The reference to Adam and Eve invites us to start with the book of Genesis.
God allowed Adam and Eve to eat plants and herbs, a privilege he granted also to the animals (Gen. 1:29-30). And humans and animals enjoyed a peaceful and friendly relationship in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:19-20).
It was only after the Flood that permission was granted to eat animal flesh, and only then under the condition that the blood was drained out of the meat (Gen. 9:3-4). We may take this as indication that meat-eating was not ideal, although God certainly blessed the eating of meat in other times and places (Lev. 6:24-29 Acts 10:9-16).
The Bible's description of the new earth and new heaven uses categories that hark back to the Garden of Eden. The Tree of Life will bear 12 different types of fruit year-round, one for each month, and its leaves will heal the nations (Rev. 22:2). There will be no need for temple or sacrifices, sun or moon, because God's presence will provide all that is needed. The Bible ends as it began, with a luscious garden in which God rules supreme and his people enjoy him forever.
A vegetarian diet appears to be the ideal before the fall of Adam and Eve, and our lives in the New Jerusalem will reflect that paradise in many ways. How do Isaiah 11 and 65 fit in? They identify the new world order established by a king from the line of David (). This new order will be one of peace and tranquility. Since it also brings peace to predator and prey (), perhaps this means we will not eat meat in the fulfilled kingdom.
On the other hand, Isaiah's portrait of the messianic age is making a different point. The prophet is stating that when the Messiah's reign fully arrives, peace will permeate everything; there will ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more