Why does God so specifically forbid the eating of blood (Gen 9:4)? How does this, and other verses in this passage, point up the sacredness of life?

Blood is not just a symbol of life (as in the word, “lifeblood”; see the next question), it carries essential, life-giving oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, and death comes when it stops coursing through the body. It is, of course, a symbolic act to avoid the blood. But why is it so important to avoid it? After all, in order to eat meat, one must kill an animal, ending the actual life of which the blood is merely a component and symbol. To answer, let us consider several other points related to life in the passage: (1) Noah and family are invited to reproduce human life; (2) animals will fear for their lives before Noah, as well they should, since (3) Noah is given authority over the lives of those animals, any of which could be eaten; (4) but life of men could not be taken (and this is put in terms of “man’s blood”), and (5) whoever does so take it, forfeits his own life (and will pay with his own blood). The upshot, clearly, is that life per se is deeply sacred, and if it should be that man may eat meat in this fallen world, he must never forget the sacredness of the life given up for that meat, even if it is merely animal life. Such respect for the sacredness of life is symbolically expressed in this injunction against eating blood.