The focus of this chapter is food, and the title refers to Swiss reformer Ulrich Zwingli’s decision, in 1522, to flout the church’s traditional rules for Lent by eating sausages on Ash Wednesday.
clean and unclean animals
Of course, the action was double because the sausages would have contained pork, a meat prohibited by the Law of Moses. To this day, there is confusion among Christians regarding eating what the Old Testament describes as ‘unclean’ animals, such as pigs and rabbits.
Jones offers a simplistic reading of Peter’s vision account in Acts 10, in which God shows him a menagerie of all kinds of unclean animals, including reptiles, and then tells him to kill and eat some of them. What could be simpler? However, as the verses show, Peter was astounded by the order, protesting that he had never eaten any unclean creature. God responded by commanding Peter not to ‘call’ unclean anything that He had ‘cleansed’.
After taking some time to reflect on the vision, Peter realized that God was not announcing a change in the dietary laws, but that He should not call or consider any common or unclean man (Acts 10:28), which was , of course, precisely as the Jews had always regarded the Gentiles. In other words, salvation was available to Gentiles (Acts 11:18), as indeed had been made clear hundreds of years earlier in the Old Testament (Romans 1:13-17), but it seemed to have been forgotten. .
Despite Peter’s insight, many creatures are clearly unfit to eat, for while some people may be happy to eat cats and dogs, snakes and lizards, slugs and worms, worms, etc., some ‘meats’ are in poisonous reality. So the meaning of Peter’s vision is not as clear as many suppose.
Although Leviticus, part of the Law of Moses, explained how to distinguish clean from unclean animals, the distinction had already been made in Noah’s time. And there seems little doubt that the reason seven pairs of clean animals were brought into the Ark was because they would be used for food, as opposed to unclean. Why would a long-established principle be suddenly changed, especially in light of the last dozen verses of Isaiah chapter 66 that describe how eating abominable and unclean creatures will be prohibited when Jesus returns as Messiah?
food for the mind
Although Jones is well aware of the Bible’s emphasis on food and diet, he omits to discuss the important metaphorical lessons involved. Clearly, the body represents the mind, just as food represents knowledge, with a mouth-like mentality that can be opened or closed, to receive or reject knowledge. Once again, the metaphorical nature of the world goes well beyond Intelligent Design and cannot be an accident of evolution.
Clearly only a chef works to make a meal attractive and nutritious, so the teacher works to make the lessons interesting and valuable. And one of the laws of learning is that just as food must be chewed and digested, the student must also be encouraged to discuss and analyze the topic of the lesson and work on special exercises to assimilate understanding.
Just as good food builds and maintains the body, sound knowledge builds the intellect. Although academic learning is often dismissed as having little practical relevance for many students, education has a magical effect in unlocking human potential and stimulating creativity. And although some people dismiss the idea as too simplistic, the body itself clearly represents the mind, and the physical muscles our mental abilities and capacities. Contaminated or poisonous ‘diet’ will, of course, make us metaphorically sick, weak and ineffective.
Then, of course, there is spiritual food, with Jesus, the ‘bread of life’, telling us that man will not live on bread alone, but on every word of God (Matthew 4:4). However, as men like Zwingli experienced, even the word of God, the Christian gospel, can be perverted (Galatians 1:6-8). It has been rightly said that the supposed Christian church of AD 150 bore little resemblance to that of the Apostles. How strange that people who claimed to follow Jesus’ admonition to love even his enemies, actually resorted to fighting and killing fellow believers with whom they disagreed; Zwingli himself was killed for these heretical beliefs in a battle with the Catholics in 1531. What impure spiritual ‘food’ had the minds of such individuals been filled with?
A lesson here could be the need to ‘taste’ and ‘chew’ the spiritual food our pastor gives us before ‘swallowing’ it, in case there is something wrong with it. To misquote Paul, prove all things; he only swallows what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
an external stomach
Jones explains that we have about 5,000 taste buds on our tongues: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami, the latter being a Japanese word that simply means pleasant or ‘pleasant’. How evolution could have created such miraculous structures and connected them to our nervous system, and thus the brain, you have no idea. He just assumes it happened, thanks to Darwin’s ‘machine’.
He goes on to list some of the things that anthropologists tell us evolved to make us human, so that we are ‘the upright, greedy, well-dressed, practical, thoughtful, talkative, dishonest apes’. Also, physically, our gut is only half as long as an ape’s, and we have small mouths, tiny teeth, and weak jaws.
Oh, and of course, then we find out how to make a fire and learn to cook, something no animal does or can do. As a result, we developed smaller stomachs because the pan became an auxiliary external stomach. Plus, cooking softened the food, making it easier and quicker to chew, allowing us to develop those smaller mouths and still not have to spend all day nibbling away hunger. That was clearly a bonus, as it gave us more free time to evolve all sorts of other attributes. Can the good teacher really believe this rubbish? Can?