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Why are there carnivores?


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#1 Paul

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 05:53 PM

Why are there carnivores?

I've been watching this video that was caught on camcorder, of the lions attacking the buffalo.

Buffalo are herbervores, but why aren't lions and why aren't we.

It seems the more cruel to have to kill, to take another animals life for your food.
When nature provides in herbs and vegetables without the need for anyone to be killed or suffer or fear.

It seems in the garden of Eden that that may have been the original case.
But why did God later allow meat eating?

I think it wrong to judge people and maybe even species for eating meat, it's what many do with no thought.
Maybe animals could be tamed to be vegetarians.

I think in lands maybe where there is droughts, how can they grow crops, what else can be done but to eat animals.
After the flood, I doubt vegetation could have been grown for a while, so they would have to eat animals wouldn't they?

I know it's part of most of our cultures, and seems a natural diet of some animals.
But why, is this a cause of the fall?

But why did God permit this?

I can't see it exactly right, and can't see it exactly an evil someone commits to eat meat.

Anyone have any answers on this from the Church Fathers?

Thanks.
In Love.
Paul.

#2 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 08:28 PM

St Basil the Great in his On the Origin of Man writes:

God did not say: 'I have given you the cattle, the reptiles, the quadrupeds.' It is not for this that He created, says the Scripture. In fact, the first legislation allowed the use of fruits, for we were still judged worthy of Paradise.

What is the mystery which is concealed for you under this?

To you, to the wild animals and the birds, says the Scripture, fruits, vegetation, and herbs [are given]...We see however, many wild animals who do not eat fruits. What fruit does the panther accept to nourish itself? What fruit can the lion satisfy himself with?

Nevertheless, these beings, submitting to the law of nature, were nourished by fruits. But when man changed his way of life and departed from the limit which had been assigned him, the Lord, after the Flood, knowing that men were wasteful, allowed them the use of all foods: 'Eat all that in the same way as edible plants '(Gen 9:3). By this allowance, the other animals also received the liberty to eat them.

...Nature had not yet divided, for it was in all its freshness; the hunters did not capture, for such was not yet the practice of men; the beasts for their part, did not yet tear their prey, for they were not carnivores.

Such was the first creation, and such will be the restoration after this. Man will return to his ancient constitution in rejecting malice, a life weighed down with cares, the slavery of the soul with regard to daily worries. When he has renounced all this, he will return to that paradisal life which was not enslaved to the passions of the flesh, which is free, the life of closeness to God, a partaker of the life of the angels.


There is also an active and ongoing oral tradition within Orthodox monasticism which still teaches the same things. Thus the monastic fast which involves no meat is seen as a partial return to that state of Paradise.

Many of the great monastic saints who practiced a very high degree of fasting ate no animal flesh of any sort.

Starets Silouan would weep if a tree branch was inadvertently broken.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#3 Kusanagi

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 09:54 AM

Man was created to eat herbs and every green thing as commanded by God.
We started eating meat as another commandment after the flood as there was a lack of food and I am guessing that was given to the animals too.
Abstaining from meat he says is to going back to how we were created to eating just plants.

#4 Paul Cowan

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 10:47 PM

Genesis 9:1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 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. 3 Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. 4 "But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 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.


I don't know that this is so much from a lack of food since the dove returned with an olive branch in it's beak. There must have been foliage on the earth. Perhaps this was a divine condenscension since HE was to require animal sacrifices to atone for our sins? Perhaps He knew we would eat the sacrifice if left to our own devices anyway?

Paul

#5 Paul

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 10:08 AM

Would they have grown vegetables on the Ark, also, somehow?

The video I was talking about that drove my mind to this is entitled the battle of kruger on Youtube, I saw a clip of it on the news.

It seems lions start feeding on Buffalo alive.
I watched a couple of other videos of it on youtube, and the lions don't kill them but start feeding on them when they are still alive.

Does anyone know if this is common with lions, or is this something new?

#6 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 02:23 PM

Would they have grown vegetables on the Ark, also, somehow?


I'm not sure. The alternative however apart from eggs from the chickens and milk from the cows, would have been to cook and eat your fellow inhabitants of the Ark.

This would have been one solution to the problem of food supply during the 40 days. (Kind of like Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal).

But the result may have been no animals left to repopulate the earth after the Flood!

In Christ- Fr Raphael
PS: Stay tuned for further profound thoughts from myself.

#7 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 04:42 PM

We've touched on this before somewhere, but would it not be beneficial for all practising Orthodox Christians to abstain from eating meat?

#8 Kris

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 05:01 PM

We've touched on this before somewhere, but would it not be beneficial for all practising Orthodox Christians to abstain from eating meat?


Then what of this?

"If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone at all on the sacerdotal list, abstains from marriage, or meat, or wine, not as a matter of mortification, but out of an abhorrence thereof, forgetting that all things are exceedingly good, and that God made man male and female, and blasphemously misrepresenting God’s work of creation, either let him mend his ways or let him be deposed from office and expelled from the Church. Let a layman be treated similarly." Apostolic Canon 51

#9 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 06:46 PM

Yes, I know about that canon. But what does 'out of an abhorrence thereof' mean? How can compassion for sentient animals be wrong? And is it possible that such compassion and mortification are two sides of the same coin? I only know that I could not look at a lamb in a field, go up to it, kill it, skin it, butcher it, roast it and eat it. And if I can't do it, why should I rely on somebody else to do it for me? But I wholeheartedly agree with not abstaining from wine so I'm not entirely in breach of this canon!

