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Discussion » Questions » Religion and Spirituality » If they actually existed, were Adam and Eve vegetarians?

If they actually existed, were Adam and Eve vegetarians?

Some say that God gave permission to eat meat after the Flood. But there were a lot of shepherds in the bible, and to me, shepherds = meat eaters. Was everyone in the bible vegetarian before Noah? And if so, were they strict vegans?

Posted - November 12, 2019


  • 8643
    During their time in the Garden of Eden there was no sin, suffering or death so killing an animal for food would not be allowed and it's not likely they had fire to cook with anyway. 

    After 'the fall' I guess they would be ok to kill and eat all they wanted. 
      November 12, 2019 9:56 PM MST

  • 9860
    I like your thought about the fire and cooking part.

    Excellent point. :) :)

      November 13, 2019 12:46 AM MST

  • 5162
    According to Genesis 4:4 Abel was sacrificing lambs.  Odds are high that he ate from his flock as well.  I cannot say for sure.
      November 12, 2019 10:15 PM MST

  • 4166
    There's no indication that Adam or Eve were farmers prior to the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Rather, God tells them they can eat of all the fruits of the garden except the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This suggests that he intended them to live as vegetarians, immortal, gendered but sexless, and never giving birth - rather like young children themselves -  having no need to earn a living, and having no knowledge of right and wrong.

    I've always thought Genesis represented a cross between myth and historical approximation - a kind of oral tradition which evolved prior to writing and historical method. I think Genesis symbolises a sociological shift from nomadic gatherer to agrarian-and-settled versus nomadic-herder. There would have been fierce tensions between the two before the invention of walls and fences.

    The meat-eating lifestyle seems only to manifest after the expulsion. 
    Sheep, camels and goats are excellent for milk and fibre. However, if the females give birth every year, or even every second year, there is an inevitable over-supply of males. It's probable that male kids were slaughtered and eaten just before puberty, or sometimes gelded to give them the chance to grow larger without becoming too macho and hence difficult to handle. Certainly when Able offers the "fat portions from some of the firstborn of his stock," the phrase "fat portions" sounds a lot like butcher's talk. To me, it definitely suggests that they ate meat, but also that it was considered precious, a luxury. Perhaps, without refrigeration, they could only eat it when there was an excess of stock available to kill.

    Cain was the grower of crops, Able, the herder of animals.
    The indications, for those who take the Old Testament literally, seem initially to suggest that God favoured the animal husbandman. But reading further on, God explains that he favours Cain's sacrifice less, not because of what the offering is, but because Cain is tempted to sin (it doesn't specify in what way) and has not yet clarified his heart and turned away from temptation.

    Genesis 4:1-16 New International Version (NIV)

    Cain and Abel

    4 Adam

    This post was edited by inky at November 13, 2019 7:39 AM MST
      November 12, 2019 10:49 PM MST

  • 9860
    Being one who has little knowledge of the Bible, I found your answer very insightful.
    Thank you.
    :) :)
      November 13, 2019 12:27 AM MST

  • 21356
    Cain's sin was that he withheld his best from the Lord in his offering. 
      November 13, 2019 5:34 AM MST

  • 9860
    That's what Don says, too. 
    :) :)
      November 14, 2019 5:40 AM MST

  • 5488

    The suggestion that A & E had to eat anything at all upends the Biblical myth of their pre-”Fall” immortality.
    Did they defecate too? Where? 

    Adam and Eve did not exist. No if’s about it. We may as well ask if Bugs Bunny actually ate carrots. 

    As I suspect you know, the legend of the Garden of Eden arose from earlier Mesopotamian folklore, and primitive human ignorance about the world; like everything else in Genesis. 

