The Original Diet
Genesis 1-2 provides us a beautiful picture of God’s provision and bounty. Life first flourished in the Garden of Eden. God is our Father. When he created man, he created everything that was necessary to help him survive and thrive physically and emotionally.
Before The Fall, God had provided everything that man needed to sustain his body, and it was good – it was more than enough.
“And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground, the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil…And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…”
The diet in the Garden was essentially raw: raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, leaves, etc. Both animal and man enjoyed an herbivorous diet.
“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 see in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.”
The earth, and The Garden in particular, was more than able to bare enough food to not only sustain man but also beast and birds. If The Fall had never occurred and man was still living in The Garden, the earth would still be able to accommodate each and every person and each and every animal that were since born. This was God’s original design and plan, and he said of it all, “It is good”.
We don’t know how long man lived in the Garden, but after The Fall, everything changed. The earth produced thorns and thistles and weeds instead of the easy bounty it once had. Man had to work by the sweat of his brow to garner produce. The Tree of Life was no longer available to sustain man’s immortality and food became something that he was dependent on for life itself. Man’s diet changed to include bread and the “plants of the field” provided by weeds and wheat the earth produced. Blood was shed by both man and beast and God himself was the first to kill an animal to provide clothing for man.
After The Fall and before the time of Noah, it is reasonable to assume that man was able to cook his food using fires and even ovens of a sort. (After all, Tubal-cain was a metal-smith and to work with metal one needs fire and an oven.) During this period, the diet, also known as the “Antediluvian Diet” of mankind included the raw foods of the Garden as well as cooked fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes. We can also assume that the people ate meat, at least to an extent, since Jabal was the father of all nomads who take care of livestock. The people would have naturally killed the animals for food when the “foods of the field” were scarce – or at the very least, made use of the meat of animals killed by other beasts.
In the time of Noah, God killed all the animals and people who were not on the Ark. When Noah and his family and every living thing that was with them came off the Ark, God allowed them to eat every moving thing that lives, the green plants and everything else that could be considered food. The only rule was that meat must be cooked so that the blood was no longer in it. In addition to this, on God’s command, Noah had taken with him “every sort of food that is eaten” into the Ark and more than likely used the seeds from the food to plant trees and gardens and vineyards when he and his family disembarked from the Ark. So not only was raw and cooked fruits, vegetables, seeds, breads and legumes part of the diet of man, it now included clean meats and seafood.
However, in the time of Moses, God added restrictions to the peoples’ diet. Where the consumption of specific animals were not previously prohibited, when the Law was given, God commanded the people to eat only the meat of animals which, “has a split hoof, divided in two, and that chews the cud, but not an animal that only chews the cud or only has a split hoof”. In addition, “Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales” was to be regarded as unclean. The people of God were also to regard different birds, including certain owls and kites as unclean and they were not to eat insects of any kind unless they had four legs and were able to hop, like locusts or grasshoppers.These restrictions were set in place to protect the people of God from food-borne diseases and pathogens. They also served as a symbol to everyone that Jews were separated unto the Lord, apart from all the other peoples of the world.
God’s provision of food over the millennia is perfect for mankind to grow in health and vigor, to sustain their life and build their bodies. There is nothing that God provided for us that is lacking or deficient in some way. Today though, with our sanitation regimes and destruction man has brought upon the earth (pollution, erosion, etc.) it is hard to imagine such a perfect provision. If people were to eat the raw diet of The Garden today without further supplementation, they would be lacking in vitamins like B12 (commonly produced by bacteria on vegetables which when consumed is used to provide B12) because our foods, even organic foods, are cleaned and sanitized so thoroughly.
Even considering that vitamin supplementation is necessary for full nutritional health today, the diet plan God set in motion from the time of The Garden is still more than enough for our daily sustenance. That has not changed in the thousands of years that have passed since the creation of the world. God in his wisdom, provided for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field; are we not more valuable than they? Just as much as he provides for the rest of creation, he provides for us, his children.
We know that God’s will is best and that he has laid out specific rules about every aspect of life in his word so that we can be healthy and safe, physically, in body and mind as well as spiritually. When we follow the plan that God has for us, even in regards to how we eat, it follows that we will see a difference in our lives.
Food is such a huge part of our lives. We spend much of our waking time thinking about, shopping for, preparing and consuming food. Daniel and his friends showed us the power of healthy eating when they consumed only vegetables and water for just ten days. Out of all of the people who enjoyed the king’s food, Daniel and his friends were very visibly the healthiest, simply because of what they ate – and it was obvious to everyone, even though they did not know why. The simple truth is that when we follow God’s rules for eating, we save ourselves from starvation and gluttony and eat so well that our bodies are literally renewed from the inside out.
 Gen 2:8-17
 Gen 1:29-30
 Gen 3:17-19, 22-23; Gen 4:8; Gen 6:5, 11-13
 Gen 4:22
 Gen 4:21
 Gen 6:21; 9:3-4
 Lev 11:3-4
 Lev 11:12
 Lev 11: 13-23
 Mat 6:25-26
 Psa 104: 27-29; Psa 111:5