Does the bible mention veganism?
In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Does the bible mention veganism?” and will discuss how veganism is explained in the bible.
Does the bible mention veganism?
Yes, the bible does mention veganism. The Christian community has a wide range of views on vegetarianism and veganism. In addition, individuals might be quite adamant about their views, and they don’t always accept others who disagree with them. That’s a waste of time since the Bible offers support for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian lifestyles. The New Testament also indicates that individuals who follow Jesus are free to eat anything they want as long as it’s according to their beliefs.
Vegetarians and vegans represent a small but non-trivial proportion of people. For example, about 8% of Americans (5% vegetarian and 3% vegan), about 9% of Canadians (6% vegetarian and 3% vegan), and about 9% of people in the UK (7% vegetarian, 2% vegan) follow a diet that is predominantly plant-based (5).
We’ll begin with the account that was created initially. Initially, God told Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that every seed-bearing plant on the face of the planet, as well as every tree bearing fruit containing seed, is yours. They will be fed to you as a means of sustenance. And I have given every green plant as food to every beast of the land, every bird of the sky, and everything that crawls on the ground, everything that has the breath of life. (1:29-30 in the ESV)
Veganism was not an afterthought in God’s original design for man and animals, according to some Christians. So, they’ve determined that vegetarianism is an essential aspect of a cleansed and repentant lifestyle. While vegetarianism was detailed in Genesis, it was abandoned as soon as a new world was created after the Flood. Every living creature on the planet will be food for you, as God instructed Noah in Genesis 9:3. And just as I gave you the plants, I now give you everything else as well. For emphasis, I’ve used the ESV
Up until the time of Noah, meat consumption was neither referred to, nor permitted. It is only after The Flood that Noah and his children were explicitly given permission to eat the flesh of animals. Permission occurred immediately after The Flood, when humanity had sunk to such a low point of immorality that God deemed it necessary to eradicate life and start over. Sages agree the human corruption and violence leading to The Flood included humanity’s appetite for flesh. After the deluge, God promised never again to unleash a flood of such proportions but, to keep that promise, a disappointed Divinity had to lower standards for humankind’s behavior and make some concessions including permission, under strict regulations, to eat flesh rather than harbor a forbidden appetite that would again sow violence and corruption (1).
Foods were later classified as clean or unclean (kosher) under the Levitical code. These animals “separate the hoof and have cloven feet, as well as chew the cud,” were authorized to Israelites. However, they were unable to consume the flesh of any other creatures as a result of it (Leviticus 11).
Testament of the New Covenant
However, in the New Testament, Jesus “called all foods pure” and did away with these regulations (Mark 7:18-19). According to the book of Acts, God also similarly spoke to Peter. The apostle had a vision while standing on the roof of Simon’s home in Joppa. He was advised, “What God has created clean, do not name common” after being shown a sheet with all types of clean and unclean creatures (Acts 10:9-16, ESV). Thus, the New Testament completes the transition away from Old Testament legalism that began in the Apostolic Era.
In the early Church, abstinence from flesh eating was often seen as a dangerous form of deviance from Christian doctrines, closely linked to blasphemous ideas found in gnostic sects and pagan philosophical schools. Strict and long-term vegetarians were among those who “abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Tim. 4:1–3). Ungrateful and prideful, they were portrayed as unfaithful to the goodness of God’s creation. However, following St. Paul’s advice in his Epistle to the Romans, various early Christian writers spoke in favor of abstinence from meat as a form of temperance (sophrosyne) best suited to the life of faith. Therefore, with the exception of monks and nuns as well as holy men and women, long-term vegetarianism seems to have been almost nonexistent in medieval Catholic Europe. Although it must be borne in mind that meat would have been relatively scarce for the medieval peasant and consumed only on feast days and other special occasions, these quasi-vegetarian diets were the result of social circumstance rather than ethical choice. Finally, in modern times, just as in ancient and medieval times, it was dissident groups that embraced vegetarianism (2).
Christian liberty and freedom of conscience is also highlighted. The strong person feels he can eat anything, but the weak person only consumes vegetables, as Paul describes in Romans 14:2-6. Don’t judge the one who eats and don’t judge the one who abstains, for God has welcomed both of them. Eating is done in honor of the Lord because it is done to offer thanks to God while abstaining is done in honor of the Lord because it is done to give gratitude to God (ESV).
Healthy eating and social responsibility
Different beliefs among christians leads to different dietetic practices. For example, the Eastern Christian Orthodox Church, the second largest christian church (mainly located in Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian and Syrian) adopts several practical guidelines, including periodic abstinence from specific foods is viewed as a form of asceticism to strengthen one’s willpower and discipline. The Eastern Christian Orthodox dietary rules provide for a periodic vegetarianism via the avoidance of all animal food, apart from molluscs, crustaceans and fish eggs, which are permitted on many of the fasting days (3).
In addition to following biblical teachings, some Christians advocate eating only plants for health reasons. Veganism and vegetarianism are becoming more popular lifestyle choices due to media stories detailing the cruel treatment of farm animals used in the food business. Because God did grant us sovereignty over the whole globe, this is a legitimate argument (Genesis 1:28).
Because of this, He wants us to be responsible for how we handle His creation as well. An animal-cruelty-free worldview is impossible. A good person takes respect for the life of his beast, according to Proverbs 12:10. (ESV). Unfortunately, so many animal rights organizations fail to see that animals’ lives shouldn’t be prioritized above people’s. One and only man has been created “in the likeness of God” (Genesis 1:27). As a result, depriving hungry people of food in the name of protecting wildlife is immoral and illogical.
Dietary requirements and health care requirements
Vegetarianism appeals to others due to its perceived advantages in terms of health. It has a lot of vitamins, fiber, and phytonutrients, all of which are critical nutrients (nutrients that come only from plant sources). It has fewer calories and fat than other options. The “bad” cholesterol LDL may be reduced, and the “good” cholesterol HDL can be raised, depending on the individual (4).
The disadvantage is that vegans and severe vegetarians may not obtain enough protein, vitamins, and vital amino acids in their diets. (Vegans abstain from eating anything derived from animals, such as eggs or dairy products, in their diet.) The idea is to consume a wide range of different meals. If you’re thinking about being vegetarian or vegan, speak to your doctor or a qualified nutritionist to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need (4).
It’s all up to you.
Almost every viewpoint on this issue is defensible. Finally, it’s OK if you believe God is telling you to quit eating meat. Just be mindful not to pass judgment on those with differing points of view. When it comes to problems like these, the New Testament reminds us again that Christians must be tolerant of one another since they are subordinate to the primary subject of saving faith in Jesus Christ. “Each one should be persuaded in his own opinion,” Paul said (Romans 14:5, ESV).
In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Does the bible mention veganism?” and discussed how veganism is explained in the bible.
- Raphaely, Talia, and Dora Marinova. A Biblical Argument for Veganism. Int J Inform Syst Social Change, 2021, 12, 1-15.
- Frayne, Carl. On imitating the regimen of immortality or Facing the diet of mortal reality: A Brief history of Abstinence from Flesh-Eating in Christianity. J Anim Ethics, 2016, 6, 188-212.
- Lazarou, Chrystalleni, and Antonia-Leda Matalas. A critical review of current evidence, perspectives and research implications of diet-related traditions of the Eastern Christian Orthodox Church on dietary intakes and health consequences. Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2020, 61, 739-758.
- Hever, Julieanna. Plant-based diets: A physician’s guide. The perman j, 2016, 20.
- MacInnis, Cara C., and Gordon Hodson. Tensions within and between vegans and vegetarians: Meat-free motivations matter. Appetite, 2021, 164, 105246.