Veganism—and the Bible
B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, April 19, 2020
There is a growing movement in the Church where people are convinced
that a purely vegetation-based diet (vegan) is what Christians should be doing.
A Christian vegan and vegetarian tract I read recently asks, “Is eating meat
the right thing to do?”
Naturally, the tract was arguing that it isn’t. The same publication also says,
“If you’re thinking of moving toward a plant-based diet, good for you!”
This naturally implies that those who are not, must not
be good, but bad.
I have friends and family that are involved in this
movement. Out of their desire for my wellbeing, several of them have tried to
convince me to go vegan, even with side promises that I won’t get cancer, heart
problems will disappear, and I will be healthier all around.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t despise these
friends or family, but love and cherish them. I gladly did a vegan-diet for a
day just to let them know I care. But of issue, is veganism to be the biblical
standard for Christians?
Up front, this response is done with humbleness and
sincerity but I am going to be bold and challenging from time to time. But I
want you to know where my heart is before I dive into this subject in detail. I
hope it is received with the same kindness.
A Few Brief Definitions
Carnivore: diet is primarily or exclusively on
Omnivore: diet is a mixture of plant and animal
Vegetarian: diet is primarily plant matter with
certain animal derived matter such as eggs, milk, honey, and so on—but no meat
Vegan: diet is plant/vegetation-only diet, with
no animal derived matter—no meat, no milk, no eggs, no honey, and so on
Fruitarian: diet consists of only fruit matter—fruits,
seeds, nuts, but no meat, milk, eggs, meat, or plant matter that would “harm” the plant
and so on.
Some fruitarians avoid grains, seeds and nuts (potential plants) as well and
eat only fallen fruit
Created diet: plant-based diet including the
Tree of Life and milk for infants
Noahic diet: omnivorous diet utilizing both
plants and meat (clean and unclean)
Kosher: diet consists of satisfying Mosaic Law
utilizing plants and denoted “clean” meats
Halal: diet consists of satisfying Islamic
regulations (which is basically Kosher, being a slight variant of it)
Christian diet: satisfying the expanded Kosher
diet with all foods made clean by Christ in the New Testament
Heavenly diet: plant-based with access to the
Tree of Life again—but we will have new perfected bodies a well
Background to Veganism
The history of veganism is quite new. The modern veganism
movement goes back to a British man named Donald Watson (1910-2005) in the
United Kingdom in 1944 (during World War II). This was to distinguish it from
vegetarianism which still has animal-based products like milk, eggs, or honey,
but not meat for example. Vegan is an effort to be 100% plant-based without
animal-based products. The first vegan newsletter was printed in 1947.
This is not to say there were not people around the world in
history and particular groups that favored vegetable-based diets, but they
weren’t strict vegans in the modern
The definition of vegan/veganism was adjusted, changed,
amended, and refined until 1988 when the definition finally became solidified. Although
in some circles today, this definition is still fluid. This gives you an idea
how recent the movement is. Although I gave a brief definition above, that 1988
“[…] a philosophy and way of living
which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of
exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other
purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free
alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary
terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or
partly from animals.”
Up front, take note that veganism is a philosophy.
Philosophical systems are religious by their very nature.
Christianity is a philosophical system too.
So they will have competing claims. The key is looking at the foundation for
both belief systems. Prior to looking at veganism in more depth, I would like
to address fruitarianism in short form.
A variety of veganism and vegetarianism is the modern fruitarianism
movement (which actually has its origins prior to veganism in the late 1800s).
The fruitarian goes to the effort to avoid harming plants or even destroying potential
plants—even seeds, nuts, and
so on in many cases—so these items are off the menu. In this philosophy, only
the fruit portion of a plant is acceptable to eat. The movement also views
animals and plants
as being co-equals
with mankind in an evolutionary worldview.
Thus, fruitarians view the “killing” of plants, their seeds and sprouts, etc.,
and the killing of animals as both equally “bad”.
It has been oft documented that it is common knowledge that
fruitarians are usually deficient in vital nutrition such as protein, iron,
calcium, essential fatty acids, zinc, vitamin D, and B vitamins. And obviously
so, since they are not eating foods that contain these essential items. This
has led to hosts of diseases such as anemia, lethargy, immunity dysfunction,
pancreatic problems, osteoporosis, as well as lack of energy.
Fruitarianism is not for the primary discussion here but
will be mentioned from time to time in this response. This response focusses on
veganism and its relationship to the church and Scripture.
Veganism comes out of a humanistic evolutionary worldview
The founder of veganism, Donald Watson, was asked about his
religious convictions. It is recorded here:
“Q: How does your veganism relate
to any religious beliefs you may have?
A: I never had very deep ones. I've
never been clever enough to be an atheist - an agnostic, yes. Some theologians
think that Christ was an Essene. If he was, he was a vegan. If he were alive
today, he'd be an itinerant vegan propagandist instead of an itinerant preacher
of those days, spreading the message of compassion. I understand that there are
now more vegans sitting down to Sunday lunch than there are Anglicans attending
Sunday morning service. I think that Anglicans should rejoice at the good news
that somebody at least is practising the essential element in the Christian
religion - compassion.”
The founder of veganism was an agnostic (i.e., one can’t
know if God exists). It is one of the variations/denominations of the religion
of humanism that holds to naturalism (nature is all that there is) and
evolutionism (man is an animal—just rearranged chemicals). Agnosticism is like
a softer form of atheism not being adamant that God doesn’t exist, but in
practice their system of belief operates in an atheistic fashion.
Clearly, Watson wasn’t familiar with the Gospel accounts of
Jesus either. His suggestion that Jesus might have been a vegan neglects that
Christ ate the Passover, which was lamb (e.g., Mark 14:12-14, Luke 22:11), and
fish at the feeding of the 5,000 and after the resurrection (e.g., Luke 9:16-17,
Furthermore, there is confusion over the Essenes’ diet, of
which we know little. The Essenes were one of the Jewish groups living about
2,000 years ago (e.g., Sadducees, Pharisees, Zealots, and Essenes). When their
residence was excavated by archaeologists, they didn’t find animal bones there,
so it was assumed
that they were
But a lack of evidence isn’t evidence for vegetarianism or
veganism. Where I grew up, you won’t find much for animal bones either, since
the dogs ate them all. The point is that it is fallacious to say an absence of
bones allows for a leap to the conclusion that the Essenes were vegan or vegetarian
in any definitive way.
