Vegan. It is a cool word. It refers to a person who does not eat or use animal product. Someone even defined a vegan as “a high-class vegetarian”.
Recently a young vegan told me that it is cruel to be a meat eater. It causes animals to be killed for food.
There are many documentary videos on the YouTube on how animals are supposedly killed for meat. The objective of such “shock” videos is to make meat eating a cruel thing. What may be an isolated method of killing is often projected as the norm in the meat industry. You will find lots of exaggeration in such “documentaries”. These videos are meant to support and promote a vegan lifestyle.
If you make a visit to the AVA facility in Singapore where animals are killed for food, you will find that there is no such cruelty involved in the process. It uses an auto bloodless electrocution method. This is the norm in meat production.
Today, being a “vegan” is seen as “cool” and “hip”. It has become more than a diet. It is a lifestyle and cultural statement. It is closely associated with the modern vegetarian movement started by famous personalities in the West.
“Vegan” is not a new word. It was invented in the 1940s when people in the West started to take an interest in Eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. Today it is linked to the practice of the Indian art of Yoga.
As Christians, we turn to the Word of God whenever we face questions in life. It is our sole authority in what we believe and how we are to live. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Our Lord Jesus says, “If ye love Me, keep My Commandments” (John 14:15). Again, our Lord says in John 15:10, “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.”
As Christians, we love our Lord. We want to keep all His commandments as expression of our love for Him. This is the purpose for keeping the Ten Commandments as Christians. This should be the same with what we eat.
Well, what does the Holy Bible say about a vegan diet? Is it cruel to be a meat eater? Is it wrong to kill animals for food? Or should Christians be herbivores?
We are instructed in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God?”
Are we eating “to the glory of God”?
Let us start from the beginning of time. The Holy Bible tells us that God gave an instruction about food in Genesis 1:29-30, “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.”
This is the clear creation command regarding food before the Fall of mankind into sin. God told mankind to keep a vegetarian diet. Even the animals were all herbivores. You find this diet restriction until the end of the Universal Flood.
When Noah and his family entered the new world, God gave them the new command concerning food in Genesis 9:3, “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herbs have I given you all things.”
God reminded them of the command about the “green herbs” for food. But from the time of Noah, God gave instruction that “every moving thing” shall be food too.
In the light of this command of God regarding food, it is important for us to know that it is not cruel to kill animals for food. It is our Creator God who has given animals to us for food.
Hence, to think that killing animals for food is cruel is to charge God for cruelty. In this sense, it is a sin to be a “total vegetarian” because it rejects what God commands. The modern “vegan” diet and lifestyle should be seen as an act of rebellion against God’s creation ordinance for His creatures.
When I told the young “vegan” that it is a sin to reject meat as food, I could see the shock on her face. It never occurred to this young person that the vegan friends and teachers are rebelling against God.
Think of Adam, Abel, Abraham, Moses, David, and all the other heroes of faith in the Word of God. All of them were meat eaters. The ancient people of God kept the Passover and partook the Pascal Lamb. Even our Lord Jesus kept the Passover and ate the Pascal Lamb during His time on Earth.
You see, a total vegetarian diet is not the example we learn from the heroes of faith. It is not the teaching of God’s Word. It has its root in pagan religions. A person may adopt a vegetarian diet due to medical reasons such as allergies. But it is not a better diet than what God has clearly commanded for His creatures.
1 Timothy 4:1-4 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”
You will find many types of vegan food today. There is a nice vegan burger restaurant near my place. You find many “cool” and “hip” people eating there. The whole shop looks so attractive and fashionable. It is tempting to join this culture. But what about God? Will we keep to the dietary instruction of God’s Word?
All of us have differences in food preference. It may be due to medical reasons or cultural background. Some like their food “hot and spicy” while others prefer a “plain and bland” diet. Variety is the spice of life. It is a blessing of God to have so many types of food from around the world in Singapore. We are free to choose what we like to eat as long as we do not sin against God by rejecting what He provides for us.
When the Apostle Peter was on the housetop of Simon in the town of Joppa, he received a vision from God. Peter “saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of four footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven” (Acts 10:11-16).
In the immediate context, this vision is meant to teach Peter and the Church that the gospel is for the Gentiles as much as for the Jews. We must not reject what God has cleansed and called them unclean. But this vision is also meant to teach Peter and the Church regarding the dietary laws of the Old Testament. We are to learn that it is a sin to reject food that God has provided. We must not disobey God’s command to “kill and eat”. As our Lord has taught us, to love God is to keep His commandments.
As Christians, let us remember that “every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5).
Vegan. It is a cool word today. But it does not represent a lifestyle or diet that a Christian should adopt. It may be seen as “hip” but it is not from God.
According to the Holy Bible, God has created us to be omnivores. Not vegans.