Many people have become vegetarians because they think that it is wrong to eat animals, or even to wear their fur. Some even try to prove their point with scripture. The verses below show what God says on the subject.
IN THE BEGINNING
GOD GAVE MAN DOMINION OVER ANIMALS
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
WE WERE TOLD TO EAT PLANTS AND SEEDS
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.
EVEN THE ANIMALS ONLY ATE PLANTS
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.
AFTER THE FLOOD
GOD TOLD US THAT WE COULD EAT ANIMALS, FISH AND FOWL
And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
GOD TOLD US WHICH ANIMALS WE COULD EAT
And the LORD spoke unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them. Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat Among all the beasts that are on the earth. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud, Among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
GOD TOLD US WHICH FISH WE COULD EAT
These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
GOD TOLD US WHICH INSECTS WE COULD EAT
Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth. Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.
GOD TOLDS US WHICH BIRDS WE COULD ~ NOT ~ EAT
And these are they which ye shall have in abomination Among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey; And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; Every raven after his kind; And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckoo, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier-eagle, And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.
AFTER CHRIST'S RESURRECTION
After Christ's resurrection, God said that we could even eat the animals, fish and fowl that had been unclean before.
I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me: Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.
John the Baptist, who was filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother's womb, was not a vegetarian as some claim.
For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
He ate locusts and honey, most likely because that is all that was available in the desert wilderness.
And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leather girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
Locusts were insects.
Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.
VEGETARIANISM WOULD HAVE BEEN SINFUL
God commanded that Jews eat the sacrificial lamb at Passover. Even Jesus was a Jew.
And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD's passover. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your Generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.
JESUS NEVER SINNED
It would have been sinful for Jesus to give people fish to eat if eating fish were sinful. Jesus also ate the fish himself (all ate).
But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and broke, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
Jesus also ate fish and honey after His resurrection to prove that He was not a ghost.
And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.
ANIMAL SKINS OR FURS
God also gave us animals so that we could use their skins/fur.
After Adam and Eve sinned and realized that they were naked, they covered themselves with leaves.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
But, when God saw them, He covered them with animal skins instead.
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey.
Animal skins were also used for the tabernacle, by order of God.
And they shall bear the curtains of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle of the congregation, his covering, and the covering of the badgers' skins that is above upon it, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, And the hangings of the court, and the hanging for the door of the gate of the court, which is by the tabernacle and by the altar round about, and their cords, and all the instruments of their service, and all that is made for them: so shall they serve.
God did not say to hunt for sport, but for food. He even tells us how to hunt so that animals could continue to reproduce.
If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.
TREATMENT OF ANIMALS
God also tells us to be kind to animals.
And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me.
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.
Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.
We should even care about plentiful animals.
Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
Even an enemy's animal.
If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.
And to give work animals a day of rest.
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.
GOD CARES FOR ANIMALS
He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run Among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst. By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing Among the branches. He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart. The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted; Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house. The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.
GOD PROTECTS US FROM ANIMALS OF PREY
God also created it so that animals of prey go out at night when men are not out working - and they are sleeping when men are out working.
He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labor until the evening.
DO ANIMALS GO TO HEAVEN?
God created people in His image, not animals, and so the souls of animals do not go to Heaven.
Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
After the flood, when eight people and the animals of every kind were saved from drowning, God says that only eight souls were saved.
1 Peter 3:20
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
ARGUMENTS FOR BEING A VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN
Some think that the following two verses mean that Paul was a vegetarian. The context shows that some Jews that converted to Christianity still felt that some animals were not clean and so should not be eaten, even though following every law perfectly to receive salvation had been replaced with salvation through Christ. The context is that it is wrong to make a man do something that he believes is sinful even though it is not.
It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
1 Corinthians 8:13
Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
Some think that the following verse means that man is not better than the animals.
For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
The next verse shows the true context - only that man and animals all die, and the bodies of both turn to dust.
All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
Some think that the following verse means that God says that killing animals is wrong. The context shows that it means that the animal sacrifice of a bad man is abominable to God.
He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
Some think that the following verse means that God says that eating animals is wrong. The context shows that it means that these men cared more about their physical pleasures than they did about God.
That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of music, like David; That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.
Some think that the following verse means that God hated the sacrifice of animals. The context shows that these men were not sacrificing the way that God had commanded, and their hearts were wrong, both evidenced by the fact that they ate the meat they were supposed to be giving to God. They had rejected God's law so He rejected their sacrifice.
They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.
We are all God's creatures. He created the "food chain" - down to plants, microbes, and bacteria. God created everything and gave everything its place and order. We eat animals, they eat other animals, those eat plants, plants eat from the soil, bacteria eat yeast, etc. God created balance and order in the entire earth and heavens.
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?