The bones could have been ground up, used for flutes and
sold, knife handles, arrow tips, or other tools for trade. Bones could have
been transported elsewhere. They could have decayed. Animals like dogs could
have feasted on them, and so on. The point is that there is a lot of reason
that bones may not be found at a site.
But one thing we do know
is that the Essene sectarians celebrated the Passover and the date they
celebrated it was different from some of the other Jews.
There were different starting points in the various calendars (lunar calendar
vs solar calendar for example) at that time which caused confusion—Essenes used
the solar version of a calendar, whereas many other Jewish groups used the
lunar-based Jewish/Babylonian calendar.
But the fact that the Essenes celebrated the Feast of the
Passover means they ate
which was clearly prescribed by Moses in Exodus 12 and Numbers 9 as lamb. So
neither the Essenes or Jesus was vegan or vegetarian.
Do other vegans share Donald Watson’s humanistic beliefs?
See for yourself from prominent vegan websites:
“However, by using a study of the
evolution of man for deciding on one's own diet is missing the point somewhat.
Even if we accept that pre-historic man did eat raw meat as a major part of its
diet, it does not justify why we should. That justification ignores the fact
that pre-historic man lived in the wild as a hunter; he didn't cage, enslave or
mistreat the animals that he ate. The animals he ate were the weakest and easiest
caught of their species. Ancient man was part of the natural selection process.”
“We have evolved from pre-historic
man, just as we have evolved from medieval man.”
“I’m vegan because I think that
human and nonhuman animal suffering is important morally, evolutionarily there
is good evidence that all vertebrates suffer and human evolved psychology makes
humans virtually unable to engage in consistent moral behavior towards animals
in their care especially when these
animals are being raised for food.”
“Veganism: A Natural Part of Human
Evolution — First, we struggled to survive. Then, we pushed the boundaries of
excess with no regard for the consequences of our actions, on ourselves, others
and our Earth. Now, we are learning how to thrive, and live with peace,
compassion and consideration, in balance with the Earth.”
This is just a small fraction of what can be openly
researched. Veganism is a religious philosophy that relies on humanity
as the ultimate authority (i.e.,
not God). The religion of veganism sees man as an animal (demoting man and
elevating animals to be co-equals). Hence, the religion of humanism is at
veganism base. When man is viewed as the authority over God, that is
the religion of humanism in its
For the Christian, God is the absolute authority and relying
on the mere opinions of humanity, collectively or individually, would be a
faulty appeal to authority fallacy. Human opinions are just that—opinions—and
therefore arbitrary (consider Isaiah 2:22). With the absoluteness of God, man
is made in God’s image giving man an eternal value and at the same time a
ruling God gave man dominion over animals.
So why do many Christians buy into this secular humanistic philosophy
since it comes from another religion? This is an intriguing question, but
first, we need to see what God, the authority on all matters, says about man’s
diet in Scripture—otherwise we can too easily be deceived.
Lordship of Christ
Anyone who professes to be a Christian, acknowledges that
Jesus Christ is Lord. If you do not, then be honest with yourself and stop
calling yourself a Christian. Since Christ is Lord, His commands should be
Christ is, according to Christ’s Word (the Bible), the
Creator God Himself
(John 1, Hebrews 1,
Colossians 1). He is the second person of the one Triune God—one God, three
persons of the Godhead (the Father, the Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit).
Jesus Christ has all authority and dominion on heaven and
earth (e.g., Matthew 28:18, 1 Peter 4;11) and is sitting at the right hand
of God the Father on the throne of God (e.g., Mark 16:19, Colossians 3:1,
Hebrews 1:3, 8:1, 12:2, Revelation 5:7). Jesus knows all things (Colossians
2:2-3). The existence of all things consists and are upheld by His power
(Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:3).
Knowing this is very important. Jesus knows all things
(omniscience), has all power (omnipotent), and is perfectly good and the standard
of what is good and right,
compassionate, moral, etc. In other words, Jesus is the perfect standard in all
matters and His Word, which He promised to preserve (Psalm 12:6-7), is the
perfect standard and our judge of all things. Any truth claims must be judged
by God and His Word.
Jesus, in His earthly life when He became a man, set a
perfect example for us
(1 John 2:5-6) that
should not be neglected. Jesus, who created the human body, bodies of animals
and plants, and sustains their very existence, also knows what diet is good for
us and healthy for us—even in a sin-cursed and broken world and at various
points in history. Jesus is the perfect standard of health since He knows all
things and upholds all things—even our digestive system.
Getting a Big Picture of Diet from Scripture
The diet Christ gave to man has changed over the years—often
times when a new covenant was put in place. There is nothing wrong with an
unchanging God in His character (e.g., Malachi 3:6, James 1:17) changing rules
for man based on different times and situations.
God created mankind—Adam and Eve. It was an all-too-easy a
task for an all-powerful God. God created all things in six days and rested on
the seventh as a basis for our workweek (e.g., Exodus 20:11). When God created
the world, it was perfect and very good (e.g., Genesis 1:31, Deuteronomy 32:4).
There was no disease, no death, and thus no possible diet of dead animals.
God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:26-17; repeated
in Genesis 9:6)—male and female He created them. God is a ruling God and He
gave us the world, including the plants and animals to rule over (thus, man has
). Being that we are made in
the image of a logical God, we can logically commune with God (e.g., prayer and
listening to God through His Word).
God instructs Adam that his diet was to be green herbs/fruits/vegetation
(Genesis 1:29) in his created form.
Furthermore, animals were not to be eating meat either. They were also to eat vegetation
(Genesis 1:30) as they were told to eat green plants. Genesis 1:29-30 says:
Then God said, "Behold, I have
given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth,
and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to
every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that
moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for
food"; and it was so. (NAS)
In a perfect world with no death, God designed things to
function with perfect symbiotic relationships—including mankind to his created environment.
The sustenance of those plants could sustain Adam and Eve in a perfect world,
especially with access to the Tree of Life.
So originally, Adam and Eve ate nothing but
vegetation/plant-based foods. Thus, even fruitarianism wouldn’t be correct in a
perfect world. Naturally though, when Adam and Eve would have children, milk
was for babies being a natural design by God to nourish children secondarily.
But as adults in a perfect world, plants were perfectly acceptable for full
Dietary Change After the Flood
After the Flood, about 1650 years after creation (per
Genesis 5), God first permitted man to eat meat in Genesis 9:3—the first
An important event occurred
prior to this that is essential for a proper understanding of what is
going on. Adam and Eve sinned soon after being created, prior to the conception
of their first of many children, Cain (Genesis 3:24-4:1, 5:4). These initial
brothers and sisters began intermarrying with each other.
