What the Bible Says About Veganism

daniel-diet-vegan-vegetarian

Here at Modern Life Survivalist we don’t go meatless. No—not for anyone. (Actually, we do follow the Bulletproof Diet, which utilizes almost weekly protein fasting in order to achieve autophagy, but that’s for another post.) However, I absolutely understand someone’s moral reasons for doing this. In fact, it might be considered hypocritical for someone to want to consume animal flesh but not be willing to hunt, kill, and butcher it. Well, that’s one of the conveniences of modern life we like. Let’s talk about veganism in the Bible awhile, though, shall we?

Many people choosing a vegan diet are doing so as a sort of religious practice (let’s be honest, folks) based on the notion that not eating animal flesh or animal products in general is somehow more pure, less cruel, and/or more according to God’s intent. The Bible does, after all, say in Genesis 1:29-30 that

God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food.'”

Whether you’re a person of faith or don’t give credence to the Bible in any way at all, it’s hard to deny the societal impact and historical significance of the Holy Scripture. I happen to believe that the Bible is 100% true, even when things seem to contradict (the reason for the contradiction is our lack of understanding or because of some missing element that is not being portrayed—I know it sounds like I’m just convincing myself, but that’s where faith is exercised in my life).

However, if you’re just looking at this passage, which would (let’s face it meat-eaters) be a smoking gun in defense of veganism as “God’s diet,” you’re missing out on some important goings-on in the scripture. At the time when this was the command from above as far as what we should eat, men were also given permission to eat of the Tree of Life.

From Genesis chapter 2:

“From any tree of the garden you may eat freely,” which included “every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden.”

Bear with me here, guys. For the transgression of eating from the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden because “He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever” (Gen. 3:22).

So, here Man is expressly forbidden from eating of the Tree of Life, which I think would represent a tremendous nutritional deficiency. This is why I believe we can’t be vegans anymore. Some say at this point, humans were still vegetarians, because as I’ll cover in my analysis of the Noah film and story, humans weren’t given express permission to eat meat until after the Flood:

“Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”

This throws me off a bit, I must admit, and I’m not sure what they were hypothetically eating after-Garden/pre-Flood in lieu of the Tree of Life, but I am inclined to refer to how Abel offered sacrifices of burnt animal fat while Cain offered burnt produce (incidentally creating the first vegan/paleo rivalry in history—God seemed to like the animal fat better). Because they were both things that we eat, I can’t help but think we were eating animals then, too. The Flood scripture does imply that humans were given the okay to eat meat after the Flood, but it doesn’t say expressly that we were doing otherwise in any of the preceding passages.

That’s one of those contradictory/mysterious things I do not claim to understand. In any case, in the biblical account, there was something missing in our diet after leaving the Garden of Eden, and that’s enough for me as an explanation for why we can’t survive without B12 on a plant-based “Eden” diet.

In conclusion, while I can definitely relate to and get behind someone refraining from animal product consumption for moral reasons (I mean, who doesn’t relate when confronted with a docile and beautiful cow/goat/sheep?), I have to defer to my appetite, my need for health, and a biblical basis regarding the morality of animal flesh consumption. Also, there are many other cultures with strict moral codes that still allow for the consumption of animals and animal products.

The Forbidden Fruit

Since we covered fruit from the Tree of Life, let’s talk about the Fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (abbreviation for that—let’s make it FTKGE) for a minute. This was a very prominent theme in Darren Aronofsky’s recent cinematic rendition of Noah. He’s a vegan, so for his biblical adaptation, which he used as a soap box for a very heavy-handed castigation of meat eating, the FTKGE was depicted as animal flesh. Of course, I don’t agree with this.

noah forbidden fruit

Forbidden Fruit Apple Heart Hybrid (*thump thump, thump thump*)

I’d like to share my opinion on what the FTKGE actually was. I was once told that the Muslims believed that the FTKGE was wheat. Recall that Muslims share a lot of the same early origins as Christianity, as they are an Abrahamic religion. Most of their purity laws are identical to those of Judaism. If you recall, Isaac’s brother was Ishmael, who went on to be the progenitor of the Muslim religion.

love the concept that wheat is the FTKGE, because wheat has been the bain of my wife’s and my existence for so many years. Wheat is definitely evil—so evil; far eviler than the evilest of CAFOs. The destruction it represents to our health and our environment is way more heinous than anything I can think of. Corn and soy fit into the category, though, so let’s just say that all three put together make a greater evil than CAFOs.