#10 Father David Moser

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 07:05 PM

sentient animals


I think I understand your comments in the way that you meant them - however I wanted to point out that the above category does not exist. An animal is not sentient (if by sentient we mean "self aware" in the way that mankind is aware of himself). Sentience is a function of the spirit which animals do not possess - only mankind was given a spirit as part of his creation. The spirit is that element which makes our soul immortal, capable of union with God, like God, in the image of God. Animals do not have a spirit - their soul is mortal - thus an animal cannot be sentient.

Now, if by sentient, you mean "rational" or "reasoning" - well then that's different, however, that is not the usual meaning of sentient (at least as I am familiar with the word). If this were the case then computers would be sentient superbeings (at least from our perspective) because of their ability to "reason" at an accelerated rate and their hyper-rational nature.

Yes, yes this is all sophistry and wordplay, I know, but we do have to be careful about how we express such things because even such a small and seemingly meaningless turn of phrase may lead to grievous error.

Fr David Moser

#11 Paul Cowan

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 09:24 PM

I only know that I could not look at a lamb in a field, go up to it, kill it, skin it, butcher it, roast it and eat it.


Dogs today are more household pets than the work animals they were bred to be. Yes, there are still sheep dogs out there, but I dare say a chihuahua is not a work animal.

Many people own horses for the pleasure of the ride. Few still use horses as work animals. (at least in this country).

That said, the mentality of times of old was to use animals for thier purpose, work or food, not as pets. Humans (at least in my house) seem to humanize animals making them cute furry little people. They are not. They are animals that use instinct to survive.

As Fr. David said they reason and problem solve, but this does not make them self aware. My pet dog knows how to get the ball I hid from him. He does not know that he is a dog.

Paul

#12 Andrew

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 09:27 PM

Would they have grown vegetables on the Ark, also, somehow?


I think I read somewhere that hydroponic growing was engineered by English sailors with green thumbs. When out at sea they'd bring flowers with them and keep the roots soaked in nutrient rich water. I don't know if this is true, but if it is then I don't see how this couldn't have been the case in the time of Noah.

#13 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 09:07 AM

Yes, of course, I meant 'sentient' in the second sense mentioned by Father David. My Chambers's dictionary defines 'sentient' as 'conscious, capable of sensation'. Etimology is from Latin, 'sentiens', to feel. As a lawyer, I know only too well the importance of accuracy in the use of words!

As to Paul's post, I was not making out a case for the sentimental regard for animals or their use as pets - I don't have any pets. There are many stories of Holy Fathers (St Petroc, St Cuthbert, St Seraphim, and many others) and their kindness towards animals, and one Father said he was worse than a dog because a dog loves (yes, loves) and does not judge. A bird did a prostration before St Cuthbert, we are told, and otters came to warm his feet after he had stood in the sea praying. Elder Paisios was angry with a visitor to him who, on the way, killed a snake the Elder described as his friend. The trust some animals have in humans may flow from instinct but it is trust nonetheless. I just think that the slaughter of animals for food is a kind of violence which sits ill with the spiritual life. Is this view to be condemned?

#14 Kusanagi

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 10:49 AM

Acts 10:11

11And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:

12Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

13And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.

14But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

15And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

#15 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 12:01 PM

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:33-35)

For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:2-4)

#16 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 01:34 PM

I just think that the slaughter of animals for food is a kind of violence which sits ill with the spiritual life. Is this view to be condemned?


I think there is some of this attitude mainly within the monastic understanding of refraining from eat.

At times the verse from Gen 9:2 is cited: "And the fear of you and the terror of you shall be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given." Thus the eating of meat is seen as being a result of the falleness of man.

Of course though discernment is needed. Monastics do after all eat fish and shell fish which is a sentient form of life in the way you speak of it.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#17 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 05:13 PM

One can wonder how far to take this, but I think of fish and shellfish differently from lambs and pigs. Having said that, I don't like the idea of dropping live lobsters and crabs into boiling water. Our Lord ate fish for sure. Did He eat meat???

#18 Father David Moser

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 05:43 PM

One can wonder how far to take this, but I think of fish and shellfish differently from lambs and pigs.


You are actually in good company. St Basil the great makes a very great distinction between the "cold blooded" nature of the fish and the "warm blooded" nature of the land animals stating that the soul of the cold blooded creatures is of an inferior nature (although he doesn't go into great detail about how they are inferior). Also shellfish, which have no discernable blood, could be said to not be "animals" at all, but rather plants (not in the biological sense, but in the spiritual sense as the soul is closely identified with the blood by St Basil). This is how I understand the fact that shell fish are permitted to be eaten during the fast and that fish is sometimes permitted while "meat" is not.

Fr David Moser

#19 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 06:07 PM

Did He eat meat?


I think it is a reasonable asumption that He did. The New Testament records that Jesus did eat the Passover feast (see Luke 22:7-13).

What was the Passover Feast? It certainly included lamb.

". . . observe the Passover to the LORD. 'In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight, they shall observe it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 'They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break a bone of it; according to all the statute of the Passover they shall observe it. 'But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and yet neglects to observe the Passover, that person shall then be cut off from his people, for he did not present the offering of the LORD at its appointed time. That man will bear his sin. (Numbers 9:10-13).

If our Lord did not observe the Passover, how could He have kept the Law?

We also know that the earthly guardians of the child Jesus offered the prescribed animal sacrifices on His behalf. Whether or not He actually ate thereof, the animals in question did not survive the rite.

He also seems to believe that killing a fatted calf is a fitting way to celebrate the return of the prodigal son.

#20 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 07:42 PM

Food for thought! I'm happy to be in the company of St Basil! I do think of the penultimate line in the Psalms: 'Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord'. Does that include 'everything that hath breath'? If so, do we then kill and eat what hath praised the Lord?




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