Genesis 9:1-7 - "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth ..."

Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man. As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it." (Genesis 9:1-7)

What does God want us to eat?

This text clarifies the recommended diet determined by the Supreme Being as best for humans. It also describes the physical world as a place of consequence.

The Supreme Being's statement begins by saying that all the creatures will respect and even fear humans. This is a true fact, and we see this throughout the animal kingdom and all of the species below the human species. We truly are the most respected species.

However, there is room to translate the Hebrew words מורא (mowra') and חת (chath) to awe and respect rather than fear and dread according to the lexicon.

Does this mean that humans should hurt and maim animals and other species? Does it mean we should torture animals, imprison them in cages, conduct medical research on them and kill them needlessly?

Yet many teachers from the various religious sects that accept Genesis as scripture will teach that animals do not have souls, and thus do not feel pain. They contend that these creatures are not alive as humans are alive.

This teaching has no basis, either in practicality nor logic. It is proven both scientifically and through simple observation that animals and other species all feel pain when they are hurt or killed. Anyone with eyes and ears can hear the screams of animals being slaughtered. Are they not screaming in pain? Do they not run away from the potential of being hurt? And scientific research shows that their bodies transmit pain signals to their brains just as human bodies do.

Do animals have souls?

This text in Genesis also tells us that creatures also have souls. The soul is the person - the entity and personality, who sees through the eyes and feels through the body.

The Supreme Being confirms this in His statement above. However, it should be noted that the NIV translators substantially mistranslated this text by combining the element of "life" with "blood." The text is clear that there are two precepts here:

1) Not to eat flesh that has life - or is alive.
2) Not to eat flesh that contains blood.

This is very clear, and nearly every other translation confirms it. Many connect the life with the blood - suggesting that the blood means it contained life. But the Hebrew word for life is נפש (nephesh), which is not the same as blood.

This is evidenced by the fact that an animal can be dead and still contain blood.

In the NIV, the word"lifeblood" is being translated from two different Hebrew words: דם (dam) and נפש (nephesh). The word דם (dam) translates to "blood."

As indicated above, the word נפש (nephesh) translates to "soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion;" "that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul;" "living being;" "living being (with life in the blood);" and "the man himself, self, person or individual."

We can clearly see that this word נפש (nephesh) is being applied to both animals and humans in this text:
"But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it."
This word is also applied equally to man:
"And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting."
In other words, both humans and animals have "lifeblood" (if translated right, a soul and their bodies contain blood) according to the Supreme Being. And because the "life" portion of "lifeblood" comes from the Hebrew word נפש (nephesh), this means that both animals and humans contain the same essence: a soul, or person.

This person is a spiritual being. Each of us is a spiritual being underneath the temporary physical bodies we wear. The spiritual being maintains an existence outside the physical realm - therefore it can occupy a variety of different types of physical bodies.

Who do we think is looking back at us through the eyes of a dog, cat, cow, elephant or another animal? Who is looking back at us? Are they just machines made of flesh? If so, why do they scream when they are harmed?

Why, then, do some people love their pets? Are they loving machines? Who are these pet owners exchanging a relationship with when they pet their cat or play frisbee catch with their dog? Within the bodies of these pets are living beings, and most people with long-time pets consider their pets as family members precisely because their pets are living beings.

So why won't meat-eaters kill and eat their dogs and cats, yet have no problems killing and eating cows? Why don't people eat their pets? Because they accept their pet as a living being and do not want to inflict pain upon them.

But is there any real difference between a dog or cat and a cow or chicken? In fact, in some countries such as the Philippines, some people eat dogs but not cows.

Is the human body designed to eat meat?

It is clear that the Supreme Being prefers that we eat plant-based foods. "Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything"confirms other statements that the Supreme Being prefers humans eat a plant-based diet:
"I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." (Genesis 1:29)
So why is God now allowing humans to eat meat, after He designed our bodies for eating plant-based foods?

Designed? Yes. Not only did the Supreme Being recommend that humans eat plant-based foods. The human body is designed for eating seeds, nuts, grains, fruits, vegetables and so on. Just look at our hands. Do our hands have claws that can rip into flesh like a tiger's claw can? No. We have stubby fingers that can crack nuts, pull up roots and pick and peel fruit.

Do we have razor-like meat-eating teeth like tigers or sharks have? No. Our teeth are mostly good for cracking and grinding food.

In order to eat meat, we have to use tools, we have to create knives or guns to kill animals with and forks and knives to cut and saw the meat with in order to eat it.

The bodies of true meat-eaters do not need tools to eat their foods: They can tear flesh with their nails and teeth and eat it immediately. Many can also eat an entire animal at one sitting due to their expandable digestive tracts - leaving none of the meat behind to rot. (Humans have to figure out a way to store the meat.)

Meat-eating animals can also run fast in order to catch their prey. Humans are very slow compared to most animals. Without spears, guns or other tools, we can hardly catch any prey.

Our digestive tracts were also not designed for meat. Meat-eaters have short, fat, expandable intestines that can quickly digest large chunks of meat before it begins to decompose. We have long, thin digestive tracts intended to slowly break down grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.

Furthermore, recent research has established that a plant-based diet is healthier for humans, and red meat-diets increase the risk of numerous cancers, including colon cancer among humans. This is because the human colon is not designed to digest meat.

Since the Supreme Being ultimately designed and created our physical bodies, we can know He does not prefer that we eat meat. This is confirmed by Genesis 1:29 as quoted above.

But we can also know from this statement in Genesis 9 that at some point the Supreme Being gave an allowance for eating meat to humans. But with an important requirement: That all the blood is drained from the animal before it is eaten:

"But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it."