As a point of note, close blood relatives such as brothers
and sisters and uncles and nieces and aunts and nephews could originally
marry—it wasn’t until the time of Moses that God said that no more close
intermarriage was to occur (Leviticus 18). Prior to the Leviticus,
Abraham/Abram married his half-sister Sarah/Sarai (Genesis 20:5-12) and Moses’s
father Amram had married his aunt Jochebed (Exodus 6:20). So it is a biblical
concept that people shouldn’t marry their close blood relatives now.
As a result of Adam’s sin, God cursed the ground and the animals
and sentenced man to die (Genesis 3). The punishment for sin is death (Romans
5:12). The whole of creation suffers under this curse, including plants and
animals. Plants were subjected to the curse in many ways, but one way was
thorns and thistles and difficulty to grow and maintain for food. It takes a
lot of work for proper cultivation.
Animals can now die and have been since the first sin. The
first death of any animal recorded in Scripture is in Genesis 3:21, as a direct
result of Adam’s sin. There is clearly a relationship between man’s sin and
animal death. Sacrifice was part of the newly cursed world as we read of
sacrifice by Abel (Hebrews 11:4), Noah, Abraham, and many others until the day
of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion—who is the final and perfect sacrifice once for
But with sin, death now reigned. Furthermore, there was a
global Flood, where many plants have gone extinct. Where representatives of
land-dwelling, air-breathing animals survived on the Ark, many plants and sea
life were not given a guarantee of salvation from extinction during the Flood.
Though much sea life would naturally survive, being a water disaster, many
plants could also survive but many are only found in fossil layers, indicative
that they no longer exist, with the rare living fossil finds from time to time.
Since the Flood many land-dwelling air breathing animals have also gone
Mutations, which are a result of the curse, now cause
changes that can be quite detrimental too. Some plants are now allergens to man
or animals—due to our own mutations or plant mutations—people don’t eat Deadly
Nightshade, Poison Ivy, or Water Hemlock for example. Chocolate or hops for
dogs is another example.
This brings us to the covenant with Noah in Genesis 8 and 9.
Genesis 9:3 specifically points out that:
moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave
the green plant. (NAS)
Just as plants are given as food so are living creatures.
They are both given to man for food equally. Making it perfectly ethical to eat
meat at this point in history. God is the defining standard of ethics.
But at the same time, the death of an animal or a person is
a reminder of the repercussions of sin and what the result of sin is. In the
same way that people prior to Christ looked forward to Christ’s ultimate
sacrifice through animal death, we too look back to Christ’s death when we see
death of animals today. Every time you see the death of an animal (or a
person), it should be a reminder of sin going back to the Garden of Eden and
our need, and the rest of the world’s need, for a Savior in Jesus Christ.
The All-Creatures website [citing the Christian Vegetarian
Association(CVA)], which argues for Christians to be vegetarian or vegan, says
of Genesis 9:2-4:
“Virtually all plants were
destroyed by the Flood. Alternatively, God may have allowed Noah limited
freedom to express human violence, since unrestrained violence was responsible
for the Flood itself (Gen. 6:11–13). Importantly, this passage neither commands
meat eating nor indicates that the practice is God’s ideal. Indeed, eating meat
came with a curse—animals would no longer be humanity’s friends: “The fear of
you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast…” (Gen. 9:2). While eating
meat was not prohibited, it represented a complete break from God’s ideal of
animals and humans living peacefully together, as depicted in Eden and by the
There are a number of problems with this response. Let’s
carefully analyze them here.
1. A Violent Fallacy
“God may have allowed Noah limited
freedom to express human violence…”.
First, killing animals for food is not violent. This is an
equivocation fallacy, giving a different definition of violence and trying to
draw conclusions from it. Killing animals to eat or sacrifice is ethical by
God’s standard here and commanded in many cases in Scripture.
by Scripture is a non-authorized, outrageous, or vehement attack as reflected
in Webster’s 1828 dictionary.
Webster’s 1828 dictionary defined words based on their contextual usage in
Scripture—which is why I’m using it in this instance. Even so, killing animals
for food is authorized by God. Torturing
animals prior to sacrifice for instance, would be wicked and violent, and is
repeatedly warned against in Scripture (e.g., Genesis 33:13-15, Leviticus
18:23, Proverbs 12:10, etc.). Noah sacrificing animals, like Abel and others
leading up to this point, was not violent like the actions of violent people
being judged in the Flood.
Prior to the Noah, we see an example where Christ, who is
the Lord, killed animals in Genesis 3:21 to make coats of skins for Adam and
Eve. Christ often appeared in the Old Testament prior to His incarnation; these
are called theophanies
. God is
not being violent but showing the need for justice.
The punishment for sin is death so the solution to Adam and
Eve’s sin is also death (Genesis 2:17). And they died, but they didn’t die
immediately which would have been justifiable for any sin against
perfectly holy God. Instead, they received a
taste of this death given in Genesis 3:21 by seeing animals die in their place
as well as receiving the sentence that they would “surely die” (i.e., begin to
The CVA then argues that God did not sacrifice animals in
Genesis 3:21 but writes,
“However, the Bible does not relate
that God killed any creature to obtain the skins.”
Of course animals died here. If this were not the case, this
would be extreme torture of skinning animals alive and letting them live.
Torturing animals in such an excruciating way is strictly forbidden elsewhere
in the Law. The punishment for sin is death—hence the relationship between
animal death to get the skins to cover human sin. This is why the entire
sacrificial system is set up from Genesis 3 forward due to sin and culminating
Abel mimicked this first sacrifice by sacrificing of his
flocks and offering the fat portions of the sacrifice to God in Genesis 4.
Abel’s sacrifice was respectable and acceptable to God. And Genesis 4 reveals
the difference between animal death and human death when Cain killed his
brother Abel. That was not an acceptable sacrifice but instead it was murder
, which is violent and wicked.
Man, unlike animals, are made in the image of God and have eternal spirits
After the Flood, God reminds Noah and His family that they
are made in the image of God and murder is wrong (Genesis 9:5-6). This is
immediately after Noah offers sacrifices of the clean animals on an altar.
Furthermore, just because some people were violent prior to
the Flood is no cause for God to say it is okay for some righteous people to be
violent now—even in limited ways. God doesn’t work like sinners do. Death is
the result and judgment of the hand of man sinning. It affects the entire
dominion of man (which was given by God at creation). The CVA then set up a
straw man fallacy saying about Genesis 3:21 that,
“If God had animals die for this
purpose, it would not follow that humans have unlimited license to kill and
otherwise harm God’s creatures.”
