Genesis 1:29

Bible open with pen

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat (Gen 1:29).

What does the Bible actually say about food and what we are to eat? Does it really tell us what to eat? If it does, is the Bible’s information about various foods relevant for us today? After all, it’s an ancient book and most likely has ancient ideas. Whatever that information might be, how does it compare to the best information we have from science? What if science and the bible revealed the same truth?

When you look at the verses in the Bible that pertain to food and then look at populations of people now and historically, the right way to eat seems pretty clear. There are populations of people that have very different health outcomes than we do. There are places on the earth that are plagued with waterborne diseases and/or airborne diseases. People who live in most developed countries don’t have to be concerned about those; they have been pretty much eliminated from our health problems. We have clean water and are very aware of diseases that are passed around by the air. Those are not an issue. On the other hand, it is amazing that in some areas of the world we see very little of the degenerative disease that we find abundantly in America. Is it possible that these diseases are foodborne – related to diet?

There have been many times that our ideas (the ideas of man and science) have been incorrect. Science books change all the time and scientists don’t always agree on fundamental points; you can always find some scientist somewhere who will support nearly anything. Historically, the scientists who believed the Bible were the ones who made discoveries that were beneficial. Think about Leonardo da Vinci, Johann Kepler, Galileo, Copernicus, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Samuel Morse, Louis Pasteur, George Washington Carver, Werner von Braun and many, many others. Is it possible that there is agreement between our best modern science and the Bible?

 The First Menu

The first-time food is mentioned in the Bible is in the first chapter of Genesis, verse 29. What man was to eat was very specific: every fruit and vegetable that contained a seed. That sounds like a limited menu to us, but it must have been satisfying because two verses later (verse 31) God looked at everything He had made, and He said, “…it was very good.”  These are the foods created for man to eat.

Doctors like Caldwell Esselstyn, Dean Ornish and others have shown in their work with patients that you can change your health status by changing what you eat. This is very good news for us. We don’t have to just accept that we will get weaker and sicker as we age. That’s the message we get from the media and many health professionals. We are expected to become sick, have regular doctor appointments, take prescription medicines and generally require more and more professional help as we get older. Many diseases are expected to accompany us as we age, but, the opposite is true. We have something we can do to contribute to our better health and wellbeing and change the expected outcome.


It seems that everyone agrees that fruits and vegetables are good for us and that includes God who created fruits and vegetables for us and for all the animals (verse 30) and said it was good. In 1991 the National Cancer Institute and the Produce for Better Health Foundation created the 5-A-Day program to encourage us to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Researchers discovered that “Iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, French fried potatoes, bananas and orange juice were the most commonly consumed fruits and vegetables, accounting for nearly 30% of all fruits and vegetables consumed”. 1

Scientists have made the discovery that plant foods are full of valuable nutrients for us and they determined that eating more of them would make the population healthier. Many studies have shown this to be correct. “Fruits and vegetables are helpful in reducing the risk of many diseases, including diabetes and heart disease”. 2 Unfortunately, the program (now called Fruits and Veggies – More Matters) has been unsuccessful. “Daily intake of fruits and vegetables worldwide remains well below the recommended WHO (World Health Organization) levels, despite the established health benefits associated with fruit and vegetable consumption”. 3

How Much is Actually Eaten

As scientists continue to look at these foods they are realizing how important they are to our well-being. The recommendation has been increased twice since the program began and now we are told to eat 7 – 13 servings per day. It seems that the more research that is done the more of these foods we are supposed to eat. The recommended amounts are inadequate, but we seem to have trouble eating even those amounts.

There are other considerations too. When were the fruits and vegetables picked, have they been processed, have they been cooked, do they have oil, milk, cheese or other such foods added?  In other words, by the time they are eaten do they have any value? What does the Bible say about fruits and vegetables?

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat (Gen 1:29).

In Genesis 1:29 we discover that the original plan was for us to eat anything with a seed in it. That covers a lot of plants: fruits and vegetables that grow on bushes or vines (melons, berries, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers), plus every fruit (they all have seeds). Nuts (walnuts, almonds), many types of grains (wheat, rice, millet) and legumes (peas, beans) may also have been included; these are all seeds. Many of these can still be eaten as grown, without cooking, such as corn, sunflower seeds, beans, peas. Perhaps they were all edible without any preparation.

Food Is Medicine

There is evidence from population studies and also from the research of doctors who have put their patients on a health-promoting diet that our food choices can help us avoid disease. This tells us that there is food meant for mankind (a particular diet just for people) and it is outlined in the Bible. Because of the huge change in our food supply, which is so different from Genesis, we can clearly see the results of going against that plan by observing the diets and disease rates of populations around the world and by noticing the amount of chronically ill people around us.

We can control much of our future health. Does this mean we should eat only fruits and vegetables? The answer is no and that is explained later in God’s Word. But what can we improve in our diet based on Genesis 1:29? We can easily add more produce to our diet with salads made of fresh, raw vegetables and even fruits. Below are some ideas.

Green Salad with an Oil-free Dressing

Here is a list of possibilities for your fresh salad. Enjoy as many or as few of these wonderful vegetables in your salad. You can change the combination or stick with a set of favorites; the choice is yours.

  • Greens: lettuces and greens of all kinds, broccoli, cabbage, celery, green peppers, herbs of all kind, snow peas, artichokes, green beans
  • Reds: tomatoes, red peppers,
  • Yellows: crookneck squash
  • White: cooked potatoes (all colors), zucchini (including the green skin), sweet onions, cauliflower, mushrooms
  • Blue/purple: beets, red cabbage
  • Orange: carrots, cooked sweet potatoes
  • Easy fat-free dressing (mix ingredients in a personal blender)
  • Cooked beans – your choice (optional)
  • Vinegar – your choice (I like Balsamic best)
  • Mustard – your choice (I like Dijon)
  • Water to thin

The Last Word

The first meals that were eaten by the first people (Adam and Eve) were made specifically to meet the physical needs of their perfect bodies. The description of the foods given in Genesis 1:29 allows for many varieties of plant foods. Today we don’t take advantage of these valuable foods and our bodies are not able to maintain good health. The plan was perfect, the food was perfect and eating foods with seeds in them, or in some cases the seeds themselves, is an important consideration.


Some of the most nutritious foods grow on trees, bushes and vines.



  1. ( Journal of Nutrition).

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