Weekly Newsletter from Christian Vegetarian Association CVA - January 17, 2022
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Garden of Eden – Animal Issues
  2. All-Creatures.Org Ministry

1. Garden of Eden – Animal Issues

There are two creation narratives in the Book of Genesis. Among their differences, Genesis 1 relates God creating the animals before creating humanity. In Genesis 2 describes God creating humans followed by the animals.

The first creation account describes humanity having “dominion” over the animals (1:26). How did the ancient Hebrews understand this term? English translators have tried to identify English words that accord with the Hebrew words. Toward this end, they have inferred meaning from how the Hebrew words were used in the Bible and in other ancient sources. A challenge is that the Bible was written over many hundreds of years, and word meanings can change over time. Uncertainties regarding the meaning of words in the Bible can be easily exploited to serve nefarious ends. Consequently, those seeking to defend the torture and killing of animals often point to Genesis 1:26.

However, Genesis 1:29-30 prescribes a vegan diet:

And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so.

So, whatever the Hebrew word now translated as “dominion” meant to the early Hebrews, it did not mean ruthless tyranny. Perhaps in the ancient world, where autocratic rule was nearly universal, the Hebrews envisioned humanity providing benevolent guidance in the Garden of Eden, akin to a good king who has “dominion” over his subjects.

I will next explore the implications for animals of the second creation account.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

2. From All-Creatures.Org Ministry

Here are our recent All-Creatures Newsletter, which we hope you like and share with others to help stop the exploitation and killing of animals.

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