More S.O.A.P. from ‘Genesis’ (study, observe, apply, pray)… by David Niednagel
Genesis 9:1-7 In the image of God
9:1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. 2 All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power. 3 I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables. 4 But you must never eat any meat that still has the lifeblood in it. 5 “And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. 6 If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image. 7 Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth.” NLT
After the Flood God gave permission for humans to eat anything, not just the plant, vegetable diet in 1:30. Here, there are no restrictions on “unclean” animals, that will be later forbidden under the Law of Moses. But there is a restriction against eating “meat that still has the lifeblood in it”. They could not bite into living animals or drink the blood of animals. Lev 17 teaches that “life is in the blood”, and I believe this is a picture of the blood of Christ which would be for our atonement.
This point is connected to the next verse which says if an animal or a person takes a human life, the life of the killer must be forfeited,because humans are made in the image of God. God is commanding capital punishment for murder. Today many oppose capital punishment because “it is cruel and unusual” and/or because innocent persons are sometimes convicted. In the Law of Moses safeguards were built into the judicial process to protect the innocent, but here God says the death penalty for those who murder another shows a higher value of human life than letting the murderer go free. The NT also teaches that to curse a person (James 3:9) or discriminate against other ethnic groups is wrong because we are all created in the image of God. (Col 3:8-10) Capital punishment applied biblically upholds the value of human beings.
Lord, Thank You for revealing truth and perspective that goes beyond what our society thinks. Thank You for giving us so many good things to eat! And thank You for showing us how to value life – in animals and in humans. I have never been tempted to kill anyone, but I have sure devalued and disrespected people created in Your image. Help me treat everyone with the dignity appropriate to someone in Your image. And Lord, I do pray for Your people to work for justice in our court systems so that innocent people are treated with justice and dignity. Amen