September 11, 2009


Tonight I'm trying to read a book and I can't pay attention because I'm having a far-out reflection on the inner meaning of Friday.

Friday is, of course, the final day of the Creation, when God makes the land animals and the human beings. In his parting word, God explains to the human beings that they have all the botanical fruits for their food* while the other animals will have the green plants. Friday is the conclusion of the work of Creation.

And so it is with the Lord's Passion on Friday, because the suffering and death of the Lord are the last thing, the end of the story of this world, the end of human history. The Resurrection that inaugurates the New Creation on the First Day--the Deity having rested on the Sabbath according to the very structure of the Creation in which he became incarnate--is properly part of the Last Things and the End Time, Eternity now having invaded history in the Risen Lord.

*I would be very interested to read a theological study of the human diet according to Divine Revelation. On the face of it, it appears that it was only after the covenant with Noah that people started to eat meat (Genesis 9:3), while at the beginning they ate fruit (1:29.) So how was it that Abel offered meat to God, and why did God like it better than the crops offered by Cain?


Adoro said...

IN my 1st OT class a couple years ago we spoke of diet, and the result of the Fall. Our prof pointed out the dietary issue with meat after the Fall.

Of course, also discussing the way we are created, with the attributes of carnivores.

The hierarchy that is, always was.

It's also interesting that in the end, we still eat of the fruit of the tree....

Anonymous said...

Father Charles, I asked a female rabbi (who looks so much like Sarah Silverman it's scarey!) about this 2 years back. Her version is that regardless of the subtexts, God always wanted His human race to survive. So, in a state of perfection as in the Garden of Eden, fruits/seed bearing gave humans everthing they needed (and apparently all animals were also herbivores as well). As we know, a cow eats literally tons of wheat throughout its lifetime, and produces milk throughout. So, by sheer input, it is worth its weight in wheat, which is why its sacrifice was more favorable to God. And as you mention, it wasn't until the flood that humans were actually allowed to eat meat (ALL meat, including pigs etc) and only later were the Levitical (kosher) laws established on which meat was to be avoided).

Back to the good rabbi, she also mentioned that at certain times in humanity, it was necessary to eat all meat (i.e. after the great flood as there would have been no arable land/crops available) and at other times humans could make due with a herbivore diet. But God always allows humans to eat what is necessary in the end, and she said there is a specific mishna in the Talmud to that effect, citing these various phases of human dietary patterns/needs.

Brother Charles said...

Neat. Thanks friends. Anonymous, she sounds like my kind of rabbi!

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Brother Charles,
As always, your post is very information, very insightful, and of course very interesting. I always immediately read your newest post!

Ad Abolendam said...

I'm not sure if this really applies to what you're saying, but recall that the first killing of an animal wasn't during the time of Noah, but immediately after Adam and Eve sinned when God gave them animal pelts to wear. That might help explain Abel's sacrifice, or it might not.

Brother Charles said...

Very interesting point, Ad Abolendam. Those skins with which God made garments for our first parents had to come from something having been killed, unless they came from the serpent's legs, God having taken them away as part of the curse.

It's interesting because to wear skins or leather is to be a little bit in touch with death and unworthy of God; Moses had to remove his sandals before approaching God, and devout Jews may not wear leather on certain days.

This stuff fascinates me. Thanks for the comment!

Qualis Rex said...

Sorry, Father Charles. That "anonymous" post was mine (hit the send key too quickly). She really is a good person and wise rabbi. If you're interested I can send you on her contact info (she's in CA).

Brother Charles said...

No trouble, QR. I have a good rabbi here on the other coast.