Is being a vegetarian better than a meat eater?


I'm a vegetarian and wish that others were, but I don't try to impose my views on them. In the Garden of Eden men were vegetarians, and after Jesus returns the lion will lay down with the lamb and there will be no killing (I hope). So that's the way I try to live now. I agree with all you say about God giving man meat and what Paul says, so I am not offended when my brother (or my wife) has a thick steak for dinner. I do feel that we should respect those that try to emulate the perfect state before the fall of man, or who try to live according to what the hereafter will be like. I love my wife, four children, and friends, but I also love my dog and cat and have sympathy for the lovely animals God created for us to enjoy. If Heaven is to be a perfect place, I expect to have my past pets waiting for me, or else all knowledge of them erased from my memory. Sorry to ramble. I don't really have a question. I enjoy your site.


Thank you for taking the time to write. As I have stated in past answers, there is nothing wrong with choosing to be a vegetarian. However, I hope you don't think that your choice makes you better than your wife or children who chose to eat meat.

Yes, when the world was first created, mankind ate only vegetables (Genesis 1:29). However, that form of nutrition did not make them better people. It was while they were vegetarians that Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. Cain and later Lamech committed murder (Genesis 4:8, 23). In a period of fewer than 1,700 years we read, "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). It was not until after the flood that meat was added to mankind's diet (Genesis 9:3). Thus we learn that vegetarianism does not prevent murders nor does it make better, kinder people. It is not more godly to eat only vegetables, nor is it less godly to eat meat.

As Paul stated, "For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him" (Romans 14:2-3).

Just for completeness, you might be interested in learning that the Bible does not state that the lion will lay down with the lamb. What most people have in mind is this passage from Isaiah: "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:6-9). This passage is a part of a prophecy that is written in symbolic or figurative language. Many people make the mistake of assigning a literal meaning to the vision being presented and thus miss the point being made. Looking at the context of the verse we find, "There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD" (Isaiah 11:1-2). The prophecy is a reference to Jesus Christ. He was a descendant of David and thus also a descendant of David's father, Jesse (Matthew 1:5-6, 16). The reference to the Spirit coming upon him was fulfilled in Matthew 3:16. Later in Isaiah's vision, we learn, "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious" (Isaiah 11:10). This is a reference to the salvation brought to the Gentiles by Christ. Thus, the vision is not of a future return, but something that happened in our past when Christ first came to this world.

A key to understanding this is to notice that the images of peace between natural enemies take place on God's holy mountain. This particular symbol is one used repeatedly to refer to the church. Because the church draws people from all nations, within the church there will be peace. Such is discussed at length by Paul: "Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands-- that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:11-22).

Finally, though it is nice to imagine meeting our pets in heaven, the Bible makes no mention of animals going to heaven or hell. The Bible says that animals have life (or soul), but only man has a soul and spirit. It is because we possess a spirit that we live on beyond this mortal life. See "Soul and Spirit" for more details.

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