Sadly, though, I couldn’t find any corroborating literature that confirms the Muslim belief that I learned about through hearsay. However, on the Wiki article for the FKTGE, there is mention of a Rabbi Yehuda who says that it was wheat! So that’s cool.

Peter’s Vision of Lizard Kabobs

When one looks at dietary advice in the scripture that Christianity is based on, The New Testament of the Bible, he or she will quickly determine why Christians of today could mostly give a crap about eating healthy. It’s not that Christ and the apostles would have them be gluttons, though, as this sin is called out in the New Testament almost as much as the Old. However, Christians seem to generally base their diet on the following handful of references.

Peter’s Vision

The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him,“Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”

15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

This is the most important reference, and it is the best proof of what the Bible’s opinion on vegetarianism/veganism is. Meat is okay to eat for Christians, in any color, shape, size, and breed (but not human I’m pretty sure). As you can tell from context, Peter was a very “kosher” Jew, following all the purity laws and remaining “unclean” his entire life. Because of this vision, he led the way in loosening the reins on the extremely finicky Levitical law that was making it so hard for Gentiles to be “grafted” into the Hebrew olive tree as it were.

This passage is very similar to the other account from Acts that involved slackening of laws involving circumcision. Christianity is a very grace-based religion where the focus is no longer so much on purity, but forgiveness, though there is still great emphasis on repentance from sin. So this liberal attitude towards food consumption (anything goes) is a very good reference point for your average Christian’s opinions about diet. Not every Christian eats just anything, mind you, but a great many of them will accuse you of being “legalistic” if you are a vegetarian or have any specific diet that you partake in because it’s healthy. I was once even accused of “making health an idol.”

Another passage is often cited to me when I start to get into my dietary decisions and restrictions, which seems to be fairly exonerating of any smidgeon of care we should have about our diet:

“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.…” -Matthew 6:31

So this is pretty much a slam dunk for the do-as-thou-wilt diet of average Christians. But no, it’s not. Christ is talking about people’s worries for what they will eat in the future, and whether they will have clothes. This is something I heed very steadfastly. I do not worry about having enough money to eat or clothe myself. I trust in God to provide for me. Now, for what I specifically wear, though, I have to apply the following verse to:

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” -Matthew 10:16

You see, my family and most families like ours are sheep. The wolves we’re among are corporations (like Monsanto) and governments agencies (like the FDA and USDA) that are trying to sell us toxic food, chemicals and pesticides, and nutritional advice and science that convince us it’s safe to consume those things. At the risk of sounding alarmist, the food, chemicals, and pesticides are virtually all poison. We have to employ wisdom to protect ourselves and loved ones from disease, mental degradation, suffering, and ultimately death that they are causing.

So if that means not eating meat for you, well that’s one way to avoid the poisons they’re hocking, because conventional meat is at least as toxic as most bushels of glyphosate-laden, moldy grains. CAFO animals eat most of those grains, anyway, and they get antibiotics. However, with a little bit of tweaking, you can replicate a healthy ancestral/biblical diet and really enjoy the abundant life God has for you while you remain here. I’ll leave with my favorite passage I’ve read about diet since I became a Modern Life Survivalist:

Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” -Nehemiah 8:10

Fat is good for you!

(But don’t use the “drink of the sweet” part as an excuse to drink Coca-Cola—instead eat lots of honey! Only if you’re carb-tolerant and not insulin-resistant, though.)

About Rob 69 Articles
Rob was the valedictorian of his high school (his last claim to fame), but now believes that academics are overrated. He is a musician and former copy editor, and is now studying independently as an amateur nutritionist, businessman, and writer/rocker against world government and for liberty. He is also attempting to obtain a PhD in squats, deadlifts, shoulder raises, rows, bench press, dips, and pull-ups.

