–was that the death of Jesus is our atonement. His death was, strictly speaking, the weight of the curse that was to fall on us. It was the stomping out of innocent life. The fact that it fell upon Jesus instead of us is our salvation, but death is not life. It is, in fact, the destruction of life. The resurrection of Jesus shows, among other things, His power over death and His victory over the curse. It is, therefore, our guarantee of life, since death without resurrection would not bring life. Death without resurrection would be, well, just death.

  • Dan Kempin

    This conversation has become a touch surreal. To be serious for a moment, perhaps it would be best to clarify a definition of “life.”

    “Life” comes from God. God is the Lord and “Giver of Life.” Life as existence is entirely dependent upon God (a dependency which is illustrated by the need for food) and, strictly speaking, has nothing to do with death. Death is the absence of life.

    We could speak still further about “a” life, and about living matter–living cells, an organ, plant life, etc. These things are living, as opposed to inert, yet they do not have the “breath of life,” to use the Genesis phrase. Life existed before the fall and, as tODD mentions, eating was a part of life in the garden. The whole system was around before death entered the world. I would think that fact alone would be enough to refute the premise that death is “essential” to life. If not, I will say one word further: Manna. The Israelites ate for forty years without living cells of any type.

    About Jesus, I must be very careful, apparently, to avoid being misunderstood. I know, confess, and rejoice that the death of Christ is my atonement and the atonement of the world. Without his sacrifice there would be no redemption and consequently no life. Please do not feel the need to quesiton me further on that.

    My point, though–and maybe it was the splitting of a hair after all, Joe–was that the death of Jesus is our atonement. His death was, strictly speaking, the weight of the curse that was to fall on us. It was the stomping out of innocent life. The fact that it fell upon Jesus instead of us is our salvation, but death is not life. It is, in fact, the destruction of life. The resurrection of Jesus shows, among other things, His power over death and His victory over the curse. It is, therefore, our guarantee of life, since death without resurrection would not bring life. Death without resurrection would be, well, just death.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    See I just don’t know. growing up i was always taught that there was no death in the Garden. And I believe that would have been true for Adam and Eve and all their descendants. But I’m not sure that pertained necessarily to the animals in the Garden. Genesis 9:3 gives Noah the right to eat of any animal he wishes, but there were sacrifices going on long before, even distinctions between Clean and Unclean animals, as the instructions to Noah about what animals to take on the Ark indicate.
    And the pictures of heaven in Isaiah claim that we will be eating meat up there. But perhaps like Thor’s sheep they come back to life if you don’t consume their bones…. There won’t be any death in heaven either, at least not for us.
    Could this be just a figurative sort of thing in Isaiah? Perhaps, but then what are you going to base that presumption on?
    I don’t know that death was needed to sustain life in the Garden, but God sure does seem to use it to sustain our lives now, even his own Son’s death. So in that case Vieth’s statement stands. I think it is one of those truths Pastors can use on Deer Hunt Sunday to connect with a few people too.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    See I just don’t know. growing up i was always taught that there was no death in the Garden. And I believe that would have been true for Adam and Eve and all their descendants. But I’m not sure that pertained necessarily to the animals in the Garden. Genesis 9:3 gives Noah the right to eat of any animal he wishes, but there were sacrifices going on long before, even distinctions between Clean and Unclean animals, as the instructions to Noah about what animals to take on the Ark indicate.
    And the pictures of heaven in Isaiah claim that we will be eating meat up there. But perhaps like Thor’s sheep they come back to life if you don’t consume their bones…. There won’t be any death in heaven either, at least not for us.
    Could this be just a figurative sort of thing in Isaiah? Perhaps, but then what are you going to base that presumption on?
    I don’t know that death was needed to sustain life in the Garden, but God sure does seem to use it to sustain our lives now, even his own Son’s death. So in that case Vieth’s statement stands. I think it is one of those truths Pastors can use on Deer Hunt Sunday to connect with a few people too.

  • Dan Kempin

    Bror #24,

    “I was taught that there was no death in the garden . . . I don’t know that death was needed to sustain life . . . but God sure does seem to use it to sustain our live now . . . so in that case Veith’s statement stands.”

    Actually, your statement contradicts Dr. Veith’s, which says not that God “seems to use” this means but rather that life “depends” upon death.

    Still, that is not really my concern, and I don’t seem to be getting my point across very well. Let me try one last time:

    My real concern is with a false or sloppy definition of death. Death is a curse. Death produces nothing and gives nothing; it only destroys. It is therefore improper to speak of “death” giving or sustaining life. True, we can be sustained by the flesh of dead animals, but even in that case what we are eating is not death, but rather the remnants of life.

    It would be far more accurate and helpful to talk of slaughter and sacrifice as the taking (or giving) of a LIFE, rather than requiring a death. Justice requires death. Death is punitive. Life requires life, whose ultimate and only source is God.

  • Dan Kempin

    Bror #24,

    “I was taught that there was no death in the garden . . . I don’t know that death was needed to sustain life . . . but God sure does seem to use it to sustain our live now . . . so in that case Veith’s statement stands.”

