[Food & the Bible] Good Food, Bad Food


Scripture references: Genesis 1-3, Romans 8, 1 Timothy 2:5-7, 2 Peter 3:9-14

"Eat freely." This is the first command God gave His people. His first restriction was about food: "do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." And subsequently, mankind's rebellion against God began with a bite. From the beginning, food has been a key player in our relationship with God.

Our world is becoming very interested and opinionated about food:

The Whole 30, Organic, Gluten Free, Farm-Fresh, Local, Paleo, GMOs, Food Allergies, Sugar Free, All Natural. Documentaries like Supersize Me, Food Inc, Forks over Knives, and That Sugar Film all present different ideaologies about food: what we should eat, why we struggle with food, and how to fix it. Because the Bible has so much to say about food, it matters that we embrace and reject these ideas accordingly.

Whole Foods, a high end grocery store, printed this on their brown paper bags: "Buy Goods, Not Bads." A follow up design stated: "Feed your better nature." Whole Foods isn't the first company to jump on the concept of food morality, of good and bad foods. Plenty of people are seeking to eradicate the bad foods and produce more of the good. Here's the question: is the food bad or are we bad? Does bad food corrupt our bodies, or has our sin corrupted the food?

Let's go back to the beginning. Adam and Eve made the first bad food choice, dethroning God to become their own final authority. They chose their own wisdom above His and secured death for the human race. God's reaction to this defiance ripples into every area of life, including our food:

And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it.' Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Gen 3:17-19 (emphasis mine.)

All creation bears the curse of our sinful rebellion. The ground is cursed because of mankind's evil. We see Paul refer to this in Romans 8:19-21:

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Currently, creation is in bondage to corruption. Why? Because of the evil rebellion of mankind against Our Creator. The foods we eat today are corrupted; they are not as they should be. Just as our bodies are not as they should be. Death, corruption, decay, deterioration... All is a product of the sins of mankind. We cannot blame the decay of our bodies on the food we eat. It is corrupted because of us, not the other way around.

Sickness, allergies, cancer, disease, obesity, irritability, birth defects, and addiction are results of mankind's sin, not bad foods. True, what we eat is not all it should be, but that is ultimately our fault.

Please don't misunderstand me. If you are allergic to peanuts, that is not a punishment for your personal sin. And if it is proven that birth defects are found in mothers who ate chocolate chip cookies as kids, I'll be the first to ban them from my home. My point is this: The reason our foods and our bodies are malfunctioning, not responding optimally, and full of death and decay is because of SIN. We all eventually die and return to the dust because of SIN.

It's natural to want something to blame for the death around us and something to save us from it. If you blame bad food, then naturally the search will begin for good food. But even the most natural, organic, locally grown, GMO-free food cannot keep death away.

So what is the remedy? How can we be saved? By dealing with the source of the problem, the primary disease of mankind: sin.

There is only one mediator between sinful human beings and their Creator: the man Jesus Christ, the promised Seed of the woman. God Himself entered humanity as a baby, earning the only righteous record, bearing the full weight of of our sin-disease, and extending the antidote of salvation to all who will take His hand in faith. The primary reason we must have right thoughts about food is to preserve the Gospel. We cannot allow food moralism to dilute the power of the Gospel which can save us all. To do so is to give Tylenol to the man with a brain tumor to help his headache. His symptoms are gone, but he is still dying.

Of course, those who follow Jesus still experience the physical death of this world. But only temporarily. With the promised return of Christ comes the promise of a new heavens and a new earth, where no corruption, death, or decay will have a place.

But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 2 Peter 3:13-14

Do you long for a working body? For food that is as it should be? It is coming! Jesus' imminent return to earth means the complete eradication of evil and corruption. Not just in creation, but in us as well. If you have not forsaken your sinful rebellion toward your Creator and clung to the righteousness Christ offers, then you will be part of the corruption that will be justly swept away. The only hope for truly good food is the work of Jesus. And our only hope to experience it is the work of Jesus. With His return comes a new earth full of righteousness and only the righteous will inherit it.

Food does not have the power to destroy us. It does not have the power to save us. There is only One with that power. Have you put your hope in Him today?

For more posts in this series, click here.