Have you ever taken your computer back to factory settings? It’s a good cure for most software problems; but if you’ve used your machine a fair bit, the chances are, there are little bits of hardware that are not functioning to perfection. So it’s not quite the same as a brand new machine.
I think it must have felt a bit like that for God after the flood. He’d taken the world back to factory settings, but it wasn’t the beautiful pristine creation he’d made at the start.
For one thing, Noah might have been the best of the bunch, but God knew that ‘every inclination of man’s heart is evil from childhood’. It wasn’t going to be long before the cleaning process would be in need of updating, but God had promised he would not go that route again.
It was God’s plan that people as well as the creatures, would multiply, and fill the earth – he commanded it several times in these early chapters of Genesis. I wonder if God knew that it would only be a matter of time before their insatiable appetites would turn from grazing side by side, to turning on one another and become predators and prey. Perhaps better to set the rules and give a chance of fair play than watch the inevitable bloodshed in a total free-for-all.
In Genesis 9 v 4- 6, it seems to me that the rules were simply – Appreciate the value of all life. Whatever your take on vegetarianism or animal experimentation, I think there is a principle set here. Do not cause unnecessary suffering.
It’s easy to take up the cause for ill-treated dogs and horses, but how do we apply the principle to fly-spray or pesticides? Or even antibiotics? I think that is why God applied a principle, and not a set of hard-and-fast rules. (Not sure how this plays out in Leviticus – meet that when we get there!) He knew only too well the complexities of ethics in a less than perfect world. Thank God he understands us in our dilemmas. Let’s pray God gives us wisdom to deal with them as best we can.
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