We know that in the time of Moses, abstaining from "eating" the blood of animal sacrifices was required by the Israelites - in order that it may go well with them and their sons after them - Deut, 12:25. If this was so in BCE in regard to animals, who's souls/spirits were not to be "remembered" by God, then surely the uniqueness of the human transcendental soul/spirit, which has been apparent from time immemorial, should be of more importance when it comes to their/our "lifeforce", and yet the "eating" of human blood, in this day and age - cannibalism aside - is readily accepted, only it's not eaten as such, it's transfused!!!

A blood transfusion, even if it's of the same blood type, can still be a medical disaster, possibly leading to the likes of, among other negativities, thrombosis, blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. But surely, there must be more to God's directive, than being at risk of receiving medical abnormalities.

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    This question only arises for JW's. Modern Christians fall into three categories: (1) most Christians who do not care about blood at all thus accept eating blood and transfusing blood (2) some Christians who accept the Acts 15 command to not eat blood but accept transfusions (3) JW's who supposedly accept the Acts 15 command but then somehow take the command not to eat blood and say that eating blood is OK but then insist that transfusing blood is not OK.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 10 at 20:08
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    Blood transfusions are not a Biblical question. Eating meat with blood in it (ie, red meat) IS a Biblical question. [Not my downvote BTW.]
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 10 at 21:32
  • @Dottard - I of course, as you well know, am aware of the JW's stance on blood. But, nowhere in their literature, did I ever find reasoning that concentrated on the blood (lifeforce) being exclusive to one source. On the other hand, Lev, 17:11, does start out by saying:- "For the life of the flesh is in the blood ...", which can either be instrumental or detrimental to one's soul (the creature itself) and therefore speaks to a sense of belonging; to a sense of spiritual being ... in one's self ... alone. Commented Jan 10 at 21:51
  • Related question on blood: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/86433/…
    – Lesley
    Commented Jan 13 at 7:38
  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Biblical Hermeneutics Meta, or in Biblical Hermeneutics Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Jesse
    Commented Jan 13 at 21:42

2 Answers 2


This is an odd question. In answering it, there are several points to consider:

  • The purity laws in the OT (and laws having to do with blood are within this category) are laws. But far more than that, they are a teaching/preaching tool. In a parallel post I answered this question.
  • These ceremonial laws are no longer binding on NT believers. Paul writes:

“«23» Πρὸ τοῦ δὲ ἐλθεῖν τὴν πίστιν ὑπὸ νόμον ἐφρουρούμεθα συνκλειόμενοι εἰς τὴν μέλλουσαν πίστιν ἀποκαλυφθῆναι. «24» ὥστε ὁ νόμος παιδαγωγὸς ἡμῶν γέγονεν εἰς χριστόν, ἵνα ἐκ πίστεως δικαιωθῶμεν· «25» ἐλθούσης δὲ τῆς πίστεως οὐκέτι ὑπὸ παιδαγωγόν ἐσμεν. «26» πάντες γὰρ υἱοὶ θεοῦ ἐστὲ διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ· «27» ὅσοι γὰρ εἰς χριστὸν ἐβαπτίσθητε, χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε.” (Γαλάτας 3·23-27 THGNT-T)

“<23> Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. <24> So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. <25> Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. <26> So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, <27> for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:23–27 NIV11-GKE)

Notice the point that Paul makes. These OT laws, especially the ceremonial laws were our ⲡⲁⲓⲇⲁⲅⲱⲅⲟⲥ (the pædagogue in ancient society) to lead us to Christ. When Christ came, the role of pædagogue falls away. Likewise Paul also writes:

“«16» Μὴ οὖν τίς ὑμᾶς κρινέτω ἐν βρώσει ἢ ἐν πόσει ἢ ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς ἢ νουμηνίας ἢ σαββάτων, «17» ἅ ἐστιν σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων, τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ χριστοῦ.” (Κολασσαεῖς 2·16-17 THGNT-T)

“<16> Therefore, don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day. <17> These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is Christ.” (Colossians 2:16–17 CSB17)

Paul makes the same point with a different picture. You can tell someone is coming around a corner when you see his/her shadow. But when the person actually comes into view, no one stares at the shadow anymore. Paul lists these OT ceremonial laws as being shadow. Jesus, however, is the substance.

