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 animal matter
· Omnivore: diet is a mixture of plant and animal matter
· 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 sense.
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 definition is:
“[…] 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, 24:41-43).
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 vegetarians.
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 the Passover, 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:
“Veganism is an acknowledgement of the responsibility of the individual – the recognition of our personal obligation to minimize the harm we cause by our existence, and to develop in ourselves the qualities necessary to become citizens of a better future; where no one is oppressed, where no one is treated as a means to an end.” [In other words, they argue that man/humanity is the solution to the problems we face, not God. This is the religion of humanism.]
“Our indifference toward the suffering of other creatures is an accepted societal norm that calls out for us to realize that basic human values apply to other animals as well as to our fellow humans: justice, empathy, and respect.” [In other words, they argue that humans are just animals—the humanistic evolutionary view.]
“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 simplest form.
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 obeyed.
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.
A. Created Diet
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 dominion). 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 nourishment.
B. 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 omnivorous diet.
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 all.
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 extinct.
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:
"Every 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 prophets.”
There are a number of problems with this response. Let’s carefully analyze them here.
1. A Violent Fallacy
The CVA state,
“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.
Violent as defined 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 or more specifically Christophanies. 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 die) too.
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 with Christ.
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 unlike animals.
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 matter here.
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 mosquitoes.
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 man’s sin).
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
CVA also states,
“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, Romans 8:20-22). 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 get meat.
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 (NKJV) says,
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 as friends. 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
CVA also stated,
“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 God.
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.
C. 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. For 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 that fruits, 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 diet) is one of the most well-known in the world—still practiced by many Jews, and even mimicked by many Muslims (Halal diet) 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?
The CVA writes,
“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).
D. 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 NAS)
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 cleanliness. 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 operandi 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.
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, NAS).
So forbidding people to eat certain foods, is actually a doctrine of demons and deceitful spirits.
E. 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 (Revelation 22:2).
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 Christians can 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 humanism/naturalism/paganism).
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 good. 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 spite 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 included!
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 here:
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 conscience’ sake.
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 give thanks?
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.
Seeking help. If 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?
The HappyCow 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 body parts. 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 evaluate it.
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 and compati which mean to sympathize and bear sufferings in the context of others. In other words, compassion is reactive feeling between a person and another person.
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 material. 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, 23-24 NAS)
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 veganism is:
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 forgiving here.
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 their safety. 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.
 Joyful Compassionate Eating, Christian Vegetarian Association, 2000-2018, P. 5.
 Ibid., p. 6.
 Some who eat more than 75% of their diet as fruit consider themselves fruitarians.
 The Vegan News, November Issue, 1947.
 History, The Vegan Society, 1944-2019, accessed February, 2019, https://www.vegansociety.com/about-us/history.
 Per http://fruitarians.net/history, accessed March 5, 2019.
 Per the Fruitarians.net website on history, they say “All animals, plants, and fungi share an ancestor that lived about 1.6 billion years ago. Every lineage that descended from that progenitor retains parts of its original genome, embodying one of evolution’s key principles: If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”, accessed March 5, 2019, http://fruitarians.net/history.
 I put quote marks around the word “killing” because in a biblical sense of nephesh chayyah in Hebrew, which means living soul, plants are not living. They are more like biological machines (i.e., a body) without a soul. Animals have a body and a soul or nephesh chayyah, where man, unlike animals, have a body and a soul which is uniquely made in the image of an eternal spiritual God. Thus, our soul/spirit will go on for eternity; I also put quote marks around “bad”. The reason is that in an atheistic evolutionary worldview, there is no God who sets what is good or bad, which shows this religious view must borrow from God and His Word whether they realize it or not.
 Interview with Donald Watson founder and patron of The Vegan Society taken from a 3 hour taped interview by Vegan Society Trustee and Author of The Vegan Passport George D. Rodger on 15 December 2002. First published in The Vegan Summer 2003 Edition. http://www.foodsforlife.org.uk/people/Donald-Watson-Vegan/Donald-Watson.html.
 Spencer Harrington, Vegetarian Essenes?, Archaeology Magazine, Volume 52, Number 3, May/June, 1999, https://archive.archaeology.org/9905/newsbriefs/vege.html.
