Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Food and drink, why does God require or need them?
Dr. Newman answers.

QUESTION 21

I came across this person on YouTube who claims to be "a former Christian, and now a Secular Humanist and Atheist." He claims that the Old Testament is all based on Sumerian mythology, the Exodus never happened etc. 

He says, "If God is immortal why does he "need" to have meals prepared for him by his priests daily? He traces this concept to Sumerian (Mesopotamian) notions at Ur of the Chaldees, the home of Abraham." 

Ezekiel describes in great detail the feeding of God in the post Exilic Messianic Age at the Temple (Ezekiel 37:21-26; 44:7, 15)." 

According to Christian belief the resurrected righteous will be given eternal life, they will be immortal like God. If they are immortal why should they need to eat and drink? This makes no sense and is but another example of religious nonsense! The Christian notion that after death, man will eat and drink once again is not a new concept. The Mesopotamians understood that after death the dead, good and evil, who dwelt in Edin-the-Underworld would continue to eat and drink (eat clay and drink muddy water in the underworld).

 How would you answer/refute this? Particularly the question, "Why does God "need" to consume food and drink?"

Thanks in advance.

God bless,

Dylan.

ANSWER:

Dylan:

I don’t know where to start. Let me respond to several of the issues he brings up, based on the information you have given me. The short answer to your specific question is, “God does not need to consume food and drink.” Let me try to develop an answer to the several issues.

1. It is obvious that He does not like God, and in particular Jesus Christ or Christians. I don’t know his reasons why, but he is desperate to defend his personal decision to reject Christ. That is his problem. Reason does not matter to him, nor do facts. He needs our prayer.

2. The Old Testament is not based on Sumerian mythology. The opposite is true. The Old Testament records go back to the beginning of the universe. It is true that the Old Testament writers were aware of that mythology, because they spoke against the pagan gods and idols. The Old Testament was written in that culture and general time. Paul said that those religious people suppressed the truth, rejected it, and believed a lie (Romans 1:18-23). Consequently, Old Testament truth came first.

3. Actually, the Exodus did happen. It is an accepted fact of history. The only question is when, and exactly where was the route. I don’t know what to say. It is like trying to answer someone who says the sun doesn’t exist. How do you respond?

4. From your information, he is obsessed with the concept that God must eat food to stay alive. The contradiction he invents, as I understand it, is since God is alleged to be eternal (immortal), then why would He need to be fed food to keep Him alive. Consequently, God is not eternal. The result is that Christians are fools.

Well, two things can be said. If God is eternal, which the Bible claims, then He existed before the creation of the physical universe. Consequently, he was able to live very healthy for a very long time without food, because it hadn’t been created yet – at least food as we know it in this world.

The second thing is that God does not need to eat food. The Bible references he cites (Ezekiel 37:21-26; 44:7, 15), and as does all the Old Testament sacrificial system, is just that: a sacrifice to God. God does not get hungry, and need food to satisfy His hunger. The entire sacrificial system points ahead to the final, complete sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. The priests did not bring food to the temple to feed God, nor does He require them to feed Him. It was a form of worship.

After all, God tells us, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My have made all these things, thus all these things came into being,’ declares the Lord” (Isaiah 66:1, 2).

 Again, Paul teaches, “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things” (Acts 17:24, 25).

The position of the gentleman you refer to is so far from reality, I am somewhat dumbfounded as how to answer. It falls into what Paul wrote Timothy, “But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness…But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels” (2 Timothy 2:16, 23).

5. The last issue is that he attempts to prove that Christians are not immortal, because we will eat and drink after our resurrection. In other words, as I understand, resurrected Christians need food to sustain their life. If they don’t find some food, they will die; thus, we are not immortal and will die - or cease somehow to exist. 

The poor man simply does not know the Bible, or else he delights in twisting it. My main point is this: our resurrected “life” does not come from food, but from the Holy Spirit. He has two major assumptions that collide with reality. The first assumption is that we will need food to live forever (which we don’t); secondly, life is in our physical bodies (which it isn’t). Now, let me talk about life and food for a bit. 

What about life?

First, our resurrected body will be the same, yet different than the one we have now. It will be a “spiritual” body. Paul wrote, “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there in one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another (1 Corinthians 15:39, 40). Our resurrected bodies will be like that of Jesus in His resurrected body (Philippians 3:20, 21).

One of the differences is that our physical (earthly) body has the life sustaining force in our blood (Leviticus 17:11). However, the Holy Spirit, not food, gives life to our resurrected bodies, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you” (Romans 8:11).

Our resurrected body will be a real, physical body of flesh and bone, but which is adapted for Heaven. But again, the life sustaining principle is the Holy Spirit, not blood. To push this idea a little more, Paul said, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50). However, Jesus said that His body was one of “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). Evidently, the blood (which now sustains life in our present physical body) is the key distinction that sets off our present natural body from a future resurrected spiritual body. 

