Sunday, September 18, 2016

Veganism and Christianity

As a Christian and a vegan I am often asked about the compatibility of veganism (or vegetarianism) with Christianity. Am I less a Christian because I am vegan, or are you less a Christian because you eat meat? These are tough questions that require a great deal of time to fully explore, but the answer to both is pretty simple:  No.

In the first chapter of Genesis, when man lived freely in the light of his Creator's love, God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food" (Genesis 1:29-30, ESV). Could a plant-based diet have been God's original plan for man? Maybe.

The Bible teaches that it was only after the fall of man (Genesis 3) that the killing of animals entered the picture. After  Adam and Eve sinned by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,God killed animals in order to provide clothing to cover their nakedness (Genesis 3:21). Their sin and shame resulted in death -- the death of the very animals Adam himself had named (Genesis 2:19). Can you imagine the close relationship Adam must have had with the animals that had been provided to him as companions in the garden? How heartbreaking for Adam this must have been!

Scripture is full of references to animals as the sacrifice for sin, food for mankind, and of man's God-given dominion over them. But consider this:
When God gave humanity dominion over the animals, it was in order to care for, tend to, and use those animals to their fullest potential in a just manner. At the time that God gave mankind dominion over the animals, humans did not eat meat. Eating meat did not begin until after the Flood (Genesis 9:1–3), and it was at that time that animals started to fear humans. However, although God changed the way we interact with animals, in that they are now “meat,” we still bear a responsibility to treat animals humanely. Human rule over animals does not mean we have the right to mistreat or misuse those animals. (Source:
Someone recently pointed out to me Peter's vision in Acts 10:9-16 and the Lord's command, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat" (verse 13). But, the story doesn't end there. In verses 17-29, we are told that Peter was perplexed about what the vision might mean (verse 17) and that God showed him that he should not call any person common or unclean (verse 28). The issue was not the cleanness or uncleanness of any animal for human consumption, but rather the tendency of our hearts to judge our fellow man as clean or unclean.

If someone wants to justify veganism or carnism on the basis of scripture, it wouldn't be difficult to support either position. As believers, we need to seek God's heart on the matter and live according to the call He places on our hearts.

The more I learn about the animal abuse and environmental destruction caused by factory farming, and the animal cruelty involved in product testing, the more heartbroken I become. I can't help but feel that God is too.
The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel (Proverbs 12:10, NIV).
For me, veganism is a spiritual journey -- a quest to honor God by being a better steward of my body (His temple, according to 1 Corinthians 3:16-17), our planet, and an advocate and defender of the animals who have no voice -- a lifestyle I gladly embrace and a purpose I am compelled to fulfill.

To God be the glory,

Dee Dee

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved.

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