Of course there is no unlimited license to kill—this is a
straw man fallacy. Man is also not openly licensed to otherwise harm animals,
but at this point in human history after the Flood animals are required for
sacrifice and food and their lives can be taken for that non-violent purpose.
Killing animals for no logical or biblical reason but to kill or torture
animals such as a cow is not an acceptable behavior. Bearing in mind another
Although I agree that these animals are
God’s creatures and God gave them in our hand for both dominion
and for food. God also cursed them in Genesis 3. This is why animals are not
innocent and they too die having a hand in the first sin in Genesis 3 (i.e.,
the serpent was the Satanic vessel). So animals are cursed by God and it is an
errant view to presume they are innocent. Animals can be very vicious even ones
you don’t expect. Rabbits have been known to attack snakes, I’ve personally
seen chickens attacks cats and dogs, and need I mention bed bugs or
2. Double Standard Fallacy
Next, the CVA write about Genesis 9:2-4 saying,
“Importantly, this passage neither
commands meat eating nor indicates that the practice is God’s ideal.”
This is false. Genesis 9:2-4 is
a command. If it is not a command, then neither are we commanded
to eat plants, as God directly states in Genesis 9:3, “I give all to you, as I
gave the green plant.” Meat and plants are in the exact same category.
This error in reasoning in theological circles is called eisegesis
, when a passage is clearly
stated and it is interpreted to be the opposite. In logic, this is a double
standard fallacy, holding this passage to say yes to plants, but “not really” to
meat when the context is clearly identical. Proper exegesis
, i.e., correct interpretation of Scripture, reveals plants
and animals are both equally food for man.
After the Flood, godly men like Abraham followed God’s
instruction and ate meat and even prepared some for the Lord when He visited in
manifest form (a theophany). The Lord Jesus ate the meat with him (Genesis
18:3-8). When God Himself accepted the food and ate, it proves the meaning in
Genesis 9:3 was indicative of both plants and meat.
The CVA response went on to state that the practice of meat
eating was not God’s ideal. True perhaps, but irrelevant. God’s ideal was to
have access to the Tree of Life which will not have in a sinful state. (God’s
ideal was also for man to be in a world without sin. But those days ended with
The Tree of Life was removed from our diet with Adam and
Eve’s sin. They were kicked out of the Garden of Eden and Cherubim (specific
types of heavenly host/angels) guarded the way with “lightsabers” (if you will)
per Genesis 3:22-24. Our access to the Tree of Life will not be gained again
until the New Heavens and New Earth (Revelation 22) with new bodies.
3. Misunderstanding Fallacy
“Indeed, eating meat came with a
curse—animals would no longer be humanity’s friends:”
First, this is not a curse
and was never stated as such. Animals are already cursed (e.g., Genesis 3:14,
It was God that put the
fear of and dread of man on the animals. And rightly so. It shouldn’t be easy for
man to get food otherwise it would violate God’s efforts in Genesis 3 where it
was to be difficult for man to get food as a result of our sin of taking food
we weren’t supposed to have—a fruit no less! It was to be difficult for man to
harvest plants as food, and likewise, it will now also be difficult for man to
Second, animals are not “friends”. This is a personification
fallacy. Many pet owners are under this impression, but animals are
animals—companions perhaps, but not friends. I sometimes call it the cartoon
fallacy because we have been so enamored in our culture with make-believe
talking and friendly animals on videos, movies, TV shows, and especially
cartoons, that we have a warped idea of what many animals are really like.
Animals can be tamed and that is no big deal. James 3:7
For every kind of beast and bird,
of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
Even with this fear and dread, we can, by a little effort, overcome
it for domestication. But even so, do not mistake an animal’s trained responses
. Animals that are “loving”
pets, etc., like dogs or snakes or cats are not friends and if they begin to
starve, you are not off the menu.
Animals can often “turn on a dime”. This is testified by the
many attacks from pets to people—including children and babies—every year from
parrots, to dog maulings, to cat attacks, or snake attacks, and so on—hence,
why it is necessary for a billion dollar pet insurance business in the United
States each year.
4. Contrary To The Fact Conditional Error Fallacy
“While eating meat was not
prohibited, it represented a complete break from God’s ideal of animals and
humans living peacefully together, as depicted in Eden and by the prophets.”
God’s ideal was also to eat from the Tree of Life—which we
no longer have access to and will not have access to it until we are in heaven
(Revelation 22). So that is irrelevant. In a sin-cursed world we are not living
peaceably together and that will not occur until heaven and the restoration
either (e.g., prophets depictions such as Isaiah 65:17). Since we are not in
heaven, then why try to live as though we were? Why not live in accordance with
what God says is the case now? If a Christian is knowingly living in defiance
of what God says, they are in rebellion and committing high treason against
To reveal the fallacy the CVA is making consider that Christians
also no longer need to preach the gospel in heaven since everyone there already
knows and believes it. If we are to live on earth as if we live in heaven, then
why preach the gospel? See the fallacy in this? This is a contrary to the fact
conditional error fallacy where one is drawing conclusions on a matter that is
currently not the case.
Covenant Of The Law
After the covenant with Noah, we see dietary changes with
the Law of Moses. The covenant with Moses is the fulfillment of covenantal promises
made through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The diet given to those under the Law
(Israelites) was more specific. It separated the Israelites from other tribes
and nations in foreshadowing and leading to Christ coming in the first advent.
Unlike Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and those going back to Genesis 9:3,
Israelites were allowed to eat only clean
meats. The unclean meats were no longer allowed. In the same way that the
Israelites were called out to be “clean” people—“God’s chosen”, so their diet
was to be clean.
The specifics of what is clean and what isn’t are defined in
Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.
example, clean meats included mutton, beef, venison, grasshoppers, and fish
with scales, but did not include pork, rabbit, catfish, or lobster. The Mosaic
diet excluded eating blood, or animals defiled by sexual relations with people,
and so on.
In fact, the first five books (particularly beginning at the
Exodus) of the Bible define clean diets in very specific ways. Milk from
animals and honey were indeed clean foods and even used as a sign of blessing
from God throughout the Old Testament (e.g., Exodus 3:8, Numbers 14:8,
Deuteronomy 27:3, etc.). Eggs were included as part of a blessed, clean, and
acceptable diet (e.g., Luke 11:12).
Honey is a vegetarian food by the way, consisting of crushed
pollen (from plants), liquefied by enzymes that bees add to it, and kept at the
correct temperature by the bees until it converts into honey. Interestingly, vegans
generally refuse to eat it because it was the
work of the bees
that allows honey to be made. But the same thing could be
said for virtually all fruits that are pollinated by bees or other insects—it
was due to their work
nuts, seeds and other things come to fruition. Thus to be okay with eating
those is a double standard.
