Did Adam Eat?

During our fellowship meal at Providence Church, I was stunned by an obvious question I had never considered: Did Adam and Eve need to eat?  Could they starve themselves?  Since “death came to all men” as a result of sin and the Fall (Ro. 5:12), would Adam and Eve have died if they did not eat, before the Fall?

I came up with two answers.  First, God created food to be eaten (Gen. 1:29) and gave Adam permission to eat of every tree, except the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 2:16-17), so we can assume God also created Adam and Even with a desire to eat.  Perhaps their eating would be a pleasurable eating, and not the driving hunger we experience now.  Since everything has been affected by the Fall, it’s safe to guess their desire for food would have been different than ours.   Perhaps it was like our sexual desires: a genuine desire and need, but not essential for sustaining our lives.

But, the second answer makes some of that speculation unneccessary.  If we read Genesis closely, we see that God gave Adam permission to eat from every tree, except from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and this would include the permission to eat from Tree of Life.  It was only after the Fall that eating from the Tree of Life became a problem, since Adam and Eve would live forever in the torments of sin.  They would have entered Hell.

Since Adam and Eve probably fell in the course of one day, we can assume they had not yet eaten of the Tree of Life.  But, had they not fallen, they would have been granted to eat of that Tree.  They would have a God-given desire to eat, and God would grant them eternal life through eating a sacramental fruit. 

This provides some background for Jesus calling himself the Bread from Heaven (John 6:51).  God has always given eternal life through created matter.  He could give us grace directly, but he has ordained to bless us through created means, like water (Baptism) and bread and wine (Lord’s Supper).


5 thoughts on “Did Adam Eat?

  1. I have two questions: 1. Are you saying that Adam and Eve fell on the first day after their creation, or that it took one day for them to fall? I wasn’t quite sure. 2. Are you arguing that salvation is imputed to us through the sacraments? Thanks!

  2. Arem:
    I don’t want to be dogmatic on the time it took Adam and Eve to fall. I’m a young-earth creationist, but I was speculating there 🙂 It seems clear they had not yet eaten of the Tree of Life, though.
    Regarding the sacramental fruit, I affirm the classical Protestant doctrine that the sacraments are a means of grace. I’m not sure about the language of “imputation” and “salvation”.
    I’m comfortable with the language of the Belgic Confession, Article 33 (Of the Sacraments): “For they are visible signs and seals of an inward and invisible thing, by means whereof God worketh in us the power of the Holy Ghost. Therefore the signs are not in vain or insignificant, so as to deceive us. For Jesus Christ is the true object presented by them, without whom they would be of no moment.”

    Cornelius van der Waal also notes that it not un-Reformed to refer to sacraments in the Garden: “Calvinist theologians of old often called the trees in paradise sacraments–signs and seals of the covenant. One can mock this, but there is reason not to ignore it too easily. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the Royal Supreme Seal of Yahweh Himself. This had to honoured as a Royal Standard,” (The Covenantal Gospel, 51).

    Much more could be said, and I’m sorry if these thoughts leave much to be desired. I’ll check my sources on the timing of the Fall …

  3. It is written that Eve saw that the forbidden fruit was good for food. This would imply that she had found other things that were and were not good for food. Perhaps she and he had been taste testing everything and was more easily tempted since thefruit must have resembled other items she had found to be good for food.

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