black_pudding02I received the following question:

I have a food question.  May believers eat black pudding (aka blood sausage)?  Take into account what Genesis 9:4 says “Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”  Since the things concerning Noah are generally considered to be concerning us, and not a part of the Abramic covenant or the Mosaic covenant, it would appear that this applies to us. Are we to not eat blood?  Are we not to eat blood sausage?

Notice that it does not say not to drink blood, but not to eat flesh with its life (soul, nephesh), that is, its blood. Leviticus 17:13-14 puts it this way:

13. “Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; 14. for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.’

Notice again that it is eating the blood of any flesh, not drinking the blood, that is prohibited.

It would seem that the idea here is more related to the notion some pagan tribes have that to eat the flesh of an animal one has caught, or even to eat the flesh of an enemy, as cannibals do, is to ingest some of the life or power of that animal into yourself. Some tribes, for example, will have a young warrior eat the heart of his first kill as a way of ingesting the strength of the animal. This, it would appear, is what God is specifically outlawing here. One is not to eat the bloody flesh of any creature in order to attempt to ingest its lifeforce, as some have been in the practice of doing.

I believe that rules regarding meat were largely set aside for this dispensation. I Timothy 4:1-5 declares,

1. Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2. speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3. forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5. for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

Though this speaks of “foods,” the word “creature” seems to point it specifically to laws regarding meat, which seem to be an issue with many today and down through the ages. This does not specifically say anything about the blood, so one could argue that you could receive all kinds of meats yet still insist that the blood be poured out, yet since not eating meat mixed with blood was one of their common issues with meat, this seems unlikely. Paul seems to be suggesting that we are expected today to receive with thanksgiving all meats regardless of any past laws. This would include the laws regarding blood.

Yet I would still question whether “eating the flesh with the blood” might not be the same thing as “food.” I don’t know if anyone who eats a bloody heart considers it “food” or “meat,” but rather a way of trying to ingest the animal’s strength. If I was going to avoid anything, it would be this, and not blood sausage or black pudding. We receive our life from God, not from any silly ritual regarding eating bloody flesh.