 Essene Calendar, accessed March 27, 2019, http://www.bibarch.com/concepts/calendrics/essene_calendar.htm.
 Angel Flinn, The Vegan Evolution, Gentle World (For the Vegan in Everyone) website, Accessed February 19, 2019, http://gentleworld.org/vegan-evolution/.
 Evolution of the Human Diet, Vegan SA Website, Accessed February 19, 2019, http://www.vegansa.com/veganism-diet-and-human-evolution.php.
 Diana Fleischman, Understanding Evolution Made Me Vegan, Sentientist.org, March 8, 2013, https://sentientist.org/2013/03/08/understanding-evolution-made-me-vegan/.
 Evita Ochel, Veganism: A Natural Part of Human Evolution, Evolving Beings Website, February 12, 2018, http://www.evolvingbeings.com/post/veganism-a-natural-part-of-human-evolution.
 If someone wants to argue and oppose man’s dominion mandate, then they are trying to exercise their God-given dominion and this is self-refuting being stuck in a catch-22.
 Bodie Hodge, God is triune, Answers in Genesis, February 20, 2008, https://answersingenesis.org/who-is-god/the-trinity/god-is-triune/.
 He with the highest authority sits at the right hand. This is why the most powerful monarch sits to the right hand of the others. In the same way in the USA, the US Flag sits to the right of other flags when presented on a stage when looking out at an audience (called “Stage Right”).
 Adam’s Covenant (Hosea 6:7)
 Honoring God’s Creation – Replies From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA), Accessed February 27, 2019, https://www.all-creatures.org/replies.htm.
 http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/violent; even the modern Merriam-Webster Dictionary still retains descent definition, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/violent.
 The sacrifice of animals, which are not infinite, cannot untimely satisfy the infinite punishment we deserve form an infinite God.
 Honoring God’s Creation – Replies From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA), Accessed February 27, 2019, https://www.all-creatures.org/replies.htm.
 Honoring God's Creation – Replies From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA), Accessed March 21, 2019, https://christianveg.org/hgc-replies.htm.
 Eating blood, things strangled, and things publically offered to idols and sexually immoral were still forbidden per Acts 15:20, 29; clarified more in 1 Corinthians 10:25-31 regarding meats sacrificed to idols).
 Vegan Diet & Veganism, HappyCow’s Healthy Eating Guide, 1999-2019, Accessed February 19, 2019, https://www.happycow.net/vegtopics/diet/vegan.
 Vegan Diet & Veganism, HappyCow’s Healthy Eating Guide, 1999-2019, Accessed February 19, 2019, https://www.happycow.net/vegtopics/diet/vegan.
 When people yank Christ’s statement about not judging [judge not, lest you be judged per Matthew 7:1] to argue Christians shouldn’t judge, they have taken this passage out of context. They neglect that the contextually you are not to judge with a false or double standard.
 History, The Vegan Society, 1944-2019, accessed February, 2019, https://www.vegansociety.com/about-us/history.
 Makino et al, Are bacteria more like plants or animals? Growth rate and resource dependence of bacterial C : N : P stoichiometry, British Ecological Society’s Functional Ecology, February 23, 2003, https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1046/j.1365-2435.2003.00712.x.
 For example, Leta Shy, The Vitamin Deficiency Breastfeeding Moms Should Watch Out For, PopSugar Website, March 30, 2011, https://www.popsugar.com/family/Vegan-Mom-Baby-Dies-Because-Vitamin-Deficiency-15312588; see also. International Natural Hygiene Society, http://naturalhygienesociety.org/diet-veganbaby.html, Accessed March 19, 2019.
 Barbie Nadeau, Italy May Outlaw Veganism For Kids, The Daily Beast, August 16, 2016, https://www.thedailybeast.com/italy-may-outlaw-veganism-for-kids; Reuters, Under Proposed Law, Parents Who Feed Kids A Vegan Diet May Risk Jail Time In Italy, Huffington Post, August 11, 2016, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/italy-law-vegan-diet_us_57ac4664e4b0db3be07d446b.