"And God blessed Noah and his sons, and
said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the
fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and
upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all
the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered."
Again the Lord repeats the commandment given to the people
in heaven. But now he adds something different. The Lord says: "And the
fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth."
In heaven it was only said: "Have dominion over the fish of the sea,
and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the
earth." Here, because of the changed relations between the man — the
crown of creation, who because of the sin did not fulfill his designation, and
the rest of creatures, which arose against him because of that, instead of the
former friendly superiority the man is given the weapon of fear.
And the Lord adds: "Every moving thing
that liveth shall be meat for you." Here He gives the blessing to eat
meat. This originally was not a part of the plan about the man. According to
the Divine plan not animals but plants were to be food for the man. Animals
were to serve to the man as his subjects and helpers. The sinned man violated
his calling, because of what broke his connection with animal world and
amicable cooperation of animals. Instead of subduing to the man and cooperating
with him the stronger animals started attacking the people, and the minor ones
began hiding from the man, or harm him secretly. The man got imbued with fear
of animals, hostility towards them, started his struggle with animal world.
Instead of the predominating in heaven light
friendly and disinterested relations with animals, after the flood the new
relations, built upon the lower moral state of the people are introduced:
mankind starts seeing food in animals.
One can only guess that the man started to eat
meat much earlier, in the primitive period of his existence. This way, at
least, says the data of pre-historic archeology, testifying that the most
ancient people ate meat. But then it was the own will of people, not knowing
God, and now the Divine permission was given to the people to do that. We know
that further on the Lord miraculously sent to His prophet as food "bread
and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening" (3 Kings
17:6). And the very Son of God ate "a piece of a broiled fish, and of
an honeycomb" (Luke, 24:42). The holy apostolic rule 51 prescribes:
"If someone… escapes eating meat not for exploit of abstention, but on the
reason of disdain, let be changed, or would be excommunicated." The
Church, Which estimates fasting so highly, does not approve of vegetarianism as
The difference between the willful meat-eating of
the primitive man and the allowed by God nourishment of the man by meat, after
the flood will be very notable, if to look attentively at its essence. There
existed the embittered struggle between the man and the beasts: the fear of
predators and merciless unconditional extermination of the herbivorous. Here,
let it be said, in the covetous, but caring look at the animal world, was
opened the possibility of domesticating the animals and caring about them.
All glad, kind relations between the man and
animals: friendship with a dog, attachment to it, the affection of horses, the
care of a shepherd about mules, sheep and goats, the protection of the animal
world, which is so highly developed nowadays, but which existed before — all
this has the roots not mostly in the commandment of God, given to the people in
heaven, but in His new blessing to after-flood mankind.
"And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons
with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with
your seed after you…neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters
of a flood…This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you
and every living creature that is with you…I do set my bow in the cloud, and it
shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth."
Was it that before that moment there was no
rainbow? — would a skeptical critic ask. Without a doubt, there was. The Lord
does not create it anew. This would contradict to the Biblical definition of
the lasting then and till now seventh day, as the day, when the Lord rested
from all his work. But till that time a rainbow was a simple physical
phenomenon, which did not mean anything, as fata morgana, as the northern
light, etc. And since that moment, it gained the meaning of a reminder about
the covenant between God and the people and the whole world. And blessed are
the people, who with a blissful and joyful feeling observe this beautiful
"And Noah began to be an husbandman, and
he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was
uncovered within his tent."
English theologian and priest T.C.Chain, the
professor of the Oxford University, saying about this extract from the Bible,
expresses a serious opinion that obviously in the Bible there are two
narrations about two different Noahs, for the testimony of the Bible that
"Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with
God" and therefore the given here proof that Noah drank wine are incompatible.
We can only smile at that, typically Anglo-Saxon, naïve idea, to which
indecency is the worse crime than a sin. There was no sin there: Noah did not
yet know the intoxicating properties of wine. And the fact, which mostly shocks
the English theologian, that a righteous man could drink "an intoxicating
beverage" is absolutely funny for anyone, even a little acquainted with
the nations of the Mediterranean culture, for which wine, often weak, is not a
luxury, not an excess, but daily necessity. Not by chance the Lord establishes
His Holiest Sacrament under the pretext of bread and wine, as the most natural
for the man products. Not by chance righteous father John of Kronstadt says
that for this holy Sacrament the Lord chose the most accessible for the man substances
— bread and wine.
"And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the
nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and
Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went
backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were
backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness."
The selection of mankind was just performed, just
then it was cleansed from corruption by the waters of the Flood, and only the
best things were preserved in it for the further history. And so, in the first
generation of the saved by God best people, there was born a new, disgusting
type of sin — boorishness: the mockery of a son at the father, the inferior at
the superior, the impudent scorn towards any authority.
Noah, having awakened, and learnt about what had
happened, cursed Ham in his posterity and blessed Shem and Japheth. With this
event is connected the first racial division of mankind.
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