      November 13, 2019 4:47 AM MST

  • 14905
    God knows why its not illegal for so called educated nations to keep on peddling such utter nonsense in this day and age...
    We can go to war and kill any living animal/race  ,pollute the planet ,yet must never try to help those that have been taught from birth the most unbelievable nonsense thought up by men....
    Humans are a very sick bread of animal ,sustained only by their greed l.....
      November 13, 2019 5:14 AM MST

  • 21356
    First Amendment in USA. 
      November 13, 2019 5:20 AM MST

  • 14905
    Freedom of speech ,do you really think that exists anywhere in the world ? This post was edited by Nice Jugs at November 14, 2019 7:27 AM MST
      November 13, 2019 5:22 AM MST

  • 21356
    Freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
    No we do not have complete freedom of speech. There can be punishments for some speech: slander, inciting violence etc. 
    In the USA we have more freedom of speech than most but the left is working getting rid of it more and more. This post was edited by my2cents at November 14, 2019 7:27 AM MST
      November 13, 2019 5:38 AM MST

  • 7194
    enciting inciting violence
      November 13, 2019 6:24 AM MST

  • 5488

    The sinister, rights-eroding Patriot Act was passed by a Republican Administration. 

    (or was GW Bush a RINO too?) 

    This post was edited by Don Barzini at November 13, 2019 8:12 PM MST
      November 13, 2019 3:13 PM MST

  • 5488

    God knows? Ironic. 

    As stated elsewhere, people have the freedom to say and believe and advocate whatever baseless idiocy that strikes their fancy. Nowhere is this exemplified more than in the wide disparity of denominational theism. 

    In sum, it is less about “educated nations“ than it is about a fading percentile within these nations who are impervious to education. We can’t legislate critical reasoning. 

    This post was edited by Don Barzini at November 14, 2019 7:28 AM MST
      November 13, 2019 6:36 AM MST

  • 4166
    Well put.
    It's ironic that many refinements of logical reason developed within the first universities founded by the Catholic Church for the purpose of proving that God existed.
    It was reasoned then that if God existed then it could be proven by logic.
    One by one, each proof was found to have a flaw, until no one could find any new proofs.
    The Catholic Church decided that faith could only depend on the choice to believe.
      November 13, 2019 1:45 PM MST

  • 14905
    I can understand people's people's ignorance one hundred years ago or more..... It's should have all died out though after the First World War ...All governments are to blame  for letting the insanity continue .... 
      November 13, 2019 2:31 PM MST

  • 4166
    I think part of the problem is in our education systems.
    I'm a believer that public state schools should teach science from as early as five years old. At that early age, it should be very simple as fun. Proposing a theory, and each child doing the experiments to show whether the theory can be proven to be true, and then how it can be used to solve other problems. Kids love this kind of stuff, lap it up like play. One can start teaching botany and ecology via gardening, physics through simple experiments in mechanics, and chemistry through yummy experiments in cooking.

    Edward de Bono invented the CoRT Thinking Program. It teaches basic thinking skills at primary school level from 8-years-old and up, using weekly forty-minute lessons. It includes learning how to think ethically from the principle of causing no harm or greatest good. An example is thinking through the question, "Should kids be paid to go to school?' The kids tend to say "yes" at first, and arrive at "no' By the end of the class, having decided this for themselves through discussion of the possible results. I would like to see this program rolled out all over the world.

    The ability to think and to properly understand science does not prevent people from choosing religion. About three percent of scientists believe in a God of some kind.

    Because I'm a libertarian, I don't agree with any attempt at preventing people from believing in any faith - unless it can be proven to do serious harm to its adherents or others. Most religions probably tend to do more good than harm - though I realise this is debatable and depends on what one considers to be harm.
    I think religious private schools should by law present a science curriculum in addition to their religious teachings - so that as the kids grow older can choose what they believe for themselves.

    One could also teach comparative religion at high school level from twelve years of age. I believe this would help be more tolerant of one another's differing beliefs and customs.

    One of the things I find most interesting about Islam is that Mohammed was emphatic about the benefits of education and knowledge.

