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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Blood and Life

Reading: Leviticus 17

While the practice of animal sacrifice seems, to us, a cruel and brutal thing to do; it is important to remember the context in which God made these commands. The fall has set creation apart from God, and only blood can cover our sins. Until the sacrifice of the Messiah, animal sacrifices are necessary. We might find that hard to accept, but perhaps we forget that we have a great and amazing God - a God worthy of sacrifice. But God did not design this as bloodthirsty slaughter; it is an intricate, ceremonial ritual. Respect for the animals being sacrificed is demanded. God says that anyone who slaughters an ox, lamb or goat and does not bring it to be presented to the Lord as a sacrifice"he shall be held guilty of bloodshed; he has shed blood, and he shall be cut off from the people". As I said, the animal must be respected as a sacrifice to God, or there are harsh penalties. Also, I am not sure I am interpreting this right, but I wonder if this passage means that all animals killed for meat, must also be made a sacrifice to the Lord? This would mean that all killing is in need of sanctification, and would fit in with the fact humans were to be vegetarian before the fall.

The second half of this chapter is also interesting. God proclaims that the blood of a creature is its life, and therefore the Israelites are never to eat blood or "I will set my face against that person". All blood is to be poured out on the ground and covered with dust. In so doing, the Israelites were to respect the life within the blood.

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Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+