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Back to Eden
By Micah C. Scott on ThomasPainesCorner.com
The Bible teaches ďwhether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of GodĒ (1 Corinthians 10:31). But is a carnivorous diet consistent with Judeo-Christian values? Is eating meat glorifying to God? Many Christians I have discussed this topic with, contend that God permitted humankind to eat animals; usually starting with the verse in which God gave humankind dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:28), and ending with Jesusí comment that the food one uses to fill their belly does not defile the individual (Mark 7:15). I believe that these arguments are shallow in analysis of Scripture, and completely miss the mark for what God had intended for His creation.
By stopping at Genesis 1:28, and insisting that the word ďdominionĒ implies humankindís permission to eat the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth (1), they strip the verse from itís context and miss Godís intent that humans were not to kill and eat the flesh of other living creatures, but rather He gave us every herb bearing seed, upon the face of all the earth, and the fruit of every tree yielding seed (Genesis 1:29). Adam and Eve did not kill animals for food. They worked the ground and ate from the vast array of fruits and vegetables God provided for them in the Garden of Eden (2). The only restriction God placed on their diet was to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
According to the Bible, after Adam and Eve disobeyed Godís instruction and ate of the tree of knowledge, they were banished from the garden and sin was introduced into the world. Death, disease, and decay became a part of our existence. At this point in history, Adam recognized his nakedness, and the first Biblical record of killing an animal for clothing was noted (3). Hunting, meat consumption, and the usage of the animal fur were techniques humans employed to survive the harsh winter climates and lack of food bearing yields from the vegetation, as the land required hard work and sweat (4). God may have later, permitted humankind to consume meat, but it came with a curse, as God gave the animals fear of humankind (5). In a word, Adam and Eveís sin brought a curse that severed our relationship with non-human animals and the environment.
Another use of the non-human animal was for atonement of sin (6). Before Jesus was pierced for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities (7), humankind had to sacrifice burnt offerings to gain Godís forgiveness. The Bible says that God so loved us, that he sent His only son, Jesus, to live a blameless life, be crucified and resurrected for our sins. He did this so that no one should die, but live with Him in eternity (8). After Jesusí resurrection, animal sacrifice was no longer needed; His death was the ultimate sacrifice that irrevocably reconciled the gap between God and man.
Therefore, killing an animal for any reason serves no real purpose. In fact, consuming meat and wearing the animalís fur is a participation in the sin nature of humankind, and accepts the status quo of a broken world.
Fortunately, we no longer have to merely survive as the food chain from the field to the dinner plate is long forgotten. We live in a society where food is all around us. We no longer need to sacrifice burnt offerings to cover our transgressions. Jesusí death and resurrection covers our sins. For these reasons we now have the perfect opportunity to once again join into Godís original plan, restore humanity, and stand up for justice, liberty, and freedom for all life.
Veganism is a socio-economic movement that embodies these ideals. It seeks to be a good steward of Godís creation by reducing environmental damage caused by industries, like factory farms (9). It is sustainable eating that can feed more people. For example, the 12 pounds of feed needed to produce 1 pound of beef (10), could go directly toward providing for the impoverished (11). Veganism is a refusal to exploit, harm, or kill any of Godís creatures for food, clothing, or entertainment; promoting a peaceful co-existence with the environment (12). A vegan diet also wards an individual from numerous medical conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer (13). If our body is a temple, then why would we make it sick by filling it with the rotting corpses of dead animals?
As this article illustrates, the consumption of meat is a basic issue that has been drastically overlooked by the Christian community. Meat consumption is harmful to the environment, the welfare of the animals God has placed within our care, as well as our own health. It is no longer needed to cloth and feed ourselves, nor is it needed to atone for sin. Adopting the cruelty-free lifestyle of veganism adds a unifying bond to the Christian practice, and it is consistent with some of the most basic principles of the Jesusí teachings (i.e. love, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control (14). Veganism is a vital choice to participate in Godís plans of restoring humanity. Refuse to participate in the sin nature, and begin to restore creation back to the way God intended.
Regardless of your religious affiliation, adopt a vegan lifestyle. Letís go back to Eden!
1 Genesis 1:28
2 Genesis 2:15
3 Genesis 3:21
4 Genesis 3:17,18
5 Genesis 9:2,3
6 Exodus 20:24
7 Isaiah 53:5
8 John 3:16
10 This is a conservative estimate. Information ranges
from 7-16 lbs of feed for 1 lb of beef.
11 Proverbs 29:7
12 Matthew 5:9
14 Galatians 5:22,23
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