If the argument is that humans eating honey takes away from
the bees source food (which proper bee keepers harvest the surplus in the supers
), the same could be said of every
fruit and vegetable since animals eat those too! Nevertheless, honey is a
blessing food from God.
The Mosaic diet (Kosher
) is one of the most well-known in the world—still practiced by many Jews,
and even mimicked by many Muslims (Halal
) around the world. The Christian diet will be discussed in a moment
when we arrive at the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. I sometimes call it the Christian diet
or an Expanded Kosher Diet
Christians still eat clean meats for example, but God has
made all foods
clean. So Christians
still partake of a clean diet, but the listing of what is clean has been
expanded. In other words, meats that were unclean or common are now made clean.
But as mentioned, this will be discussed in subsequent sections. All three of
these diets are omnivorous.
Returning to the Old Testament, the Law instructs the
slaughter and eating of meat. For example, in Deuteronomy it says,
"However, you may slaughter
and eat meat within any of your gates, whatever you desire, according to the
blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you; the unclean and the clean
may eat of it, as of the gazelle and the deer. Only you shall not eat the
blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water.
You are not allowed to eat within
your gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or oil, or the firstborn of your
herd or flock, or any of your votive offerings which you vow, or your freewill
offerings, or the contribution of your hand. But you shall eat them before the
LORD your God in the place which the LORD your God will choose, you and your
son and daughter, and your male and female servants, and the Levite who is
within your gates; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God in all your
undertakings. Be careful that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live
in your land.
When the LORD your God extends your
border as He has promised you, and you say, ‘I will eat meat,’ because you
desire to eat meat, then you may eat meat, whatever you desire. If the place
which the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you
may slaughter of your herd and flock which the LORD has given you, as I have
commanded you; and you may eat within your gates whatever you desire. Just as a
gazelle or a deer is eaten, so you will eat it; the unclean and the clean alike
may eat of it. Only be sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life,
and you shall not eat the life with the flesh. You shall not eat it; you shall
pour it out on the ground like water. You shall not eat it, so that it may be
well with you and your sons after you, for you will be doing what is right in
the sight of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 12:15-25, NAS)
The key here was not to eat the blood, but it let it pour
out like water. This is why the blood of animals are typically allowed to bleed
and then hung up for a time, immediately after a quick, clean kill.
Is The Curious Case Of Daniel A Good Argument For Veganism?
In the Old Testament book of Daniel 1:8-16 (NAS) we read:
But Daniel made up his mind that he
would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he
drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he
might not defile himself. Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the
sight of the commander of the officials,
and the commander of the officials said to Daniel, "I am afraid of
my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink; for why should he
see your faces looking more haggard than the youths who are your own age? Then
you would make me forfeit my head to the king."
But Daniel said to the overseer
whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael
and Azariah, "Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given
some vegetables to eat and water to drink. "Then let our appearance be
observed in your presence, and the appearance of the youths who are eating the
king’s choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you
see." So he listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days.
And at the end of ten days their
appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been
eating the king’s choice food. So the overseer continued to withhold their
choice food and the wine they were to drink, and kept giving them vegetables.
Is Daniel support for a vegan or vegetarian diet?
(1) Bear in mind the context that Babylonians didn’t follow
the Mosaic Law and often ate unclean meats (swine at the time, blood and fat, previously
dead animals from disease, animals that people had had sex with, possibly even
sacrificed humans/children, etc.). By eating these things (Babylon’s choice
foods/delicacies), Daniel and his friends would be in violation of God’s Law.
By eating unclean foods, they would be openly violating God’s rules and be
defiled. So they opted to request that they not eat these meats.
(2) Bear in mind that most meat and wines were also
sacrificed and publicly dedicated to false gods like Bel/Baal/Belus or other
Babylonian gods (e.g., Tammuz)—particularly for the King’s table and his staff.
So it would be a violation of the Law for them to eat it under Mosaic
regulations. The only foods that were permissible in Babylon to eat under
Mosaic Law that they had access to were the vegetables that weren’t sacrificed
to false gods and clean.
World renown expositor Dr. John Gill states:
“by eating of it; partly because it
might consist of what was forbidden by the law of Moses, as the flesh of
unclean creatures, particularly swine, and fat and blood, and so defile himself
in a ceremonial sense; and partly because, though it might be food in itself
lawful to be eaten, yet part of it being first offered to their idol "Bel",
as was usual, and the whole blessed in his name, it would have been against his
conscience, and a defiling of that, to eat of things offered to, or blessed in
the name of, an idol”
So it wasn’t that Daniel and his friends were opposed to
eating meat, they were opposed to defiling themselves with unclean meat and
unclean wine, which was the only meat and wine available to them. If I were in
their shoes, I too would have asked to refrain and eat only clean foods that
would keep me from being defiled too. What we can learn from Daniel is that we
should follow God’s Word even if sinful people in our culture are trying to get
us to defy it.
Did God command sacrifice or was it borrowed from pagans?
“It is possible that, since all
ancient cultures sacrificed animals to their gods, the ancient Hebrews could
not imagine approaching God without first performing sacrifices themselves.
Interestingly, the Bible does not describe God demanding sacrifice–it only
explains how sacrifice should be carried out if performed.”
Sacrifice was first performed by the Lord in Genesis 3:21 as
a covering for the very first sin through Adam and Eve. This relationship
between sin and death (animals sacrifice) has existed since
sin and was instituted by God. The punishment for sin is
death. This is why everything that is alive on earth dies.
Abel did it and God respected it (Genesis 4:4, Hebrews 11:4),
Noah did it (Genesis 8:20), and it was a regular sacrifice even after the
events at the Tower of Babel. Even Abraham did it.
As people went to different parts of the world they took
sacrifice with them. Many of these culture lost the true nature of sacrifice
and began serving sacrifice to false gods
and doing it wrong and making a mockery of what sacrifice was all about (1
Corinthians 10:20). Pagans borrowed
sacrifice from God and messed it up.
Sacrifice points to Jesus Christ and His ultimate sacrifice.
God set sacrifice right when He revealed the proper procedure to Moses by the
power of the Holy Spirit in the Law/Torah/Pentateuch. For it would not have
been necessary for Christ to be sacrificed if sacrifice was not required for
sin by God. Without sacrifice we undermine the Gospel of Jesus Christ and
Christianity is pointless.