    Actually, your statement contradicts Dr. Veith’s, which says not that God “seems to use” this means but rather that life “depends” upon death.

    Still, that is not really my concern, and I don’t seem to be getting my point across very well. Let me try one last time:

    My real concern is with a false or sloppy definition of death. Death is a curse. Death produces nothing and gives nothing; it only destroys. It is therefore improper to speak of “death” giving or sustaining life. True, we can be sustained by the flesh of dead animals, but even in that case what we are eating is not death, but rather the remnants of life.

    It would be far more accurate and helpful to talk of slaughter and sacrifice as the taking (or giving) of a LIFE, rather than requiring a death. Justice requires death. Death is punitive. Life requires life, whose ultimate and only source is God.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dan,
    I’m sure in there somewhere you have a great thought that is trying to be expressed. But here is the problem as I see it, what you describe as life “the breath of God” is only given to humans, so what you describe as death, also seems to be a phenomenon relegated to humans.
    But I see dogs living and dying. And what would it mean that our life is sustained by the death of others, if it wasn’t that we were feasting on the remnants of life? How is that different? Something had to die for us to eat the remnants of life as you say.
    But here is a thought, though the death of Christ was required for our salvation. Our spiritual life is actually sustained by his life, for the body and blood we eat and drink at communion is not dead, but living, the most living thing you will eat all week.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dan,
    I’m sure in there somewhere you have a great thought that is trying to be expressed. But here is the problem as I see it, what you describe as life “the breath of God” is only given to humans, so what you describe as death, also seems to be a phenomenon relegated to humans.
    But I see dogs living and dying. And what would it mean that our life is sustained by the death of others, if it wasn’t that we were feasting on the remnants of life? How is that different? Something had to die for us to eat the remnants of life as you say.
    But here is a thought, though the death of Christ was required for our salvation. Our spiritual life is actually sustained by his life, for the body and blood we eat and drink at communion is not dead, but living, the most living thing you will eat all week.

  • Dan Kempin

    Bror #26,

    Actually, dear brother, the “breath of life” is used to describe animal life as well as human. (Gen. 1:30)

    And I see a vast difference in saying that we are sutained by life or sustained by death.

    We can be nourished by the remnants of life if some animal dies, but something does not have to die for us to be nourished. Did you not read about the crab claws? God gave every green plant for food to everything that has the breath of life. This does not *require* death. God sustains life. I don’t understand how you can disagree in the first two paragraphs and then hit it right on the head in the third. Your final sentence is precisely the point I have been making, if you refer back to post 15 and 19.

  • Dan Kempin

    Bror #26,

    Actually, dear brother, the “breath of life” is used to describe animal life as well as human. (Gen. 1:30)

    And I see a vast difference in saying that we are sutained by life or sustained by death.

    We can be nourished by the remnants of life if some animal dies, but something does not have to die for us to be nourished. Did you not read about the crab claws? God gave every green plant for food to everything that has the breath of life. This does not *require* death. God sustains life. I don’t understand how you can disagree in the first two paragraphs and then hit it right on the head in the third. Your final sentence is precisely the point I have been making, if you refer back to post 15 and 19.

  • WebMonk

    Looks like this conversation has lapsed, but I’ll toss in a thought on one aspect – death in Eden.

    It depends on what you mean by the word “death”. No one in their right mind uses that in the truly universal sense, even if the diet of all creatures was completely vegan: plant cells had to die to nourish us, Adam’s skin wore off and the cells died, etc, etc. Even in the case of the crab claws in this story, the muscles, nerves, and ‘blood’ in the claw all had to die.

    By no death in Eden, usually that refers to no death for mankind. (the stances on animal death in Eden are varied, but I’ve usually heard the view of animal death from age and accidents but not from predatory actions)

    So, depending on how you want to look at it, death is required for life to exist. Not just in nourishment, but in a billion different ways, death at some level (obviously requiring the preexistence of life) is required for life to continue.

    (just a side note – this understanding of life in Eden might affect our view of death existing in heaven in the light of descriptions of eating in heaven, though with the new body/new creation of heaven, equivalencies of heaven to Eden get pretty shaky)

  • WebMonk

    Looks like this conversation has lapsed, but I’ll toss in a thought on one aspect – death in Eden.

    It depends on what you mean by the word “death”. No one in their right mind uses that in the truly universal sense, even if the diet of all creatures was completely vegan: plant cells had to die to nourish us, Adam’s skin wore off and the cells died, etc, etc. Even in the case of the crab claws in this story, the muscles, nerves, and ‘blood’ in the claw all had to die.

    By no death in Eden, usually that refers to no death for mankind. (the stances on animal death in Eden are varied, but I’ve usually heard the view of animal death from age and accidents but not from predatory actions)

    So, depending on how you want to look at it, death is required for life to exist. Not just in nourishment, but in a billion different ways, death at some level (obviously requiring the preexistence of life) is required for life to continue.

    (just a side note – this understanding of life in Eden might affect our view of death existing in heaven in the light of descriptions of eating in heaven, though with the new body/new creation of heaven, equivalencies of heaven to Eden get pretty shaky)


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