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We learn from Genesis (1:27) that man is created in the image and likeness of God. Christians are commanded to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48).

These taken together suggest to me that the ideal Christian life lies in striving to live as befits one created in God's image and likeness to the greatest extent possible.

One cannot imagine (I think) God arbitrarily destroying His creatures for pleasure. This being the case, are there Christian denominations claiming to be "Bible-based" that see a Biblical basis for killing animals solely for sport? If so, what Scriptures do they refer to?

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    The church of Nimrod perhaps ? – Kris May 9 '17 at 18:07
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    Are you asking only about 'biblica basis'? Because if so, you're fairly likely to find that the bible doesn't talk about hunting for sport, any more than it talks about riding steam trains or using the internet. – DJClayworth May 9 '17 at 18:56
  • In this particular case it would seem that killing creatures for sport contradicts what I cited from the Bible, but many evangelicals in my area are avid sport hunters. One claimed that there is basis for killing animals for sport in the Bible. – guest37 May 9 '17 at 19:12
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    Maybe you could get him to answer the question? – Lee Woofenden May 9 '17 at 21:27
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    @LeeWoofenden - There are personal reasons why I chose not to ask the individual in question directly. It would have created an awkward and maybe confrontational situation. The statement was made off hand to a family member. I would like to understand, though, whether there is some commonly understood interpretations of Scripture that imply that there is nothing wrong with killing animals for fun. – guest37 May 10 '17 at 1:44
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As another answer stated - there aren't many [if any] denominations in mainstream Western groups that demarcate themselves or make a statement on hunting, etc...

So, assuming we say that the basic answer to the question is "there aren't denominations that specifically call out hunting" - we can then move to other forms of analyzing why the statement may have been made.

Therefore, OP may also be running into the distinctions between the Regulative and Normative theological interpretation and not necessarily denomination specific distinctives. In fact, there may not by any reason to believe the statement is anything other than a personal belief without more information from OP.

To put it very very simply

Regulative Theology: One is not to do anything not explicitly commanded in Scripture

Normative Theology: One is allowed to do anything not explicitly forbidden in Scripture

So - your friend's statement that there is a 'Biblical basis' for sport hunting could stem from a normative interpretation of the Bible, in that, since it is not expressly mentioned/forbidden, it is allowable.


Additionally, there could be a nearly infinite number of self-identified 'denominations' that it would be impossible to definitely answer the question as stated. With that in mind, we can look at the more well-recognized denominations (as opposed to splinter groups, Westboro-esque, etc...)

Southern Baptist Convention: no mention of hunting, animals, or environmental management of any kind in the official 2000 Baptist Faith and Message

United Methodist Church: no mention of hunting, animals, or environmental management of any kind in the Articles of Relgion

Note: UMC does include a note about earthly stewardship in the Social Principles: The Natural World section of their website. However, there is not a specific word on sport hunting one way or the other

(other references coming as I get the time :)

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. Thanks for offering an answer here. While interesting, it doesn't actually answer the specific question asked. For more on writing good answers here, see: What makes a good supported answer?. – Lee Woofenden May 10 '17 at 21:54
  • Thanks for the comment @LeeWoofenden Given the tag associated with the question "biblical basis" - I feel my original answer, pre-edits was indeed actually acceptable. I have gone ahead and made additional edits (and will continue to as time allows) because a more complete answer is possible. – NKCampbell May 10 '17 at 22:19
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    Thank you for offering an answer, but please be aware that I am not asking about hunting in general, but rather hunting only for sport (i.e. not for subsistence). Perhaps you understood this, but I wanted to clarify. – guest37 May 10 '17 at 22:42
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    @guest37 I think you are aware of the hundreds, possibly thousands, of denominations of Christianity available to choose from in America alone. Which denominations subscribe turns into a list question/answer beyond this site's scope. – KorvinStarmast May 11 '17 at 17:04
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    @Guest37, I think it's OK for people do interpret "Which denominations" as "do any denominations" and then come up with reasons why or why not anyone would think that way. If it seems like everyone is poking holes in your premises, it might be worth it to re-evaluate your question! – Peter Turner May 11 '17 at 17:27
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I don't know of any Christian denomination which holds there is a biblical basis to hunting animals for sport, however, for any person, or denomination which might choose to do so, I submit that Genesis 1:28 would provide ample justification:

... and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." [RSV]

  • I think that scripture gen 1:28 is the only" biblical basis" a sport hunting Christian would bring to the table @guest37 you may find hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/2860/… Of interest a discussion of the meaning of dominion on BHSE – Kris May 10 '17 at 12:02
  • Man's dominion over the earth ended with the Fall (Gen 3:17-19). Nor would have the verse implied what you say before the Fall, since prior to the Fall there was no death (cf. Romans 5:12). Even without this, though, it would be contradictory for man - created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:27)- to destroy without cause that which God Himself saw as being very good (Gen 1:31), nor even to destroy animals for food, since he had been given plants to serve as food (Gen 1:29). Even animals did not kill each other for food at that time (Gen 1:30). – guest37 May 10 '17 at 13:23
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    Not everybody would agree with the above. – DJClayworth May 10 '17 at 13:48
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    @guest37 interestingly dominion over animals was given before the fall but permission to eat them didn't come till after the flood. At any rate you are arguing from a right or wrong position but your question just asks what a trophy hunting Christian would use as biblical support this answer provides it . If you are asking a right or wrong truth question that is not a good fit for this site. – Kris May 10 '17 at 14:03
  • @Kris - I am just addressing the claim that Genesis 1:28 provides "ample justification". – guest37 May 10 '17 at 14:44
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Hunting for sport is neither defended nor condemned by the Bible. I struggled to find any official church statements for or against hunting, though this, this, this, and this article give a good (albeit inconclusive from a moral perspective) overview of viewpoints.

In considering a biblical basis for sport hunting, the first thing that comes to mind is Genesis 1:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:28, KJV)

This could be read as either a blessing (I give you dominion), or it could be read as a commandment (show your dominion) – or both.

It could also be argued that hunting for sport took place in the Bible, without criticism. Esau, for example, used hunting to provide food for his family, but his title as a "cunning hunter" (Genesis 25:27) points towards him enjoying hunting in a competitive way, as a sport or pastime. Although Esau was ultimately not the favored sibling, his love for hunting was nowhere criticized.

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