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Food in the Pentateuch - Essay Example

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It is difficult for us in a modern society with such variety of choices and convenience associated with our consumption of food to fully appreciate the day-to-day labor that was required just to get enough food to stay alive in these ancient societies. For many in ancient civilizations, hunger and starvation were only a drought or a poor harvest away. A lack of medicine for herds of animals meant the spread of disease meant flocks could be decimated in a short span of time. These precarious circumstances mad food an especially powerful subject to use symbolically. The recognition that God’s pleasure or displeasure could be measured by good or bad harvests links the earthly need for physical sustenance to the divine nature of God. In many ways, food is the perfect medium to use for symbolic teaching of great spiritual truths.
From the very beginning of creation, food has been used as a symbol of the forbidden and the allowable, the sacred and the profane. The Garden of Eden, created for the first man and woman to inhabit was a place brimming with food and fruit of all sorts. Adam and Eve were invited by God to partake of any fruit they wished, save one. Adam in this sense is portrayed as a sort of farmer without labor. Fruit was produced spontaneously in the garden as a symbol of Gods immense goodness and his love for the creatures of the creation. The guidance given to the first man and woman were to live freely in the garden and to avoid only the fruit of the tree that would give Adam and Eve knowledge of good and bad. Without the partaking of this so-called forbidden fruit, Adam and Even would have dwelt eternally in a state of close association with God. However, their existence would have been one without growth and without true free will. They would have remained as obedient children, never understanding the true nature of obedience or ...Show more


The symbolic nature of food takes on various forms but centers on a few key themes. Food is used to differentiate between the sacred and the profane. It is used to display the power, might and majesty of God. Food is also…
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