Contrary to the CVA’s profession here, there were indeed
times in Scripture where God commanded sacrifice. As examples without being
exhaustive, please see:
You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you
shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep
and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will
come to you and bless you (Exodus 20:24, NAS).
You shall not offer the blood of
My sacrifice with leavened bread; nor is the fat of My feast to remain
overnight until morning (Exodus 23:18, NAS).
And it came about after the LORD
had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite,
"My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you
have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has. "Now therefore,
take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and
offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you.
For I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly,
because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has."
"So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite
went and did as the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job. (Job 42:7-9, NAS).
New Covenant in Christ
In the New Testament, we find the eternal covenant with
Christ finally fulfilled. Old Testament prophets looked forward to this covenant
(Jeremiah 31:31, 32:40, Ezekiel 16:60, etc.), Christ, the Messiah, or Anointed
One, became a man. Jesus, the Christ, is the mighty God or Immanuel (which
means “God with us”) who in His power became a man so that He could die the
punishment we, as mankind, deserve for sin. Christ had no sin but became
sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).
When Jesus died and resurrected—showing He has power over
life and death (John 10:17), it satisfied God’s wrath on sin (e.g., Isaiah
53:4-10, Romans 5:6-11) and this event makes salvation possible through
Christ’s shed blood. Immediately prior to Jesus going to the cross, He said:
For this is My blood of the
covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:28
With this new covenant, things changed. For example, people
no longer have to give a regular sacrifice at the Temple because the final and
ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ was offered once for all (Romans 6:10).
Furthermore, the Gospel (good news of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection)
is now being taken to the gentile (non- Jewish) nations—it is no longer just
for the descendants of Jacob. Salvation was presented to the Jewish nations
first, but now to everyone.
With this new covenant, there were dietary changes as well.
In the same way that unclean gentiles were now made clean to the Gospel, so
unclean foods were now made clean and offered as sustenance. Jesus, who is God,
declared all foods clean (Mark 7:14-19). This is all-too-easy a task for an
all-powerful God. Peter was commanded to stop calling foods that are now clean “unclean/common”
(e.g., Acts 10:9-16).
He was commanded
to eat and was called out for his disobedience several times.
In the context of Mark 7, the Pharisees challenged Jesus to
follow the Talmudic traditions (oral traditions that were later recorded about
AD 200-500) about cleanliness. Jesus used this as a springboard to show His
power. Not only does the Creator God Himself know all things and know perfectly
well that their hands were clean enough without bowing to the errant traditions
of the fathers, but Jesus then bounced from this false tradition about
cleanness to a greater show of His power over
. He declared all food clean. Jesus had to further explain this
to His disciples when they left the Pharisees (Mark 7:5-23).
So Christians still eat a kosher-type of diet, but this type
of kosher (clean meat diets) are now expanded to include all foods because all
foods are now clean—not just the limitations from Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy
14. Thus pork, rabbit, catfish, lobster, and so on are all on the menu
alongside lamb, beef, and scaled fish.
Hence, why Christians can eat bacon, ham, and pepperoni pizza! This “Expanded Kosher Diet”
is the modus
for most restaurants in Europe, North and South America, Australia,
and around the world unless limited by Jewish Kosher, Halal, or other types of
Forbidding diets, which include imposed vegan diets, are
warned against strongly in Scripture. For example, God the Holy Spirit reveals
to us through Paul:
But the Spirit explicitly says that
in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to
deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars
seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage
and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully
shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by
God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude;
for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer (1 Timothy 4:1-5,
So forbidding people to eat certain foods, is actually a
doctrine of demons and deceitful spirits.
New Heavens and New Earth—No More Curse
In the New Heavens and New Earth, diet will once again
change. Since there will be no death in heaven (Revelation 21:4) but a
reflection of what a very good life was like originally (e.g., Genesis 1:31),
then logically animals will not be eaten in heaven. Resurrected man, with our
new bodies, will once again be vegetarian and will have full access to a full
array of plants for sustenance as well as the Tree of Life for healing
However, it is unreasonable to think that that
is the diet we are to be utilizing
now. We still have no access to the Tree of Life (good thing, otherwise we
would live forever in a sin-cursed world!). It would also be fallacious to
apply this future diet change that is designed for our perfect resurrected
bodies and apply it to our sin-cursed bodies in the here and now—especially
when God instructs us otherwise. In Eden and remodeled in Heaven plants will be
our food. Would someone really advocate the eating of poison ivy, hemlock, or
heroin right now? It would be illogical.
Discussion remarks about diet in the Bible
Can Christians be deceived?
So to reiterate, why do many Christians buy into this
secular humanistic philosophy since it comes from another religion? I know of
Christians who do yoga. Yoga comes for the religion of Hinduism. I know
Christians who lie to their kids about Santa Claus, a mythical person living at
the North Pole (really, Santa Claus is a paganized version of St. Nicholas, the
bishop of Myra from about AD 300). Sadly, I know of Christians who think
darker-skinned people are the result of the curse of Ham (this false doctrine is
actually borrowed from Mormon doctrine). The point is that Christians can be
influenced to by non-Christians.
The Bible warns the church not to be deceived (e.g., Luke
21:8, 1 Corinthians 15:33, Galatians 6:7, James 1:6). This means that
be deceived. In some
cases, many Christians can be either deceived or ignorant of the fact that
veganism comes from an outworking of another religion (secular evolutionary
So should Christians call themselves vegans and say they follow the religion of veganism? Because veganism is another religion in opposition to biblical Christianity, I would caution Christians from associating themselves with this religion. I would prefer if Christians who prefer plant-based diets to say they are "plant-based eaters" rather than say vegans. Being a "vegan" has connotations of being a follower of a secular, humanistic, evolutionary, religion, in the same way that saying one is "halal", is indicative of following the Islamic religion and saying you follow a Muslim diet.
The Bible also says to test everything and hold on to the
We should be comparing these vegan beliefs to God’s Word, the absolute standard, and reject them if they are
false. When veganism is tested against Scripture, it doesn’t hold up.
Biblical People Ate Meat
Paul, Peter, John, James, Moses, Abraham, Noah, and many
others were not vegan and were openly shown to oppose it by what they ate. Noah
began eating meat at the age of 601 years old. He is the third longest lived
person in Scripture. He was perfectly healthy. Shem lived 600 years old eating
meat for 500 years.
New Testament persons ate meat extensively. Even Jesus, our
perfect example, ate meat (fish and lamb were recorded in Scripture). As
Christians who want to be obedient to God’s commands, we need to follow what
God says about diet. God knows what is best for us.
