Christian vegetarianism has not been a common dietary choice throughout Church history. Some[who?] have argued, however, that "there is a long-standing tradition of vegetarianism in Christian history." The two most prominent forms are a spirituality-based vegetarianism (where vegetarianism is adopted as an ascetic practice, or as a way of opposing the sin of gluttony, in the hope it will draw the person to God) and an ethically-based vegetarianism (where it is adopted for ethical reasons; for example, those to do with the treatment of non-human animals). Christian ethical vegetarianism (or veganism) usually carries with it a commitment to the normative claim that (at least some) Christians should be vegetarians. For this reason, Christian ethical vegetarians often give a scriptural justification for their position. While there are biblical passages which provide support for ethical vegetarianism, there are also passages which seem to imply that eating animals is morally permissible.
See also: Jewish vegetarianism
One of the most important passages for Christian vegetarians is the first creation narrative in the book of Genesis. After creating humans, God addresses them in chapter 1, verses 29–30 as follows:
God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food". And it was so.
In this passage, God prescribes a plant-based diet not just for humans, but for all land-based non-human animals. Christian vegetarians and vegans point out that it was this creation—where all creatures ate plants—that God then declared "very good" in verse 31. Moreover, that God's initial creation was a vegan creation suggests that this is how God intended all his creatures to live. This idea—that God intended for all his creatures to eat plants—is sometimes further supported by noting that the vision of the Peaceable Kingdom found in Isaiah suggests that God will one day restore creation to such a state. Isaiah 11:6–9 reads:
The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.