Why is this? As mentioned above, because the blood represents the living essence of the animals, the Supreme Being instructs that the blood be drained. The blood of an animal contains various biochemicals, which can alter the human body and nervous system. These biochemicals include hormones and neurotransmitters that will alter our brain and nerves. Because an animal becomes fearful and struggles for survival when being slaughtered, their blood will contain high levels of those hormones and neurotransmitters. When humans eat those, there is a greater propensity for violence and anger. For this reason, the Supreme Being did not want His followers to eat the blood of animals.

The Supreme Being is setting down a critical requirement for those who want to eat meat. It is not easy to drain the blood from an animal before eating it. Yet this is precisely what was instructed by God for those who needed to eat meat to survive.

So do the various organized religious institutions who accept Genesis as scripture follow this edict as instructed by the Supreme Being? No. Most simply eat bloody meat without restriction. Some follow rules with regard to eating certain types of animals (as discussed elsewhere in the scriptures), and some may abstain from eating meat for one day a week or during the daytime for a period. But practically none of these institutions maintains the Supreme Being's instructions to Noah.

Yet there are clear indications that a number of devoted saints had primarily plant-based diets. These include Daniel, John the Baptist, Jesus and others. They understood the Supreme Being preferred they not eat meat. And they lived to please the Supreme Being.

What does diet have to do with consequences?

So why again would the Supreme Being create this allowance for Noah and his sons? The answer to this is that following the flood, some environments were not conducive to eating vegetables. Regions covered with snow for much of the year, or desert regions where there are few plants and too little water to grow crops make it difficult to maintain a plant-based diet.

This is especially true for much of the Middle East - a land of many desert regions and too few trees, and a scarcity of water for growing crops.

So the Supreme Being makes allowances according to the time and place. Does this mean that we should not try to eat primarily plant-based foods today? In our modern societies, there is plenty of healthy plant-based foods to eat. Most of us do not need to kill animals to survive. But if we were starving in the desert or the tundra, certainly there is an allowance for these situations.

The Supreme Being confirms in this text that there are consequences to our actions, and should we needlessly hurt and murder animals for food when we have plenty of other food, we will be held responsible:
"And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man."
The term"an accounting" comes from the Hebrew root word דרש (darash), which means a requirement - or better, consequence - that arises from a particular activity.

The Supreme Being is describing that He created this physical world with consequences - and not just regarding our actions that affect other humans. There are consequences for hurting other humans and for hurting animals unnecessarily.

We can see how the law of consequence with regard to humans is stated clearly:
"Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed."
This indicates that the consequence of killing another human body is to have one's physical body killed. This is necessary to provide a reckoning - or consequence.

This doesn't mean that humans should necessarily step in and do this. God's laws of consequence are always fair. Yes, it is important to remove the freedom of a person who is convicted of murder so the person cannot murder someone else.

Humans are fallible, so it is very possible that a person is convicted of murder by mistake. Because we are prone to mistakes, we must be careful about taking the law into our hands and murdering a convicted murderer.

What is our composition?

We are spiritual living beings, only temporarily driving these physical bodies - much as a person drives a car. They are our temporary vehicles. They are not us. We are not killed when our body dies. We continue to live long after the body dies.

As we move on to another lifetime, we take with us the results of our previous activities. We must at some point suffer the consequences of any action that hurt another person or animal. These depend upon the degree of our awareness. The physical world was automatically programmed with consequences, much as a computer video game is programmed to keep scores and penalize players for certain operations.

This means that if the body of a murderer is not killed as a consequence of killing someone else, then they must suffer being killed in another lifetime. We each carry our uncleared consequences with us - and they help determine what kind of body and environment we end up with in the next lifetime - assuming we return to the physical world (the equivalent to "going to hell" as the physical world is in fact, hell).

This is why some people are born in environments of brutal suffering. They inflicted suffering onto others in their previous lives.

Note that the transmigration of the self was taught by early Church leaders such as Origen and even Jesus.

Those who do not accept this cannot logically explain why some children are born into environments of starvation, or are born with physical defects. Is the Supreme Being cruel and unfair? Why are some people born in peaceful, rich societies and others born into warring societies and starvation?

This statement by the Supreme Being confirms it: This world has built-in "accounting" that requires every action to produce a consequence. This is part of His programming of the physical world. Whatever we do that affects others has the consequence of us having to experience what we caused others to experience.

This consequential programming allows us to evolve and learn. It forces us to realize what it feels like to experience what our actions forced others to experience. This is because the Supreme Being wants to teach us to once again care for each other, and love each other.

This is ultimately designed to raise our consciousness so that we are ready to return to the spiritual realm. The spiritual realm is our home - it is a place of loving relationships and loving service. And the Supreme Being is the center of these loving relationships.

This means in order to return to the spiritual realm we must re-kindle our caregiving relationship with the Supreme Being and His children. This means we must raise our consciousness.

Is our consciousness tied to our diets?

What we choose to eat affects our consciousness from both a subtle level and a physical level. A diet that is all or mostly plant-based foods is better for our consciousness because we are producing less harm.

As we produce less harm we are able to evolve spiritually. This allows us to gradually begin to care for all other living beings - not just humans. If we are caring for animals we will not eat them unnecessarily. Even if we pay for someone else to slaughter a cow for us, we are involved in that slaughtering. Unless we have no other food to eat, we are unnecessarily inflicting pain upon innocent animals.

And as described above, our consciousness is also influenced by the many biochemical components of meat that produce a greater tendency for anger and violence.

In the end, it is about love. Love for others, and love for the Supreme Being. This is our nature: to love. Raising our consciousness means learning to love others, and learning ultimately to love and serve the Supreme Being. This is why we all search for true love throughout our lives. We are looking for our lost loving relationship with the Supreme Being.

And this is why Jesus and Moses both taught:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38 and Deut. 6:5)