I’m a Christian vegan. I mean, I am a follower of Yeshua (Jesus) who also believes that animals shouldn’t be harmed except in self-defense, and shouldn’t be used in any way unless absolutely necessary.
Most non-vegan Christians would raise an eyebrow at this. After all, didn’t God give people permission to eat meat after the Great Flood? What about all the animal sacrifices? What about the apostle Peter’s vision about eating unclean animals?
Most of all, aren’t vegans believers in New Age spirituality? Don’t all vegans believe that animals are on the same level as humans as far as importance? And this idea goes against the teaching of both the Old and New Testaments.
I’m not here to argue that all Christians should be vegans, or that it’s a sin to eat meat. I simply want to explain my reasons for coming to the point of choosing a vegan lifestyle.
The main reason I’m a Christian vegan
In Genesis, God clearly ordained a 100% plant-based diet for all animals. Even the animals that we know to be carnivores or omnivores were, in the beginning were herbivores or frugivores.
So in the beginning, no animal – human or otherwise – killed for food.
In the book of Isaiah, the sixth verse of chapter eleven refers to how life will be on Earth once Yeshua returns. “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” [NIV]
So when Earth returns to its state of perfection, animals won’t kill other animals.
After mulling this over a few years ago, I realized that in my heavenly Father’s ideal world, sentient beings wouldn’t kill other sentient beings. Not for food, not for clothing, not for any other reason. (In the ideal world, there’d be no reason for self-defense because we’d all behave ourselves!)
My diet up until that point hadn’t include much in the way of animal products for most of my adult life. The most animal product I ever consumed in a day was a kefir-based smoothie (kefir is a kind of cultured milk) with a couple of egg yolks for breakfast, then three ounces of meat at supper. That phase only lasted for three or four years. Before and after that phase, breakfast, like lunch, was strictly plant-based.
Thus, by the time I’d had the revelation about the ideal human diet being vegan, my breakfasts and lunches were already entirely plant-based, so it wasn’t difficult for me to give up animal products altogether.
Are non-human animals inferior to people?
In the first chapter of Genesis, God commands the first humans to take dominion over the earth and to rule over the fish, birds, and land animals. In the Gospels, Yeshua implied that humans are much more important in our Creator’s sight than other kinds of animals (Luke 12:24).
Therefore, the belief that non-human animals species are inferior to humans is, indeed, Biblical. It’s a truth.
But does that mean that God gave humans permission to do whatever they felt like with other animal species? The passage from Luke cited above reveals that God cares deeply for the non-human animals.
The post-Flood argument
The first argument any Christian vegan is going to run into is the verse where God supposedly gave people permission to eat meat after the Flood. In pretty much every Bible translation that I know of, Genesis 9:3 more than implies that God is giving people permission to eat everything that lives and moves on the Earth.
What if I told you that this verse has been mistranslated from the original Hebrew? According to this article at the website all-creatures.org (which is all about the whys and hows of Christian veganism), the original Hebrew text has God giving Noah and his family permission to use reptiles for food.
Reptiles. That’s a far cry from pulled pork and cheeseburgers!
Moreover, the meaning of the verse is not that people should kill the animals, but to eat their eggs.
The author of the article claims that because the Flood had destroyed Earth, it would be a while before there would be enough regrowth of the plant world to feed Noah’s family, so in the meantime, they could go ahead and eat the eggs of reptiles.
Here are two other articles from the website that address the post-Flood meat-eating issue: https://www.all-creatures.org/cva/th-20160211-bible.htm, and https://www.all-creatures.org/living/doesgodwant.html
But God commanded animal sacrifice!…Or, did He?
Say the author of that All Creatures article is correct about the mistranslation from the original Hebrew text, and that God, in fact, never gave all non-human animals as food for humans. Then, what’s to be done with the animal sacrifices God commanded of Moses?
Because this is another huge argument that Christians have against veganism.
All I can do is give you a counter-argument, and another Scripture reference that seems to contradict the idea that God commanded animal sacrifice.
Before I get into that, I want to drop in the fact that many Jewish scholars, and some New Testament scholars, have strong reason to believe that eating a mostly plant-based diet – or at least, not killing animals for food – was common both among the B.C. Jews and the early Christians.
Many of the early Christians, of course, came out of Judaism. And since many Jews of the day apparently believed it was unethical to kill for food, many of the earliest followers of Yeshua believed the same. Historical documents exist which show that many of Yeshua’s disciples consumed a plant-based diet by choice.
Now, onto the counter-argument I mentioned a moment ago. It comes from a website run by Jewish vegans, who believe that God did not command animal sacrifice, but rather allowed it. Why? Having lived for hundreds of years within a pagan culture that promoted and practiced regular animal sacrifice, the Israelites were going to have a hard time removing the practice from their worship ceremonies. These vegan Jewish scholars believe that God commanded a limit to the number of animals to be killed in worship, rather than commanding animal sacrifice per se.
Yes, I know: Yeshua is the Lamb of God, and the animal sacrifice was a foreshadowing of His sacrifice for us. But wouldn’t the sacrifice of lambs on the night where the angel of death “passed over” the Israelite dwellings while killing the firstborn of all the Egyptians be a strong enough sign of the ultimate sacrifice to come, when Yeshua gave up His life on the cross? Why would the death of many hundreds of thousands of other animals over hundreds of years be necessary?
That brings me to a compelling Scripture which most Christians ignore – or are ignorant of – when it comes to the Christian vegan question. I’m talking about Hosea 6:6, “I desired mercy, not sacrifice…”
Then there is this verse, Isaiah 66:3: “But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb is like one who breaks a dog’s neck.”
But Jesus ate fish!
And good for Him and all the others around Him who had no access to B12 supplements! If a person is living in a time or place where the vital vitamin can’t be had except through some animal consumption, I wish them no ill for taking advantage of our ability to outsmart animals.
I only hope it’s done with gratitude, reverence and respect for the life that they’re taking in order that they might survive and be healthy.
Should all Christians, then, become vegan?
If you truly understand the heart of the Father, you know that He is not about “shoulds.” Why did Yeshua come, if not to bring us out from under the Law?
The heart of the Father is to show grace and mercy. Does He not know the past that has formed the person you are now? Does He not know that each person has their own set of heart-issues that must be dealt with, and the best order and ways in which those issues should be addressed?
Of course He does! He knows that every single person is on their own unique journey – because He put them there!
So should all Christians be vegan? I believe that in God’s ideal world, yes. However, God knows we don’t live in an ideal world. He knows that we are all in different places on our journeys.
So if the Father has not dealt with you about becoming a Christian vegan, then, no, you shouldn’t be one. But that doesn’t mean, if the issue intrigues you, you can’t research it and use your own common sense and logic to come to your own conclusions.
And then there’s the fact that I might be completely wrong about the issue. I doubt it, but I haven’t lived for half a century without learning more every year about how little I know.
Now you know why I’m a Christian vegan. While I would urge you to consider the ideas I’ve set forth above, I’m not going to be mad at you for eating meat.
You’re welcome. 😉