Many who are concerned for animals dismiss Christianity as “speciesist” and unconcerned for animal welfare. They, as a result, are tempted to turn to Buddhism, for example, as it seems the kinder religion to animals. With some justification they assume Christianity to be hostile to their own moral insights. Many see the Church as an agent of animal oppression – even though atheism is as historically guilty of perpetuating speciesism.
However God is not unconcerned for animal life and cares very deeply for them. It is man who has chosen to overlook the evidence
God’s original diet prescribed for us was a vegan one:
“And God said, ‘Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat”. (Genesis 1:29).
Obviously at the time the Bible was written, the word “meat” was used for all food. When the Bible refers to what we call meat, it uses the word “flesh”. We have changed “flesh” to “meat” to make it seem more normal.
Many people believe God gave us permission to eat animal flesh. And they are right. After the Flood, in Genesis 9, God tells Noah that he may eat the animals. However this is only a temporary concession, and was necessary because the Flood had destroyed all vegetation, so there was no food. However once man had got a taste for flesh, he was very reluctant to give it up.
God tried to command a vegan diet again to the Israelites in the desert, after He had rescued them from servitude in Egypt. He provided them with manna – a vegan, life-sustaining food. But the Israelites were not happy with this and demanded flesh. The word used for their depraved request is “lust”.
So God gives them quails, “until it come out of your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you…” says Numbers 11:20.
Numbers 11:33 says “And while the flesh was yet between their teeth…the Lord smote them with a great plague”.
Yes, God allowed them flesh food, thus acquiescing to their demands, but clearly He was less than happy about it, and smote them with a plague; they died. Our insistence on unnecessary flesh is still causing plagues now – cancer, diabetes, heart disease. Nothing has changed. We are reaping what we sow with ill health – the outcome of the suffering we inflict daily on defenceless animals.
God’s original concession to eat flesh was out of necessity. Now, it is utterly unnecessary to consume animal flesh. We simply do not need it. Luxury, rather than necessity, is used to justify killing spirit-filled individuals. And it is a poor doctrine indeed that allows the stomach to decide what’s best.
There are countless Bible references highlighting God’s high regard and love for the animals that He created. Animals are fed by God, they are covered by Hid providential care. No living entity is beyond the scope of God’s compassion and therefore no unnecessary killing could be approved of. If animals matter morally, then veganism is the only rational response. A loving God would not allow the life He has created, loved and sustained to be thrown away as worthless.
Everything we do, including what we eat, should reflect God’s mercy.
Christians should have the most compassionate diet.