      November 13, 2019 5:37 PM MST

  • 9860
    Happy Dance!! :) :)
    As I think back through all the teachers that hold true in my memory years later, was Mr. Goodwin.  He was my first Science teacher.  Even though he taught all the other subjects too, he was my first introduction to science and I loved it. :) :)
    He was my 5th grade teacher. :) :)
      November 14, 2019 7:32 AM MST

  • 5488
    Perhaps the brightest mind in human history, Newton himself, spent years attempting to formulate reasoning for God’s existence, and was, by his own admission, thwarted at every turn by the evidence, or lack of it. 
    The unspoken price of faith is an inherent admission that the belief cannot be proven, has no basis in fact, or is not sufficiently understood by the believer. 
      November 13, 2019 2:35 PM MST

  • 4166
    I agree about the unspoke price.
    Many theologians make a virtue of doubt. They see it as a natural and necessary phase in deepening their faith.

    By some interpretations, (for instance, JWs,) the purpose of the Garden of Eden story is to show that God values faith for its own sake. To not believe is the first and primary sin. It has a circular quality: thou shalt believe in God because God commands it. He is a jealous God who demands belief as the first price of Heaven in the afterlife (in Christianity & Islam, but not Judaism.) The second price is repentance and living a virtuous life.

    I find this ironic because virtue causes its own rewards and needs no bribery.

    I wonder how Newton coped emotionally with living in a world surrounded by believers.
    I imagine he might have done what I did for most of my life, which was to avoid mentioning my lack of faith around believers. I was afraid of their possible reactions if they knew. In his time, I think open admission of agnosticism or atheism could have been fatal.
      November 13, 2019 5:53 PM MST

  • 5488
    Indeed. Look what expressing opposition did for Galileo. 
      November 14, 2019 6:19 AM MST

  • 631
    Hello there Don
    Its been a while since I have been on this site, I thought I would check in and saw your reply on this thread.
    If memory serves, you describe yourself as an "unabashed" Atheist, I would use that same description for myself.
    While you present a well described list of costs, billions of people throughout history have been willing to pay for it because they were getting something out of it. For many it has been gaining a sense of superiority over those who don't adhere to their beliefs, for others it was for "forgiveness", or guidance or a sense of comfort, we know that first group have done evil things in the name of their God.
    I do not look at those seeking, and finding through their faith guidance and comfort in the same way as I look at a child holding a belief in the Easter bunny or Santa Claus. 
    Many scholars and academics have held a faith in the unproven God, many men and women of reason have 'believed'.
    I am an Atheist, I need no God. I am fine with my mortality. I take my comfort in the experiences I have had, both good and bad, and those yet to come. I am thankful for the life I have and everything that led me to this place, that's enough for me.
    That being said I do not begrudge the grieving parent looking for comfort after the death of a child, or a parent using the teachings of their faith to teach an expectation of conduct.
    To assume ALL people of faith are ignorant backwoods uneducated fools, I just don't believe is true.
    I have read the Bible several times, not for spiritual, or divine reconciliation, rather in the same way I read Dante's' Inferno. I no more believe the fables of the bible than I believe Dante and Virgil actually and literally travelled down the rings of torment. I think the Bible is one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written, or compiled.
    Sure, people can pick at it to reinforce the reasons they don't believe while others use it to justify their beliefs, Me, unless I am being forced through threat to believe that in which I don't....I don't care (and the threat of a Hell doesn't count  Pffffftttt!!)
    Hope all is well, got any good road trips in the coach planned..

      November 13, 2019 7:02 PM MST

  • 5488

    Good to see you again, designer. 

    There is clearly a great deal we agree on. 

    For me, the issue with Theist faith isn’t people individually choosing to believe this or that, for whatever reasons they deem appropriate. It’s about the deeply flawed substance of what is believed, and thrusting it, with recurrent and predictable ignorance, into the general discourse as unerring reality. Forcing it into immature minds to further demonstrable fallacies, and empower the purveyors of dogma.  

    This, to me, is wickedness. It stunts our species, denigrates life and truth, and a coherent voice of dissent deserves a say. Or two. Unabashed...

    On the other thing: we are happily hunkering down here in Fla until spring. Winter seems to have arrived up north. Hate it. We did take the RV out to Tenn during Dorian, we escaped to the Great Smokies. 

    This post was edited by Don Barzini at November 14, 2019 3:25 PM MST
      November 13, 2019 8:08 PM MST