Contextual Reading of Every Creeping Thing in Genesis 9:3 as basis for Dietary Choices among Nigerian Christians

Theodore Uchechukwu Dickson


Dietary choices and habits are motivated by a variety of factors. From a religious viewpoint, Christians in Nigeria make reference to some biblical texts to affirm their motivations for dietary choices. One of such texts is Genesis 9:3. Its problem hinges on the concise and compact nature of the command to add animal flesh to human food. The study undertakes an exegesis of Kol-reºmeS in order to unravel its meaning, scope, and practicality. The contextual understanding and application of Kol-reºmeS among Christians from the three major tribes in Nigeria was also examined. The study revealed the relative nature of Kol which lends its final interpretation and applicability to the context, making generalization unacceptable. Against other occurrences of reºmeS (noun or verbal), where it is used alongside ‘sea monsters’, ‘birds’, and other ‘species’ in distinguishing the categories of living creatures, Genesis 9:3 uses only reºmeS in referring to the entire classifications. Contextually, Christians from the three major tribes in Nigerian (Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba) have corresponding meanings of Kol-reºmeS akin to its biblical interpretation. But their understanding of Kol-reºmeS differs relative to their hermeneutical assumptions. While some believe it should be treated as ‘all-encompassing’ guaranteeing the freedom to eat every living thing that moves, others believe it must be understood within the context of what God has rendered ‘clean’ and good for food. Nevertheless, some of those who believe Kol-reºmeS should be treated as ‘all-encompassing’ do not practically eat every moving thing either for health or other reasons, making them unfaithful to their conviction.

Keywords: all, creeping things, every moving thing, dietary choices, food

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