When Jesus was crucified His blood left and His physical expression of life with it. His blood either poured onto the ground, or He took it to the heavenly Holy of Holies, “and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12).

What about food?

That sums up the matter of where life comes from. Now, let me take up the issue of food. Resurrected Christians will eat food, but probably for feasts and fellowship. The reason I say this is that Jesus, after His resurrection, ate food. When Jesus appeared to His disciples, he demonstrated that He was not a ghost. He displayed His body, and the people even touched Him. Then, Luke writes, “He said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them” (Luke 24:41-43; cf. Acts 10:40, 41).  

In another place, Isaiah writes of life during the Millennial Kingdom,“”And the Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; a banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, and refined, aged wine” (Isaiah 25:6). Of course, there will still be people in “unresurrected” bodies who populate the earth during that time. But, I hope we resurrected ones are invited too!

In heaven, just before the second advent of Christ, Saint John speaks of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb to His bride (Revelation 19:9). A “supper” implies food.

Third, let take this from another angle. The Israelites complained about the lack of good food while wandering in the desert. Moses recorded, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you” (Exodus 16:4; Nehemiah 9:15).

The Psalmist calls this heaven sent manna, “the bread of angels,” and again, “the bread of heaven” (Psalm 78:25; 105:40).  

Well, what does this mean? Manna is food that came from heaven where the angels hang out. It could mean that angels eat this food. Some interpret this to mean food fit for angels. Others see it as bread from heaven, the dwelling place of angels.

Now, let me switch scenes for a bit, and I will come to my point. People confronted Jesus with this exchange, 

“Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’ Jesus therefore said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world…I am the bread of life” (John 6: 31-35).

Jesus did affirm that the manna came from heaven. However, He also said that the manna was a symbol (type) of something greater. It actually pointed to the Christ who gives life. Life is from Christ, not manna or any other food. 

So, what is my point? Food is a part of heaven, and of God’s order of things in this creation – but it does not give or sustain life. It keeps our physical bodies going in our existence in this world, but it does not give life. After all, a fat man can eat a great meal of steak and potatoes, and turn around and fall dead. Life is not in the food, but in Christ and the Holy Spirit. 

Where is life?

Here I return to that assumption of our skeptic that life resides in the physical body. Evidently, he does not believe we have a spirit and soul. But, we do have a spirit and soul, and that is where life resides. 

It fits right in with the doctrine of regeneration. Paul writes, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world…But God…even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:1…4…5). 

Paul was writing to people who were physically alive at the time. But, he called them dead. They couldn’t be dead physically and still read his words. They were spiritually dead. God made them alive in their spirits. It is called the, “spiritual rebirth,” or as Jesus said, “born again.”

1 Corinthians 6:13, 14.

One final word about food. I am sure that someone will grasp this verse, and try to invent a contradiction. Paul writes these words, “Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food; but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body. Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power” (1 Corinthians 6:13, 14).

Someone may say, “See, God will destroy food and the stomach! So, how can food be in God’s future plans?”

Well, several things can be said in return. First, if one takes this position, then our gentleman in question loses the argument, because Paul said God will do away with food and stomachs; consequently, Christians won’t need food in the resurrected body. Ironically, I guess Christians in the resurrected state won’t have stomachs, but everything else they will have: arms, feet, liver, tongues, intestines, etc. 

But, indeed, we must have stomachs, because Jesus ate food and drank liquid; consequently, the food must have gone somewhere! At least, I cannot find in the Bible anywhere that God cut out Jesus’ stomach, but left all the other appendages.

Secondly, the contradiction might come between this verse and all the others that say food is a part of God’s future order of creation. So, what does the verse mean? As with everything, context is king in Bible interpretation.

Paul is trying to dissuade the Corinthians from sexual immorality. They were having a big problem with it in his time. Their argument went like this: food and stomachs go together. When we are hungry, we just go find some food that satisfies our stomach. Likewise, when we have sexual urges, we just need to go find someone to have sex with to satisfy our urges.

Paul retorts by saying, and I paraphrase, “Look, hunger, food, and stomachs as we know them in this life will cease. However, our bodies are not for satisfying sexual urges, but they belong to Christ – who indwells us.”  Paul says our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit to glorify God, not to join with and be satisfied with a temple prostitute. In fact, Paul confirms the fact of our bodily resurrection, and since we are joined with Christ, we are eternal, or immortal – and food is not a necessary part of our future existence. It will be there, but we won’t need it.

Dylan, I hope this helps, and that I did not ramble on too much. All the best to you, and God bless. If this doesn’t make sense, let me know, and I will try to do better.

Dr. Newman

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