I recently developed an interest in cooking, which is weird because I once worked as a short order cook in a Denny’s dinner. That was a different season in my life, and the one I’m in now includes an appreciation for healthy whole food, with sauce, please.
With my growing appreciation of food has come a growing awareness of how much food matters in the Bible. Think about it.
At the beginning of the Bible, humanity is greeted with a menu complete with “every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” At the end of the Bible, God throws a feast of the finest foods, vintage wines, multiple courses and gourmet desserts. The Bible talks about feasts and meals over one-thousand times. And when Jesus showed us God, he ate meals with a wide variety of people. And when Jesus spoke about Kingdom of God, he used the language of feasts, festivals, and meals. At His first miracle, Jesus turned 120-150 gallons of water into fine wine. When Jesus fed 5000, He gave out bread on a massive scale.
God thinks food is a good thing! It is a part of God’s good creation and eating will be a part of God’s renewed creation. Food is not left behind with the resurrection. And the only thing more generous than the menu will be the guest list.
I used to think that food was primarily fuel, but I was wrong. Food is not just fuel. It’s a gift to be enjoyed.
Think of your favorite food – marinated tri-tip perhaps. Or Thai green curry. Or ice cream. Or homemade peach pie. God could have rained fuel bars from heaven. Instead, God creates a vast and wonderful array of foods that can be combined together in myriad ways. We don’t need this variety, but God gives it to us out of sheer exuberant joy and grace.
Every time we cook or bake we express God’s cultural mandate to us. God gave us the world to care for and to cultivate. It was God’s good intention that we receive the materials of His world and use them to them to create science, culture, agriculture, music, technology, and cooking—all to His Glory.
And that means that every cake you bake or every fish you fry is an expression of God’s extravagant creativity. And every time you taste delicious food, you share the exuberant joy of the Creator who at the moment of creation declared all things good.