by Bobby L. Graham


A reader inquires, “How should I answer the radicals in People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) when they protest eating meat?”


While it might be tempting to “blast” such people, it is better to temper your answer with a balanced approach. Like other questions, let’s see what the Bible teaches and base our answer on Scripture (Col. 3:16).

Let us begin by conceding that we do have a responsibility to the creation, of which all are part. “Mother Nature” is not our mother nor our God, but the God of creation instructs us in our responsibility to the natural world, just as He taught Adam and Eve in this matter at the beginning (Gen. 1:28-30). After all, the human body came from the ground and will return to it at death (Gen. 3:19). As the God who authored the first Ecology Text, our Creator gave humans the responsibility to keep/protect/guard (i.e., the same Hebrew word as is used for keeping God’s commandments) the land, not to become lazy gluttons (Gen. 2:15). Keeping the land and keeping His commandments were two equally essential requirements of the Creator. We cannot abuse the creation (land or nature) and please God in so doing!

The Lord also told His human creatures to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it, and to know that every plant yielding seed was theirs for food. God later added meat to their diet after the flood, with the added condition that they not eat the blood—which taught respect for life (Gen. 9:1-4). It is just as wrong-headed to disallow meat to man as it is to allow abuse of the creation. Those who think otherwise make the mistake of thinking and acting without the aid of divine revelation. They are not nearly as wise or intelligent as they think they are!

On the other hand, the Bible teaches us responsibility toward animal life. Careless or indiscriminate killing of animals was not included in man’s dominion over the animal world—land (animals), air (birds), and water (fish)—according to Genesis 1:26, 28. As said earlier, the value of life, not just human but also animal, seems to have been God’s purpose in the careful restrictions given in Genesis 9:2-4. It is right to kill and eat animals, but it is wasteful, and therefore wrong, to wantonly slaughter the same (Acts 10:13). God wills that we regard the life of the beast (Prov. 12:10). He does not want the owner to muzzle his working animal (Deut. 25:4; 1 Tim. 5:18).

Man has a responsibility to all of creation. He is part of God’s creation, though he stands on a higher plane than the rest does and has a responsibility not given to the rest of it (Gen. 1:26-28). To deny what God has said about these matters is to deny God!

Author Bio

Bobby actively participates in fill-in preaching, Belize trips, teaching an hour each day at Athens Bible School, and in gospel meeting work. He and his wife, Karen, have three children. He can be reached at