Detail from a painting by Annie Knibb. ©Annie Knibb
What did God instruct humans to eat before their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, and how is that relevant to us today? Have a listen, or read below. My Christian brothers and sisters, today I invite you to take a fresh look at a common subject: food. Did you know that in the book of Genesis God explicitly prescribes for us an entirely plant-based diet? In Genesis 1: 29 it says, “And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant-yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” Even the animals in the Garden of Eden are to eat plants. All of God’s creatures to whom he has given the breath of life, whether human or animal, are to find their food from among the plants and trees. Genesis 1 continues: “And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” So what happened? Well, we know what happened. The Fall. Death. Sin. Violence. Bloodshed. In fact, humanity’s violence was so abhorrent to God that he decided to wipe us off the face of the earth, with the exception of Noah, his family and the animals God led to the ark. In Genesis 6: 13 it says “And God said to Noah, ‘ I have determined to make an end of all flesh for the earth is filled with violence through them.’” Did you know that it was not until after the Flood, generations later, that as a concession to human depravity, God granted humans permission to eat the flesh of animals? We see this in Genesis 9, where it says “every moving thing that lives shall be food for you” (v. 3). We know, however, that this was not God’s best will for us. We know it first of all, from the account in Genesis 1. We also know that God abhors violence – his own words say so. In his original design, eating did not involve killing. If that’s not enough, we need only look ahead to the description of God’s kingdom provided by the prophet Isaiah. When Christ comes again to rule the earth, once again, just like in the Garden of Eden, there will be no killing. The famous lion and the lamb passage in Isaiah 11 ends like this: “Nothing shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” And just to make sure we don’t forget his message, Isaiah reiterates the exact same thing again in chapter 65: “The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,’ says the Lord.” God’s kingdom is one of peace, for ALL his creatures. We pray as Christ taught us: Father, Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Think about that. I ask you, in all earnestness and humility, to consider whether these very words we speak with our mouths might not bear some implications for what we put in our mouths.