  • Finally, it is a stretch to conclude that chewing on a person's flesh is the same as getting a blood transfusion. No Trinitarian Christian groups believe this.
  • When Jesus came and subsequently sacrificed himself for mankind's sins, the "Mosaic Laws" became, to all intents and purposes, obsolete (not so much for the 10 commandments), but that is not the focus of my question. I was trying to focus on the "sanctity of the soul", the "lifeforce" (blood), of which, should surely not only be unique but personable too. Not for sharing in other words, lest you pollute. Commented Jan 10 at 19:37

Eating food that has blood in it, or quaffing blood as a drink, engages the person's digestive system. The nourishing elements in the blood are then absorbed into the person's own blood-stream via the whole digestive system, with the excrement showing a distinctive very dark, almost black colour. Carnivorous animals have black stools. That is what happens when blood is either eaten or drunk.

Receiving a whole blood transfusion engages the person's circulatory system directly, completely bypassing the digestive system. It is designed to keep the person from death if they have lost a large volume of blood (e.g. as in a dreadful traffic accident, or a catastrophic, sudden bleed after giving birth.) It is not designed to nourish the body, but to maintain a level of blood volume in the circulatory system that will stop the person having a heart attack for lack of sufficient volume. It is also designed to alleviate increasing, agonising pain due to cancer. That sort of thing.

Therefore, for the question to be raised, that God's directive against eating blood has to have more to it than "risk of receiving medical abnormalities" is a contradiction in terms, given what the Bible says about life being in the blood. Blood transfusions are all about saving lives. Further, the blood-donor does not lose his or her life in donating a pint or two of their own blood to save the life of another! God's directive about blood has nothing whatsoever to do with blood transfusions.

It is about the sacredness of God-given life, blood being a symbol for that. Thus, blood has to be treated with respect for God's gift of life. It is not to be treated as something mundane, like food or drink. But if it can be used to save lives (and hundreds of millions of lives have been saved due to medical use of blood or blood-products) then God be praised!

Blood transfusions are not a form of eating.

  • Thank you for your answer and I certainly understand the difference between blood engaging the digestive system as opposed to engaging the circulatory system. Nevertheless when blood, all medical advantages or disadvantages aside, the very personal "lifeforce" of all living creatures (animal or human) is consumed/transferred, by whatever means, to another (let's stick with human), when alien to one's own personal "lifeforce", could we not be engaging one's own "soul", as it were, with another's, and if so: How should that sit with us? Is it not this that goes to the heart of the matter? Commented Jan 12 at 20:33
  • @OldeEnglish Bone marrow is constantly supplying new elements to replace old, wasted blood cells in the blood stream. which are excreted. Further, our life force also depends on the breath of life without which we cannot be living souls: Gen.2:7 and at death our invisible, immaterial spirit returns to God who gave it: Eccl.2:7. Finally, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God": 1 Cor.15:50. To take a symbol for life (blood) as being total physical reality when it points to immaterial, spiritual truth, is to miss the point, I would suggest.
    – Anne
    Commented Jan 13 at 9:43
  • I understand what bone marrow does, when it comes to blood cells, but don't see its relevance here. Our, as pertaining to humans (distinct from animals) "life force" does also depend on the breath of life/spirit, without which we cannot be living souls and this "spirit" is the true transcendental (returning to God) part of my Q. Flesh and blood indeed cannot inherit the kingdom of God, but again I don't see that "tidbit" to be relevant to the Q. And, with all due respect, as to your last sentence, I don't think it is me that is missing the point I'm trying to make, albeit clumsily I guess. Commented Jan 13 at 11:35
  • @OldeEnglish If you have already made your mind up as to the right answer to your Q, then you must give the green tick to an answerer closest to that. Obviously, that won't be my answer! But I will not debate or argue as that is not what Comments are for. This site is different to most other sites and Comments should not become a launch-pad for promoting one's own interpretations/beliefs. I have said enough to answer your Q and you have said enough to show how much you disagree with it. Fine.
    – Anne
    Commented Jan 13 at 11:43
  • I'm not opposed to giving the "green tick" and indeed often do. So far, however, neither of these present answers, as competent as they may be, which of course includes your own, come close to what I was hoping for. Commented Jan 13 at 12:34

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