People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights nonprofit organization, has taken altruism one step further and used artificial intelligence to rewrite Genesis as a vegan manifesto, leading Bible scholars to fume over whether vegetarianism is indeed a Biblical concept.
The PETA Bible is barely recognizable, bearing few similarities to the original..
“In the beginning, God created heaven and the Earth. And the Earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” the PETA version begins. “He created animals of all shapes and sizes to live harmoniously with humans. Everyone marveled at their beauty and grace, and not a single thought of fur coats crossed their minds.”
“And finally, on the seventh day, God took a break. He looked at the world He had created, where animals and humans lived side by side in peace and harmony, free from exploitation and harm, and He knew it was good.”
“‘This,’ He thought, ‘is the world I want my children to live in, a world where compassion and kindness reign supreme and all beings are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve’.”
In the PETA universe, animals are referred to as “beings”. In Genesis Chapter 22, “Abraham travels to the land of Moriah and befriends a gentle lamb to show his reverence and respect for God’s creation, rather than slaughtering a ram to demonstrate his faith—much as human sacrifice, once a reality, is now outlawed all over the world”.
Bible scholars may not recognize the story of the aged Patriarch and Matriarch Abraham and Sarah. In the PETA version, they adopt a dog named Herbie rather than being blessed with a miraculous son named Isaac.
“As they walked with Herbie, Sarah and Abraham thought of the importance of adopting dogs from shelters and rescue organizations rather than purchasing them from breeders,” PETA’s version reads. “They spoke of how buying a dog or cat from a breeder or a pet shop contributes to the companion animal overpopulation crisis, as countless dogs and cats in shelters await loving homes while breeders continue to produce more puppies and kittens for profit.”
The book is being offered for sale on the PETA site.
“The Book: PETA’s Version of the Creation Story is a first-of-its-kind AI-generated vegan interpretation of the Book of Genesis,” PETA’s website announced. “The message in Genesis is that God created every sentient being, He saw that they were good, and He gave them greens for sustenance. In this new text, we include updated moral lessons and modern-day applications fit for the 21st century. This interpretation reminds readers to treat every member of God’s creation with love, kindness, and respect.”
While mimicking the Bible, PETA was critical of the original that was given at Sinai and guided humanity for several millennia.
“The Bible has long been used to justify all forms of oppression, so we’ve used ChatGPT to make it clear that a loving God would never endorse exploitation of or cruelty to animals,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “It took God only six days to create the entire world, but we realized it would take us years to rewrite the whole Bible, which is why we’ve started with just the first book.”
“Nothing in the Bible, the Torah, or the Quran justifies today’s meat, egg, dairy, or fishing industries, which desecrate the environment, destroy entire species of wildlife, pollute waterways, and inflict torment and death on billions of animals every year. Any person of faith looking to honor God and all His creations can save nearly 200 animals each year just by going vegan.”
Ken Ham, a Christian young Earth creationist who operates the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, wrote an editorial on the Answers in Genesis website, criticizing the PETA Bible.
“Not only is changing God’s Word both sinful and dangerous—but their vegan version (as one would expect from such perversion) completely misses the focus of the entire Bible: the revelation of God’s unfolding plan of redemption,” Ham wrote.
He also criticized using the term ‘being’ to refer to animals.
“This is an attempt to elevate animals, making them equal with humans,” Ham wrote. “But Genesis does not support this. Animals are not made in God’s image—only people are (Genesis 1:27)—and mankind was given dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:28). This, of course, is not a greedy, overreaching rule that cares nothing for what God has made. Rather it’s a godly dominion that sees us as stewards of what God has made and entrusted to us. But in order for us to be godly stewards, we must maintain the distinction between humans, made in God’s image, and animals.
The Jewish tradition is slightly different. While rewriting the Bible is absolutely proscribed, the question of vegetarianism and vegan diets is more textured. Rabbi Akiva Gersh has a website titled “Vegan Rabbi” and teaches about veganism in Jewish sources.
“Judaism is replete with teachings, from Jewish law to Jewish mysticism, that emphasize the importance of being compassionate towards animals,” Rabbi Gersh writes. “Just as Judaism cares greatly about how we act towards other humans, it also takes a great interest in how we treat God’s other creations.
“Yet we know that Judaism allows for using and killing animals for food, so much so that when people think about kosher food they often think about it being ‘meat’ or ‘dairy’.”
He notes that according to Jewish tradition, Adam and Eve were vegan. In fact, humans were vegan until after the flood of Noah when God gave them permission to eat meat…with restrictions. It was forbidden to rip the limb from a living animal or to eat blood (
“According to Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel, this permission was a temporary concession born out of humanity’s spiritual and moral decline (which is why there was a flood in the first place),” Rabbi Gersh wrote. “God was concerned that the desire to eat meat might become so overpowering that it would lead to humans killing other humans for food if they weren’t permitted to kill animals for food.”
“Rabbi Kook also believed that one day we will return to the original diet that God gave humanity, writing of a time that all people will have the understanding that one should not take the life of any living, sentient being out of necessity or craving.”
Rabbi Gersh noted that additional prohibitions were placed on the Jews at Sinai, restricting them to eating herbivores. He describes the Halachot (Rabbinic laws) concerning the consumption of meat as being “mindful and respectful to the inherent value of the life of the animal”.
“The way I see it, these ancient Jewish laws serve to infuse some of the idealism of the Adam and Eve diet into the Human Diet 2.0,” Rabbi Gersh wrote. “To train us to be aware and sensitive to the taking of another life to sustain one’s own. To instill in the consumers of animals a sense of mindfulness and appreciation.”
“While I am proud that the Jewish tradition contains these above-mentioned laws and values, it seems that they can only be fully applied in a world that existed before industrialization and globalization. A world based more on local economies, before family farms became factory farms, when the distance from farm to table could often be measured in steps.”
Rabbi Gersh emphasized that he did not believe that eating meat is fully acceptable under Jewish law.
“The conditions of factory farms, the horrible ways that animals are treated, and the environmental degradation that is caused by the meat, dairy and egg industries, has created a different reaity,.” Rabbi Gersh said. “Eating animals from these industries is not in line with Jewish laws and values, and almost all of the meat, dairy and eggs that people eat today comes from these industries.”
“We’re living in a world that is completely different than it has been for the past thousands of years, and we need to apply our ancient laws and values accordingly,” Rabbi Gersh said. “The time has come to take on the original vegan diet which, as Rav Kook states, humanity is destined to return to.”