God does warn about those who over gorge themselves on meat
though—meat gluttony (Proverbs 23:20). Like all forms of gluttony, it is wrong.
Moderation is the key.
Weak And Strong Faith—And Being Aware Of False Doctrine
God also reveals that some people struggle with a Christian
diet and that it is a faith issue. Paul points out that those with weak faith
eat only vegetables. He writes in Romans 14:1-3 (NAS):
Now accept the one who is weak in
faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One man has
faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. Let
not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who
does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him.
This is echoed later when Paul writes:
But he who doubts is condemned if
he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith
is sin. Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without
strength and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for
his good, to his edification. (Romans 14:23-15:2, NAS).
The lack of faith causes a brother to be condemned if they
eat unbeknownst that that food is now clean. As Romans 14:14 indicates (…but to
him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean), those with weak
faith sin against themselves since they think they are sinning when they eat.
This is where it is important to train and educate these brothers and sisters
in the Lord about the truth. So that they can eat without sinning. That is the
compassionate thing to do. Do not eat to
the one with a weak faith, but go to their level if necessary to help
train them and bring them up.
My hope is that those with weak faith can overcome their
lack of faith issues and grow to a point where their faith allows them to eat
all foods (as indicative of Romans 15:2). Unlike the situation with Daniel, all
foods are now clean so limiting oneself to vegetables in this instance is
irrelevant and neglectful to Jesus’ power to make all foods clean for the era
of history to which we now live.
But there are warnings here (from Romans 14-15). For those
with stronger faith, don’t despise or hold in contempt those with weaker faith.
In the same way that I love my vegan friends and family, I hold no contempt for
them. But I earnestly want to see them grow in faith and knowledge of the Word
of God. Our hope is to help those with weak faith grow to where their faith is
strong enough to eat all foods.
In the same respect, there is a warning that those with weak
faith should not judge those who do eat all foods. In fact, there is a good
reason not to judge those who eat all foods. When they judge, they are
essentially agreeing with a serious false doctrine. What doctrine is that? Allow
me to reiterate what was written to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:1-5 (NAS):
But the Spirit explicitly says that
in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to
deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars
seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage
and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully
shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by
God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude;
for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.
There are a number of aspects here, but I want to draw
attention to one of them in particular as relevant to our discussion. One point
of the doctrine of demons and deceiving spirits is forbidding people to eat
certain foods. Forcing people to abstain from God’s good gifts of food is a
false doctrine and obviously prone to those with weaker faith (those departing
from true faith or newer to the faith).
Food is to be received with thanksgiving and is sanctified
by God, thus it should not be refused. Now, I’ll fully admit that I’m a picky
eater. There are some foods I love and others I would rather spit into a
rubbish bin/trash can. I recall an event where a lovely couple served us a meal
where everything on the table was food that I did not like at all. When I say everything
, I meant it—side dishes
When I was dished my plate (I wasn’t even allowed to choose
my own portions!), I recall looking at it wondering what I might be able to
pick out and eat. In my head, I was reminded that nothing was to be refused if
it is received with thanksgiving. So I ate.
It was the worst meal of my
life. I hated every taste and every swallow. But I ate it with thanksgiving.
Long story short, be careful of trying to impose a belief
that one should abstain from foods which God created to be received—especially
clean meats that God commands are acceptable now. Consider the Words of God
Eat anything that is sold in the
meat market, without asking questions for conscience’ sake; FOR THE EARTH IS
THE LORD’S, AND ALL IT CONTAINS. If one of the unbelievers invites you, and you
wish to go, eat anything that is set before you, without asking questions for
But if anyone should say to you,
"This is meat sacrificed to idols," do not eat it, for the sake of
the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; I mean not your own
conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience?
If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I
Whether, then, you eat or drink or
whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:25-31, NAS).
As a point of note, there is a caution about living in a
sin-cursed world were we as mankind has been subjected to mutations that can
cause problems. Some of these problems are allergens. I know people with
certain allergies to certain foods – nuts for example.
I know people with allergic problems to poison ivy. Poison ivy,
poison oak and poison sumac do nothing to me. My dad was able to eat poison ivy.
I wasn’t game to try eating it, as I was
happy enough to not have any reactions to it. Thus, I was that neighbor who
everyone asked to cut out and rid their poison ivy growing in their back yards.
If you have mutations that cause problems with certain foods, of course,
abstain. But this is different in subject to what is being
discussed—theological and biblical worldviews basis for veganism.
you have fallen into a non-Christian belief system about diet, then be praying
about it and asking the Lord’s guidance and seek help. As you grow in your
faith, these food issues like meat eating should become no problem.
Why Veganism for Christians?
website, a vegan page, says,
“Because there is plenty to eat
without eating flesh meat or taking an animal's milk. Because there is plenty
to use without killing animals for their body parts.”
This is arbitrary and irrelevant.
In fact, this statement can be reversed. One
can easily say, there are plenty of animals to eat without eating all those
plants and taking their
If it is easily reversed, it is arbitrary and illogical.
The same website continues,
“Choosing vegan is conscientiously
choosing compassion over killing, ecological preservation over destruction,
health over disease, and simplicity over complexity.”
Ecological preservation over destruction? If this were the
case, you should oppose all cities, which destroyed entire ecological
niches—Chicago for example was originally a swamp. Is eating meat a disease? No.
Is eating meat complex? No. Can people, Christians in particular, be convinced
by bad argument? Sadly, yes.
Is it compassionate to refrain from meat eating? Let’s
Compassion is a sympathetic concern for the sufferings and
misfortunes of other people. It is a form of empathy or sympathy where you can
relate to that other person’s feelings. It is from the Latin roots in compassio
which mean to sympathize and bear sufferings in the context
of others. In other words, compassion is reactive feeling between a person and
Animals are not people.
The logical error here is a false religious perspective that equate animals
with people. But animals are not people. Neither are plants. When someone
elevates animals to be made in the image of God, they are gone far into
error—biblically, theologically, scientifically, and religiously.
Repeatedly, I hear people say that it is compassionate
to be vegan as opposed to
killing animals. This is irrelevant since animals are not people. Even so, this
is a bifurcation fallacy too. It falsely presumes that compassion cannot in
anyway be associated with killing animals. But this is false, killing animals
can also be compassionate (third option). Further to this, it is arbitrary to
say that killing animals for food is not compassionate.
