Category Archives: Vegetarianism

Food in the Bible: Genesis 1:29-30

Genesis 1:29-30: Then 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”; and it was so.

I noticed something in this passage that I had never seen before. The only thing given for humans and animals to eat in the creation account is plants. And then the bubble of my discovery was burst when I read Greg Boyd’s The First Fruits of the Coming Non-Violent Creation. Someone else found it first…DANG! (I’m sure greg wasn’t the first either).

Boyd says, “People often fail to notice that the only food God originally intended humans and all other creatures to eat was vegetation. The fact that humans now eat animals and many animals eat each other was not part of God’s original plan for creation. It’s rather the result of the fall.”

Greg goes on to discuss Genesis 9 after the Flood, but we’ll have to wait until we get there. For now let’s just say that it has to do with violence. It appears that God’s creation was originally intended for sentient beings not to do violence to one another. Boyd points out that this also the vision Isaiah has of the coming future perfection of God’s reign.

We already assume that creation was given by God for humanity, for our use and consumption. We have already pointed out that this is not the whole truth. Creation also existed prior to humanity and therefore we must also see ourselves as a dependent part of the whole ecosystem of creation. We now add another element to this creation theology. The only part of creation intended for food was plants. Both animals and humans were given “every green plant for food,” but animals were not given for food until Genesis 9.

More on violence and food as we go…

Animals: Love ‘Em Or Kill ‘Em

okay okay… those aren’t the only two options. RLP recently wrote some musings on his family and pets, A Rattlesnake and a Honking Dog, that got me thinking. I’ve already blogged somewhat about my relationship with animals. I totally feel Gordon’s pain though. The fall semester my wife had to put our cat to sleep while I was away at a conference. It was a rough time, but it was too much for us to pay a vet to keep her alive for what amounted to a miserable existence. I know other people disagree. Some people are willing to pay small fortunes to keep their pets going. I’m not going to argue with the deep pet love that some people have.

It does raise the question, “How much should you (or would you) pay to keep your pet’s ticker ticking?”

I know what you’re thinking, “What the heck does this have to do with food or Jesus?” Well, when we think about food the subject of eating animals and vegetarianism is always in the mix. Perhaps before we even approach vegetarianism we should be asking ourselves how we relate to animals. What place do animals have in our lives? Why are some animals considered pets worth shelling out big bucks to save and others just left to wade in their own s#!@? Why are some animals okay to eat and others not?

We’re almost there in Genesis, too. So we might be talking about the animals for a while. By the end of it we might go all Francis of Asissi, preach to the animals and see some birds pray the prayer and give their lives to Jesus. Who knows?

Greg Boyd on Vegetarianism

Megachurch pastor Greg Boyd recently blogged through why, as a Christian, he’s vegetarian. I haven’t read through it yet, but thought I’d go ahead and link to it.

Why I’m a Vegetarian

The First Fruit of the Coming Non-Violent Creation

Compassionate Dominion and Factory Farms

WWJE? Pt 3: How I Got Over Myself and Learned to Love Tofu

This is my final personal reflection in the What Would Jesus Eat? series. Next we’ll begin exploring some aspects of food, its connection to many issues facing our world and what it has to do with Jesus and faith.

The summer of 2000 I worked at a Lutheran camp in the Rocky Mountains called Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp. It was founded by a bunch of Jesus Freak hippie Lutherans in the 70s. It had a definite social justice flavor from the beginning. There were a good number of the staff that were vegetarian and the camp accommodated this by always offering non-meat options at meals. There was a little restaurant “down the mountain” in Ft. Collins called Avogadro’s Number that specialized in vegetarian fare. I certainly didn’t abandon my meat-eating roots that summer, but being exposed to new and interesting foods stuck with me. The idea that not eating meat could be a lifestyle choice also stuck with me.

Living at 9200 ft above sea level amid the Rockies with a bunch of freak Christians who teach kids about social justice and live in cabins named after Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr. was an intense experience. It opened my faith up to the possibility that it was about more than my own personal salvation and spiritual journey. This faith had something to say to the world.

To be honest, becoming vegetarian was just an experiment at first. I really enjoyed vegetarian foods. I thought it would be healthier and one of my favorite professors was a vegetarian. So, December 25, 2000, I announced to my family that I was no longer a carnivore. I wasn’t sure what would happen. This Texas boy was pretty sure something bad was going to happen when I stopped eating meat. But it was a grand experiment. I started my spring semester only to find out that the aforementioned professor had decided to take up eating meat again. This was going to be harder than I thought.

I stuck with it and actually got used to veggie subs and cheese pizza. After graduating and moving to Chicago, I found that Yankees were much more understanding of my eating habits. There was even a student in my youth group that was also vegetarian. At this point I had probably read some about vegetarianism and was aware of some of the variety of reasons behind abandoning the ways of the carnivore. But these reasons were not necessarily my own.

It wasn’t until I took a 14 hour flight to Japan to visit my then girlfriend, Sarah. On the way I devoured Fast Food Nation. About halfway through the book I said to myself, “I find new reasons everyday to be vegetarian.” And that has kind of been my reason ever since. To tell the truth, I’m not a very good vegetarian. I never have been. I’m too lazy. Technically I am a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, meaning I eat eggs and dairy. My in-laws are pretty much always fishing. So, I also eat fish every now and then. I have a dream about how I would like to eat ideally, but then reality gets in the way. We’ll talk more later about making changes in how we eat and how to get from here to there. I’m still on that journey so it will be both things I want to do and things that have worked.

The rest of this series will be an exploration of what some of the reasons are for not only being vegetarian, but being aware of what we eat, what it means and what Jesus has to do with a steakhouse or a farmer’s market.

Next… What I Eat is My Business!