Reflection on the Lectionary: Mark 10:2-16
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Reflection on the Lectionary: Mark 10:2-16
(October 4, 2009)

Permission Does Not Equal Endorsement

After noting that Moses permitted divorce, Jesus instructed, “For your hardness of heart he [Moses] wrote you this commandment.” There are many things that the Bible permits but does not endorse. One might recall 1 Samuel 8, in which the people asked Samuel to give them a king. Samuel took this request to God, who told Samuel that the king would become a tyrant. Samuel told the people what he had learned, but the people nevertheless wanted a king, which God then granted.
Another illustration of God’s giving permission without endorsement is Genesis 9:3, in which God permits Noah to eat flesh. Previously, humanity had been vegetarian, but humanity had become so violent that God produced the Flood to allow for a fresh start. Noah too was flawed, and he cursed Ham who found Noah drunk and naked. Since God promised never to flood the earth again, there was no alternative but to allow a degree of violence – in this case against animals.
The Bible makes clear that the ideal is peaceful, harmonious coexistence among all God’s creatures, as described in Genesis 1:29-30 and Isaiah 11:6-9. God might permit humans to engage in violent behavior, but Christians should not regard this as an endorsement of human tyranny and abuse over nonhuman creation.

Go on to: Reflection on Job 42:1-6
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