be afraid – be very afraid

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 on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about 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 human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.
 6 “Whoever sheds human blood,
   by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God
   has God made mankind.
 7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”

***

God reiterates the command of chapter 8 v17 – be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.

A change now takes in the relationship between humans and animals.  Now animals will be afraid of humans.  Their instinct will be to run from us, to be in ‘fear and dread’ of us.  After being ‘saved’ together in the ark, humans and animals are now separated.  God gives power over the animals into the hand of mankind – and the permission to eat every moving creature (no distinction here of unclean and clean).  
The provision is that they will not eat the blood.  Blood is the symbol of life.  The importance of not eating blood will carry through the laws of the Old Testament (and provoke debate in the New Testament).
Is this implying that God’s “good” world was supposedly vegetarian?  Didn’t Abel keep flocks?
A new moral law is announced – a life for a life.  No more mark of Cain or boasting of Lamech.  For each human whose life is taken by another human – or by an animal – the life of the perpetrator will be required as a reckoning.  Consequences are spelled out in a new way.
The reason given for this harks back again to creation – humans are made in God’s image (cf Gen 1:27, 5:1-2).  Again this emphasises that it is God who creates and that despite the evil of our hearts, we are still made in the image of God and have been given special responsibility.We are still to be fruitful and to increase.  Those prerogatives of Genesis 1 still stand.
The muddiness of evil could not wipe that fact away, nor could the raging waters of the deep.
But creation has become fearful of its appointed masters.

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