We receive letters almost every day from compassionate people who are looking for ways to counter the hardness of heart they encounter in the churches and elsewhere from Christians who use Bible passages to try to justify the killing and eating of animals. One such passage is Genesis 43:16-17.
16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to his house steward, "Bring the men into the house, and slay an animal and make ready; for the men are to dine with me at noon."
17 So the man did as Joseph said, and brought the men to Joseph's house.
The intent of these people is to intimidate compassionate vegetarian/vegan Christians by saying that since Joseph had his servant slaughter an animal and prepare it for a meal, then it must be God's will for us to kill and eat animals.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
However, this is what happened. And, it is also an example of why we shouldn't argue about Bible passages, but rather turn the conversation back into showing God's creation and heavenly intent for us to live as loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God for the benefit of the whole of creation (humans, animals, and the environment).
So, what is God's creation intent? Genesis 1:29-31 tells us:
29 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;
30 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.
31 And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Did God make a mistake when He created this 'very good' vegan world? No, He didn't.
Furthermore, since God spoke this earth into existence from His heavenly will, we should also see a confirmation of this in heaven, which we do in Revelation 21:3-4.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them,
4 and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."
If we mourn the horrible treatment and death of animals, then at this time they will no longer be raised or slaughtered for food; and people cannot eat flesh unless it is the result of death; thus, humans will again return to being vegan.
The old ways of worldly living have passed away!
But some people will say that this is for the future and not for now; how do we know that this is for now?
We know because Jesus taught us to pray for it, and in the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:10) we are taught to pray for:
10 'Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.'
If Jesus wants us to pray for something, shouldn't we then seek to do whatever we can in our lives to help it come to fruition? Of course we should! Thus, we should do everything in our power to eliminate as much pain, suffering, and death as we possibly can, and the easiest way begins with what we put on our plates.
If this is what God wants, then why did He allow so much suffering and death on earth? It came with the Fall, which came from the disobedience of human beings, and He seems to expect the children of God to correct it, or at least a significant portion of it.
There is another passage in the Bible that clearly describes why God allows things to exist against His heavenly will. It's from Matthew 19:3-8 and talks about marriage and divorce, but mainly about the human heart condition, which also explains the reason that Joseph felt it necessary to have an animal killed to feed his brothers.
3 And some Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?"
4 And He answered and said, "Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,
5 and said, 'For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh'?
6 "Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
7 They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?"
8 He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.
It is because of the human hardness of heart that God allowed the killing and eating of animals to continue, but from the beginning (Genesis 29-31) it has not been this way.
We are not to follow the worldly ways around us or those written about in the Bible. We are to follow God's heavenly will!