What The Bible Has to Say About Veganism
How Christians Can Reconcile
Veganism With Scripture
Before We Dive In, let me just say:
This was definitely not the easiest blog post to construct. For one, diet and faith can be controversial topics to discuss. And two, which is the scariest of all, you NEVER want to run along the lines of taking Scripture out of context! With that being said, and with much carefulness, I felt compelled to compose this guide for the believer that is simply unsure of how to navigate the different opinions associated with veganism.
I tried my best to provide an objective biblical perspective by respecting the context of Scripture and also gleaning from seasoned and well read Deacons in the church.
Oh, and One more thing:
Do as the Bereans, examine whatever you're being taught, carefully, "... as they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so" Acts 17:11.
We are called to eagerly learn from God’s Word, and no matter who the teacher is, to investigate new teaching in comparison with the Bible.
I really hope this post encourages growth in your faith and inspires helpful conversation in your church community.
Now we can get started.
In my several years of vegan dieting, I have noticed an increase in posts I felt were questionable on social media concerning veganism, particularly on "The Gram". And while this diet and lifestyle is on the come-up for its AH-MAZING benefits, there are also some ideologies and propaganda flooding the internet I'd like to bring into question.
We can all agree that the world wide web is super clutch for its convenience. With instant access, we have the ability to gain unlimited knowledge, on any topic, with a simple Google search. And we can't forget the smorgasbord of insanely hilarious memes that forever keep us rolling. But on the flip-side, there are also some views that may be in biblical opposition,
On a personal note, I have even found myself, on numerous occasions, either uncertain by abstract views or completely disheartened by overt "alternative facts". And if not on guard, it can cause the harm of being inconspicuously swept off course with unbiblical beliefs, which in turn, could potentially weaken faith. And that alone, makes it all the more imperative for the Christian to keep a close watch on their life and teaching, so that their worldview is in check with God’s Word (1 Tim. 4:16).
In this short article, I will be addressing how the believer can reconcile their vegan lifestyle with Scripture and have a biblical basis in view of the following trends.
Let’s start with a few popular Beliefs
and how they can be addressed:
“It's Wrong to Kill Animals”
Let's explore what Scripture shows us about this.
Livestock is simply a means to an end - a meal for many and to others, a source that generates income. While it is popular in the vegan community to be adamant about protecting and preserving the lives of animals, we see that Scripture holds a different view. 1 Cor. 15:39 tells us that animals weren't created to share the same value as humans. However, there have been many (and still are) instances where animals have been tortured for their kill, which isn’t right and anyone in their right mind knows that killing an animal does not require torture.
Let us consider instances in Scripture where animals were killed
for proper use:
It sounds a bit weird to say "proper killing", but God himself saw fit to apply this method. In fact, he was the first to slaughter an animal in order to clothe Adam and Eve after they had sinned (Genesis 3:21). In Old Testament Law found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, God institutes the extensive protocol of animal sacrifice. Thankfully, because of Christ, the Perfect and Holy Lamb, we no longer have to sacrifice animals (Hebrews 9:12, 1 Cor. 15:22). In light of that, I'd have the tallest stack of animals. So I am especially thankful this has changed!
Instances in Scripture where animals were killed for use:
Genesis 3:21- God killed an animal for sufficient clothing for man (fig leaves didn’t make the cut).
Leviticus 24:21 - Whoever kills an animal shall make it good, and whoever kills a person shall be put to death.
Matthew 14:13-21 - Jesus fed the multitude (5,000) starting with just 5 loaves of bread and two fish.
Our Heart Posture towards Animals:
We have a sober responsibility to be good and kind stewards of the animals under our care. However, it is so important to keep these creatures in their proper place in our affections. God never intended for man to worship animals by giving them human characteristics or honoring them above other human beings (Animal Souls, Slaughter and the Bible).
In short, "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything" (Genesis 9:3).
“Animals Are Friends, Not Food”
I often see this statement throughout the inter-of-nets. While animals can be our companions (which is a lovely thing), Scripture seems to show that they are not our equals. I absolutely adore our families Old English bulldog, however, I do recognize that he isn't human and because of his limited design and purpose, the affection can only go so far.
Genesis 1:26 speaks on the creation mandate for man to have dominion over all creatures. The focus and priority of believers should be to treat those who are made in the image of God *cough, cough* humans, with love and to stand against oppression: chattel slavery, ungodly injustices, child abandonment, sex-trafficking - this is consistent with the heart of God (Isaiah 1:17). This is not to say that we shouldn’t be kind to animals but there is a hierarchy and an emphasis on the order of creation - humans before animals; that is God's mandate and design.
Humans have a unique position in creation - only mankind uniquely bears the image of the Creator. Neither angels, animals or plants have such a title nor were they designed like man to have an intimate relationship with God the Creator (1 Cor. 15:39).
In addition, Genesis 2:7 alludes to the fact that God spoke all creatures into being, yet with man, He chose to form (with his own hands) man out of the dust from the ground. This is to say that God chose to form man in a very personal way, while also breathing in him life from His own breath. This passage also speaks to the uniqueness of God’s intimacy with man, as opposed to animals (W. Vega).
“Respect Our Planet”
It is a selfless and responsible act to steward our planet well in order to conserve it for our future generations - I am so for this. It is also noble to be respectful to the gift God has given us, a resourceful & plentiful world. Research shows that going vegan benefits the planet in many ways, by protecting the soil, conserving water, saving energy and reducing the carbon footprint. Be encouraged to make such efforts of prudence, the future generations will be thankful.
Can We Save The World?
Let us also consider, after the Fall (with Adam & Eve, you know) we now live in a fallen world, meaning there is a God-ordained decline which makes it impossible to achieve an environmental utopia on this planet, in this lifetime, like the garden of Eden. Meanwhile, we await the new heaven & new earth where all things will be made new (Revelation 21). There is no shame in choosing to reduce your carbon footprint with your vegan lifestyle, but let us keep our expectations reasonable and perspectives eternal.
"My Diet Makes Me Superior"
ISSA NO. I have witnessed cynical remarks in the vegan community towards meat-eaters. Let us remember that our identity and truest affirmation comes from being redeemed by God's undeserved grace and not our diet preferences (Romans 14:3). Also, God surely does not show any partiality, so why should we to the vegan or meat-eater? Let us love and embrace all so that we can mirror a fragment of God's pure love. The love of Christ is what distinguishes us from the world and it is a vital building-block to our mission.
If at times you find it tough to navigate through
skeptical worldview's, consider these tips:
how to Keep a Biblical WorldView
- Discuss worldview topics with your church body.
- Ask your Pastors and seasoned church members for sound biblical advice and/or guidance.
- Reference trusted sources regarding touchy subjects. Here is one that I love: Desiring God.
- Pray for discernment.
- Study the Bible (2 Tim. 2:15).
Let's End This Thing..
It’s important for any Christian to know that they are first Christian before they are vegan and that our lives are governed by the ethics of Scripture and not of this world. This could be a tough pill to swallow for some, but it’s a necessary conversation for the body of Christ to have.
I hope this information serves as a tool of encouragement in your faith (and vegan) journey. Again, this article was designed to provide instruction and encouragement to the believer.
If you are a believer that is vegan or contemplating, consider this information and share with a fellow in the faith!
Stay Healthy, Stay Curious & Keep Your WorldView, Biblical.