By Mark Jenkins
Would you consider eating a dog? Probably not! Yet, one food manufacturer in China says that it is “fine, tasty and can warm the body.” In all likelihood, you would not even consider eating any number of things that might be acceptable to those in a foreign land, such as mice, admittedly poisonous fish and other so-called delicacies. You have personal standards that you simply will not violate when it comes to putting food in your mouth.
Yet, most do violate the standards that God has set for their dietary needs!
Would it not be logical that a loving God, who created the human body and the animals that man consumes as food, would tell man what he can and cannot eat? What does the Bible say on the subject? Does it even matter?
Some say that eating swine, catfish and rabbit is really no big deal. Many professing Christians believe that God somehow cleansed these meats in New Testament times, as revealed to Peter in a vision, described in Acts 10. Does this mean we can eat anything we want? Others claim that no meat products of any kind should be eaten. Let’s examine the plain biblical teaching about clean and unclean meats.
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Everything on Earth—in fact, everything in the universe—has a designer. Someone designed the pattern from which your clothing is made. A whole team of engineers designed your automobile. When your car breaks down, often you must go to an expert to have it repaired. The information that mechanic has will surely have come from the designers of the automobile. By looking at the design of your vehicle, he can determine the problem and find the best way to correct it.
Your body was “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) by the Master Designer, Almighty God Himself. He knows exactly how everything in the body should work. He also designed the fruits, vegetables and animals that you consume. Who could possibly be more qualified to tell you what can properly nourish and sustain you than your Creator? We should look to Him for dietary understanding, not to man’s inadequate, limited knowledge. If the Designer of your body says that you should not consume something, you can be certain He knows best!
Most determine what they eat by taste, not by laws of good health. In fact, some of the things that people commonly call “food” are nothing more than slow-acting poisons, however tasty they may be. When it comes to plants, man can tell which are poisonous and avoid eating them. However, man simply does not have the ability to tell which meats are healthy and which are not. Nor does he need to. After all, God has already revealed what man may eat, and what he may not!
For instance: “And God said, Behold, I have given you 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” (Genesis 1:29). We can see here that God has given us the fruits and vegetables for our health. He told us what to eat for nourishment. Similarly, He reveals which meats our bodies are able to properly digest. They are listed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. In Leviticus 11:2, we read, “… These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.” Notice that there is a presumption here that we will eat animals. The question is not if we will eat animals, but which animals we may eat.
Our standards must come from God, not from our own reasoning. He wants you to have optimal health. The same people who will eat dog meat are horrified at some of the things Americans eat. Almost without exception, the things that you can’t believe others would eat (like dogs and mice) and the things foreigners can’t believe Americans would eat (such as oysters) have all been forbidden by God!
Every animal was created for a purpose, but that purpose is not necessarily for human consumption. Consider the following quote from Herbert W. Armstrong’s booklet Is All Animal Flesh Good For Food?: “Just as every plant that God caused to grow out of the ground was not designed for food, so it is with animal flesh. Some will say, ‘Well, if swine’s flesh isn’t supposed to be eaten as food, what did God create swine for?’ You might as well ask, what did God create weeds and poison vines for? Everything may have been created for a purpose, but not everything for the purpose of eating.
“Now some believe that in the original creation—in the Garden of Eden—God did not intend any animal flesh to be eaten. God’s revelation on that point is vague, and many have argued it both ways. However, God has clearly revealed that certain animal meats are to be eaten as food now, in this age, and Jesus who came to set us an example did eat flesh as well as vegetables and fruits, and so do I. …
“The day will come when we will at last learn that eating greasy hog flesh and other unfit ‘foods’ has been a prime cause of cancer and other deadly diseases” (emphasis added).