Adam and Eve were vegans

A funny thing about reading the Bible: you often find things you did not notice the first 20 or 30 times you read or heard the passage.

My most recent trip back to the Bible, to the beginning of the Bible, was prompted by reading the new document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, “The Bible and Morality.” Basically, it says that God told Adam and Eve to be strict vegetarians — vegans, in fact — and that it was only after the Great Flood that God told Noah, and all humanity, that people could eat meat and fish.

The pope picks fruit on vacation in 2006. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Pope Benedict XVI picks fruit during his 2006 vacation in Les Combes, Italy. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Check for yourself. In Genesis 1:28-29, God tells Adam and Eve that he was giving them “every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit” to be their food — and that’s it. Then in Genesis 9:3-4, God tells Noah and his sons, “Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat; I give them all to you as I did the green plants. Only flesh with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat.” And, before setting the rainbow in the sky, God tells Noah that he is extending his promise to all living creatures.

The scholars, appointed by the pope to the biblical commission, cite the expansion of God’s covenant as part of their argument that respect for life in biblical morality “may well go beyond the interests of humanity alone to the point of warranting a new reflection on the preservation of animal and plant species.”