Is it wrong to eat animals? Don’t they feel pain? After all, in the beginning, God gave mankind plant food to eat. That’s why I believe God intended us to be vegetarians. It was not until after the Flood that God said it was okay for man to eat the animals. Corn, carrots and other plant food do not have a nervous system and feel pain like animals do. I think there is a big difference between vegetables and plant-based foods and animals. Obviously from the scriptures it is not sin for mankind to eat animals, but there are many health benefits to eating a vegetarian diet.
Even though the Lord may have intended us to be vegetarians in the beginning, it is far from clear that this is his will for mankind now. Here are a few reasons:
- Jesus declared all foods clean (Mark 7:19).
- Jesus himself cooked and ate fish (John 21:9; Luke 24:43).
- In the story of Adam and Eve, the Lord is the one who clothed the couple with the skins of (obviously dead) animals (Genesis 3:21).
- It would be odd if in his vision the Lord to Peter to “Rise, Peter; kill and eat” (Acts 10:13) if eating animals was wrong.
- We are to avoid being led away by strange teachings, including doctrines about what we may eat (Hebrews 13:9; 1 Timothy 4:4).
- Christians are not obligated to follow rules concerning food or drink, no matter how well intended or seemingly wise these regulations may be (Colossians 2:16,20-23).
Note: The evidence from paleoanthropology does not support vegetarian claims.
I am not denying the health benefits of eating lots of vegetables, avoiding large portions of red meat, etc. Yet this is an area of freedom for Christians, and we must respect each other’s decisions. In short, if our Lord wasn’t a vegetarian, then no one has the right to tell you and me we must give up meat.