14 Comments

  1. wow! What a fascinating article! I am really interested in what you said about B12! My husband has some really interesting theories about B12 being the missing element that causes SO many diseases and issues in our bodies.

    • Thank you, Brianna! Is your husband a researcher/scientist? He is on the right track I would say. If you don’t have B12, your brain starts to deteriorate pretty quickly. I feel very bad for the vegans who have gone down this path past the point of no return. At least eat some eggs, vegetarians!

  2. Hey Rob,
    Definitely some things to ponder and great thoughts on this passage. It’s fun getting a gimps Scripture through the eyes of a nutritionist. Wishing you a blessed week!

  3. Livestock meant for consumption and to produce eggs and milk are injected with b12, they used to get it from grazing grass and soil, from cobalt which has been depleted from our topsoil, like many other minerals, due to farming practices that are destructive. B12 deficiencies have not been found to be less prevalent in meat eaters. As far as not eating animals or animal products, I do not enjoy them in the first place , personally, and everyone is different as to what their body needs, but second animals are sentient beings as we are, and they are treated needlessly inhumanely in the entire process of their lives, in the ways they are slaughtered or discarded when they are used up or forced to produce in abyssymal conditions, basically being abused as objects for a final product and if there are collateral deaths or injuries they are just a business loss. Yes there are a growing number of humane farmers,but most still take the calf away from the mother the day its born to reap the benefit of greater milk production and do you think she does not feel that? At least the Amish let the calves stay and graze with the mother. These are God’s creatures and they are usually not treated as such, but badly mistreated. Just because they don’t have a voice (that we understand) does not mean they are not worthy of being treated with compassoin and not daily cruelty?

    • Thank you for your thoughts. We only eat 100% grass-fed meat and 100% grass-fed butter. This is the best available, and generally implies that the animals are treated humanely. I understand why you might not want to eat meat. However, I recommend you at least eat some animal products, like butter or eggs, because you really can’t get a significant source of b12 any other way, as I have explained and sourced in the above article.

      • Yes, well there are some myths about b12 such as it is only contained in animal products. It is not innate to these products, it is made from bacteria, you might like to see http://www.vibrancyuk.com>b12 …I think all the paleo people may one day be looking at why they need to have such large quantities of meat, 3x per day or am I wrong? Just in terms of the amount of resources it takes to produce these quantities, like water and land, as these issues will be becoming more and more prevalent. Also, fine to eat as much meat as you want but to say that cavemen ate that way is in disagreement with archeological science. Grass fed meat and butter doesn’t imply animals treated humanely, pasture raised gets closer. Happy surviving.

        • I was aware that bacteria makes b12, but that doesn’t mean you can get enough from your gut bacteria. I believe you’re being mislead by vegan propaganda. Many U.S. officials are vegetarians/vegans trying to get people hooked on staple crops as their major source of calories. Staple crops and monoculture, by the way, are much less sustainable than relying on meat from free-range animals, combined with eating vegetables/tubers from your own gardens and local farms. Mercola is your guy to read up on this: http://gna.squarespace.com/home/joseph-mercola-why-vegetarianism-will-not-save-the-world-1.html

          100% Grass-fed is better than pastured for humans and animals, because it implies pastured and they feed them hay in the winter. They don’t lock them in cages and just feed them grass/hay if that’s what you’re implying. “Pastured” is a weaker description that could mean they are kept on pasture for like 2 weeks or less out of the year. There’s no requirement for it.

          I don’t really base my diet on that of cavemen. I base it on hunter-gatherers, who still live among us today and can be studied. Generally meat consumption goes up as you go North (less vegetables). The Inuits were found to have consumed the most, and they were just as healthy (if not more so) than tribes at other latitudes. In all cultures, though, there are some animal products consumed. It’s universal. This is what Weston A. Price discovered. “Sacred foods,” even in the islands where most of the diet was vegetables/fruit, were foods that were considered essential to eat for a pregnant woman and a very young child in order to “construct” the human body properly and achieve the maximum of the genetic potential (epigenetics). These foods were always some kind of organ meat, eggs, seafood, or dairy product (butter).

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