Let me explain why with a practical example. If people are
starving to death and you kill an animal to feed them and those people live,
was that compassionate? Yes, it was compassionate to spare and have concern for
those whose lives you saved. Remember compassion is between persons. Compassion is
to have concern and care—but the key
is to whom
it is directed.
The Triune God, three persons—one God, is He who embodies
perfect compassion. He was the One who first killed an animal in His perfect compassion
to rescue Adam and Eve. God went so far as to sacrifice His very Life, the
person of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead by going to the cross
to pay the ultimate and final payment for sin. In return, our highest form of
compassion should be directed toward God.
Even the very concept of compassion is a Christian
concept. In an atheistic evolutionary
worldview, for example where everything that exist is material (atheism,
agnosticism, etc. are a materialistic worldviews), then compassion, which is
not material cannot exist. It would be inconsistent to think it does! Compassion
has no mass for instance.
Nor can compassion exist in an Eastern mindset (think
Hinduism, Taoism, New Age, etc.) where everything is spirit and there is no
Eastern beliefs are that all
is one—I am you, you are me, all things are ultimately one. Thus, compassion
and having no compassion are one and the same thing. Therefore, compassion is ultimately
meaningless in these religions.
Compassion in any pagan, mythological, or moralistic
worldview is just arbitrary differing opinions where no two people would
ultimately agree on what compassion really is. Thus, compassion is arbitrary
and meaningless in these religions too.
Compassion is a Christian concept and defined by God
Himself. And compassion is based on whom it is directed. The question is, are
you compassionate to God first? The greatest command is to love God with all
your heart, soul, and mind/strength (Deuteronomy 6:5, Mark 12:30). The second
is to love your neighbor in a similar fashion (Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:31)—but
you are to love and have compassion to God first. How do you love God? By
obeying His commandments. God says:
"If you love Me, you will keep
My commandments…. Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he
will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and
make Our abode with him. "He who does not love Me does not keep My words;
and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:15,
Whoever believes that Jesus is the
Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of
Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and
observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His
commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:1-3 NAS)
Are you compassionate to love God first? Then to your
neighbor? If you obey God, and follow His dietary laws, then you are being
compassionate in your love to the God who saves you. If not, you need to ask
yourself how much you really love God (John 14:23-24)—especially if you are in
open rebellion against Him. These are serious question to the professing
Christian who defies God’s commands and wants to be openly disobedient to God. I
say this humbly—since we have all fallen short somewhere. But I say this make
sure I am leaving some readers with a challenge as well.
Bear in mind another thing. God is also a God of perfect
justice and He judges with righteous judgments. Likewise, Christians are
commanded to judge with a righteous judgment (John 7:24).
Sometimes we neglect that God judges with strict judgment in an effort to cling
to a deviant understanding of compassion. Let’s not forget that death is the
result of God’s righteous judgment for disobedience and the whole world has
been subjected to death and suffering (e.g., Romans 8:22).
Do true vegans exist?
Vegans are those who, by dietary standards, are strictly
plant-eating with nothing derived via animals. The dietary definition of
In dietary terms it denotes the
practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
Fruits and many other vegetable and nuts are largely derived
by animal and insect pollination. So by definition, they should be off limits
and vegans should be looking to fruits and veggies produced via natural means
like wind pollination as the only vegetative products allowed. Yet animal-pollinated
plant products are regularly eaten in vegan diets. Nevertheless, I’ll be
Many vegans take supplements to remain healthy. Why? This is
the unsung secret in a vegan diet. Vegan diets leave many missing nutrients
that are essential to good health that cause serious and life threatening
deficiencies. B-12 is the popular one, but plants also fail to provide adequate
levels of sulfa, creatine (which is vital for ATP—the energy part of the cell
in tissues), heme iron (from hemoglobin), taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic aci),
carnosine (dipeptide molecule), vitamin D3, and the omega-3 fat DHA.
These “Big Eight” are the focus of much discussion about
vegan diets and how to make practicing vegans more healthy. To supplement these
in a vegan diet, they must be extracted from non-plant based sources—bacterial
which are more like animals than plants in their biomass
or animal sources.
Some vegans have refused to take these supplements and have
gotten very sick and even died. Some vegans have enforced strict vegan diets on
their kids and babies (even though breastfeeding) which caused malnutrition and
some cases their kids have died.
In Italy, this has become such a problem, that laws have
been debated to possibly make it illegal to impose a vegan diet on children for
all the hype of a “healthy” vegan diet, a vegan must be very careful to complement
their diet, with non-plant based supplements in an effort to remain healthy—or
risk their lives avoiding supplementation.
Seasoned vegans and fruitarians are usually aware of many of
these problems, but it highlights a big picture issue that is often missed. A
pure veggie diet, can be detrimental to your health and in extreme cases even kill
you. Being a pure vegan can cause your death if not supplemented. Popular
opinion is that a vegan diet is “healthy” by certain people’s opinions, but
clearly not by God’s standard.
So is it
really that healthy?
Bear in mind that if a Christian takes on a temporary vegetarian
diet or vegan diet for a time for a specified purpose (e.g. weight loss,
lowering cholesterol, etc.), I have no problem with that. But if one then buys
into the secular philosophy of it, then it is in opposition biblical teachings.
As a Christian, I have a love and a concern for vegans. I
love their hearts—particularly their love for animals. But I also want to see
them get saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. If particular vegans are already
saved, I want to see them grow in their faith to be able to eat all foods that
God commands that we eat—it may take time—so readers who aren’t vegan, please be
patient and loving in this endeavor if you are working with a vegan.
All foods are clean and meat is
on the menu according to God’s Word (e.g., Expanded Kosher
Diet). That will change in heaven, but for now we are given detailed dietary
instructions in the Bible. Many people may not be familiar with this diet and
it take times to come to grips with it. It took Peter some time! It takes Christian
converts from Judaism and Islam some time. We should expect that it will take
vegans some time too. But it only occurs with being educated on the Bible’s
teachings on the subject.
For those reading this that may have been caught up in
veganism, I want to encourage you to be praying to God about this issue. I also
want to encourage you to search out the Scriptures and see what God says, in
context and be honest with what God’s Word says. You may need help and seek
that if you need it too. It may take steps—going vegetarian first, for example.
But keep your eyes on Christ and finish with a strong faith.
I also want to remind you that veganism comes out of a
non-Christian religious viewpoint—a worldview that teaches that everything came
from nothing, is going to nothing, and nothing matters (the humanistic
naturalistic evolutionary view). This is unlike Christianity—where you do
matter, animals matter, and God
matters. This may be new to you so take your time, but my hope is to see your
faith grow. With humbleness, and blessings in Christ.