Friday, June 08, 2012

Food: a thing indifferent?

Does the Biblical worldview have any relevance to what we eat? Yes it does. When writing to the Corinthians the apostle Paul said, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31) In gathering, preparing and eating meals, we have a God-given obligation to glorify Him. This is true of food just as it is true of “whatever you do.”

There are many ways that we can fail to glorify God with our food. Food prepared in anger, food eaten with a grumbling heart instead of a spirit of gratefulness, or food eaten to excess, are just some of the many ways it is possible to sin (and therefore fail to glorify the Lord) while eating.

But can we go further than this? Sure, God cares about attitude issues in how we eat, but does He actually care what we eat? God cares about the attitude in which we receive the soup, but is He really interested in what goes in the pot?”

One popular Christian has stated emphatically and repeatedly in numerous articles, blog posts, and online videos that God does not care what you eat. In one article discussing 1 Corinthians 8:7-13, this teacher wrote,
“Food is adiaphora, a thing indifferent. God doesn’t care what we eat. We are no better off if we eat certain things, and we are no worse off if we refrain. God doesn’t care what we order off the menu, just so long as we are grateful for it.”
Elsewhere this same teacher comments, “The starting point is that God doesn't care what you eat.” Provided we do not sin while eating, the menu for a spiritually mature Christian is open-ended.

Or is it?

Putting aside for the moment that in 1 Corinthians 8 Paul was addressing the question of food sacrificed to idols and was not making a blanket statement about food being adiaphora (indifferent) in any absolute sense, we may question the scientific accuracy of the assertion that “We are no better off if we eat certain things.” But we also question the Biblical accuracy of it.

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