Baked ham or turkey is a traditional favorite on the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables of most American homes. And many of us enjoy an occasional steak or Sunday pot roast. For thousands of years, humanity as a whole has feasted on fish or fowl or various animals. Until the rise of the animal rights movement in recent years, no one has questioned the legitimacy of killing these creatures for food.
Yet, in most cultures, from the dawn of time murder of another human being has been a punishable crime. Why is this? Why do we distinguish between the killing of a bird or animal and the deliberate killing of another human being? The answer is to be found in Genesis 9:1–6. In that passage, God makes a distinction between the animals, birds, and fish on the one hand and human beings on the other. The creatures were given by God as food for mankind. That’s why we kill them without any sense of guilt. This is one of God’s provisions for us.