Some foods like lobster and crab are cooked "as-is" without having the blood removed from the animal. Does this violate Acts 15:20 which instructs Christians not to eat blood?
Thank you for your devotion to the scriptures and teaching others.
This is a question I never considered before and never heard discussed. Thank you for the interesting time in study and meditation.
Lobsters and crabs are in a family of animals with external shells that serve as the skeleton of the animal (exoskeleton). Most insects fall into this same category.
In the Old Testament, lobsters and crabs were unclean food because they did not have scales and fins (Leviticus 11:10). But not all life with exoskeletons were off-limits. "Yet these you may eat of every flying insect that creeps on all fours: those which have jointed legs above their feet with which to leap on the earth. These you may eat: the locust after its kind, the destroying locust after its kind, the cricket after its kind, and the grasshopper after its kind" (Leviticus 11:21-22). I'm not an expert in these matters but as far as I know, these insects are cooked whole.
Life with exoskeletons have an open circulatory system. They do not have blood vessels; they don't even have blood cells. Other similar systems function in these life-forms instead. This system is called hemolymph. Since the circulation system is open, as soon as the shell is cracked, the liquid we would consider equivalent to blood runs out. People don't notice because the liquid is clear and most just consider it to be water. Thus when you pull the meat from the lobster's tail, the hemolymph runs out, leaving you just the meat.
This is vastly different from invertebrates with closed circulatory systems. If the meat is cooked without first draining the blood, the blood is trapped inside the meat.
Therefore, I would be inclined to conclude that eating shellfish, such as lobsters and crabs cooked whole, are not a violation of avoiding foods with the blood still in them.
Thank you very much for your detailed response on this. Very interesting! I appreciate the knowledge that I can use in more correctly serving God.