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  • Writer's pictureChapman Chen

Why was Cain's VEGAN Offering Rejected by God? By Dr. Chapman Chen

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

"In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast." (Genesis 4:3-4 NIV).

1. "Offering" is Different from "Sacrifice"

Some animal flesh devourers seize upon this narrative to claim that God favored animal sacrifice as opposed to vegan offering as early as the second generation of humanity. But "offering" is different than "sacrifice". "While sacrifices are always offerings, offerings do not always have to be sacrifices," as put by Andrew Michael Denny (2022:100),.

Now, both Cain and Abel brought offerings instead of sacrifices to God though the former offered fruits and the latter sheep.

2.Minchah מִנְחָה (Offering) is Usually Grain

According to Strong's Concordance, minchah מִנְחָה (offering) means a gift, a tribute, an offering made to God, which, according to Brown-Driver-Briggs, could be of any kind, whether grain or animals, but is usually grain (Note 1).

Zebach זֶבַח (sacrifice), on the other hand, according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance and Brown-Driver-Briggs, is invariably slaughtered animal sacrifice (Note 2).

3. A Living Sample of Abel's Good Work

Although Abel did offer some of the firstborns of his flock to God, they did not constitute a sacrifice for they were never slaughtered. They were just a living sample of Abel's good work, a live demonstration of how well he had taken care of God's creatures. And of course, God, as spirit (John 4:24) would not slaughter the lambs Himself and chew their flesh. If Abel had actually offered an animal sacrifice, God would have rejected it, too, for God is LOVE (1 John 4:7) and He detested animal sacrifices (Isaiah 1:11-12, Greek Septuagint Bible; Psalm 50:7-14, 23; Psalm 50:8; Psalm 51:16-17; Hosea 6:6).

Many people may challenge this interpretation on the ground that our English Bibles add "fat portions" (cf. Denny 2022:100).

4. "Fat Portions" (cheleb חֶלֶב) Means the Choicest

In reality, in the Hebrew version, "fat portions" is cheleb חֶלֶב, which, according to NAS Exhaustive Concordance, means best or fat or finest (Note 3). As no sacrifice is mentioned in Genesis 4, "fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock" should mean the best or the choicest firstlings of Abel's flock.

5. The Intent of the Heart

Then why did God not accept Cain's offering despite the fact that it was vegan? The answer given by the apostle John is:- "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother... Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous" (1 John 3:11-12 KJV).

In conclusion, Jehovah rejected Cain's plant offering but accepted Abel's animal offering because the intent of the former's heart was unrighteous (cf. Denny 2022:102), NOT because God despised vegan offerings. Equally importantly, Abel's animal offering was by no means animal sacrifice, which God would have detested. Indeed, God says in Hosea 6:6 (KJV), "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."


Note 1:

Note 2:

Note 3:


Chen, Chapman (2022) "Meatism is Animal Sacrifice Detested by God." HKBNews, 29 Jun.

Denny, Andrew Michael (2022). Shifting the Torah Paradigm -- Exploring Animal Sacrifice in the Context of Creation. Bloomington: LifeRich Publishing.

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