Saturday, March 10, 2012

A "Perfect" Diet?

Bosch Last Judgement DetailI was having a conversation with a some Christian friends about the "perfect" diet. We quickly came to the conclusion that while some foods are nutritionally superior (and others hardly qualify as "food"), there's no such thing as the perfect diet. 

That's because there are no perfect foods—all of our food is grown in a post-Fall, imperfect world. After Adam and Eve sinned, God declared that the ground was cursed (Genesis 3:17). So all of the edible plants in the world have been growing from cursed ground since that time. All animals have eaten those plants, and carnivores have eaten other animals that ate the plants. In essence, all vegetables, fruits, grains, meat, and animal products (e.g. milk, butter, lard) are contaminated.

Though every food is contaminated, eating it generally doesn't result in immediate death! That's because food itself doesn't kill us. Not even Krispy Kremes.

God had told Adam, "[The ground] will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains" (Genesis 3:18). God provided a source for food, so Adam wouldn't starve, and God also made the food edible (not poisonous/deadly) so Adam wouldn't keel over after the first time he ate food that he'd grown for himself, from the cursed ground.

But this food that Adam works for isn't like the food of Eden. And while there certainly are very nutritious foods available to us today, even our so-called superfoods aren't like the fruit that grew from the Tree of Life. All of our food comes from cursed ground, and there are no meals available on earth that can keep us in perfect health and provide eternal life. 

It's God who provides health and life to us, until the day He has designated for each person to die. While food certainly can be an idol, or something that we make to be greater than God, it isn't the true source of life or the true cause of death.

We can honor God by eating foods that we know will best satisfy the body's nutritional requirements. By doing this, we recognize that God's design of the body is good. Eating well, then, is an act of worship.


ruben said...

Hi Holly! I miss our theological talks so here is my push back on your article. The curse you refer to in Genesis is perhaps not so much referring to the quality of plants/fruit as much as it relates to how man will eat from the ground. Remember before the fall the ground freely gave of its fruit, but afterwards man had to toil and "work" the land to eat. Therefore the curse has all to do with the land being restrained from producing freely and in a way working with God to care for humanity.

Holly said...

Hi Ruben! I'm taking a page from Talbot prof. J.P. Moreland's playbook on this one. He says stuff like natural disasters are a logical result of the ground being cursed. Both the earth and the concept of work are under a curse, and both will be redeemed one day by God.

The point I was trying to make here is that after the fall, God no longer preserved the ground to be perfect and pristine. The ground and water have been "corrupted" (literally, polluted) by sinful human actions because God has not kept the ground perfect or prevented the sin that has caused the ground to become contaminated.

I really like that Adam was working before the fall: "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it" (Gen. 2:15). Work only begins to be nasty after Adam sins. So work was created to be God's blessing to us. Am looking forward to the day when work will be a complete joy again. :)

ruben said...

Oh Talbot, that explains all of it then! I kid of course, yeah I can see his explanation.

I believe that the day your are waiting for has arrived, in a way. In Christ we have been set free to find and work our vocation in his kingdom here and at the same time not yet.