There are many ways to think about God and food. If you are new on this journey--or even if you're not--consider Dr. Russell’s Three Principles (outlined in What the Bible Says about Healthy Living) for a simple starting point:
- Principle One: Eat only the foods that God created to be food for us.
- Principle Two: Eat those foods as close as possible to the form He made them.
- Principle Three: Don’t let any food or drink become an idol.
Here is a quick overview of the Three Principles. (A good resource for living them out is What the Bible Says about Healthy Living Cookbook: Simple and Tasty Recipes Featuring God’s Ingredients).
Principle 1: What are the foods that God has given us?
In Genesis 1:29, right after creating Adam, God gives mankind a smorgasbord of food: “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”
Wow-wee! From the beginning we are blessed with a wide range of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds to eat. The Creator who designed our anatomy and physiology also designed the fuel that nourishes us. Bonus: His foods are naturally disease fighting, inexpensive, and taste pretty good.
The Bible’s comments on food don’t end at Genesis 1:29. God gives mankind permission to eat meat in Genesis 9. He commands His people to eat lamb on Passover (see Exodus 12). And the entire chapter of Leviticus 11 is devoted to explaining which animals God designed to eaten and which ones He did not.
I have lot more to say about the topic of meat. If you are interested, read Holy Cow! Does God Care about What We Eat?, which is essentially a walk through what the Bible says about eating meat. You can read excerpts here and here.
Principle 2: Eat the foods as close as possible to the form God gave them.
Does this mean an all-raw diet? No.
The beauty of Dr. Russell’s Three Principles is that it gives us general guidelines to use to help us on the journey of healthy eating. Are raw vegetables some of the world’s healthiest foods? Absolutely. But I would crawl under the covers--and stay there--if I were forced to eat an all-raw diet. This principle helps us move towards God’s perfect foods, without forcing us to hit a bull-eye right away.
Here is an example. Corn fresh from the cob is closer to God’s given state than frozen corn. Frozen corn is closer than corn bread. Freshly-made corn bread is closer than Cheetos.
The beauty of this principle? It gives us a decision-making tool to use at the grocery store, at restaurants or at home.
Principle 3: Don’t let any food or drink become an idol.
Does this need a lot of explanation? God’s teaching against idolatry--worshipping anyone or anything other than God--fills the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
Unfortunately, in a practical, daily way, who among us can truthfully say that we aren’t somehow ensnared to some type of food or drink? Can’t start the day without a cup of Joe? Could you survive after lunch without a piece of chocolate? What if you couldn’t have that glass of wine after dinner?
Take heart: it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
God provides a variety of of avenues for freedom from slavery to any kind of sin, including idolatry to food and drinks. In addition, resources abound for helping you implement all three of principles into your life. I will be writing more about this topic in the weeks to come. In the meantime, remember that healthy living is a marathon, not a sprint. Just take it one step at a time.