Idol-Sacrificed Food Not Neutral

First Corinthians 8 is about food sacrificed to idols. It is often cited as giving liberty to the Christian, according to the maturity of Christ, to act in a manner that glorifies God (10.31):

But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that ‘an idol has no real existence,’ and that ‘there is no God but one.’ For though there be so-called gods in heaven or on earth – as indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’ – yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. (8.3–8)

The point here is far from the premise that food is neutral: rather, the point is that idols are not real, and that God is the true God who must be worshipped and obeyed. Neither, then, is it the point that everything hinges on individual convictions, as Paul could easily have written, for he gives some fairly specific words.

Do we not know that food is good, not neutral? And here Paul is clearly talking about food as food offered to mute idols, saying the fact of it being offered to idols does nothing in itself – the qualification of this some time later is based on relationships, not ontology (10.27–30). But food and wine and all that, God says it’s good.

So really, we’re talking about good things that can be abused, not neutral things that can go either way. Let’s thank God that he’s Lord of all things.


2 responses to “Idol-Sacrificed Food Not Neutral

  1. interesting


  2. I wonder what this posting is really about?

    Because it doesn’t really say anything.

    Of course the primary idol, and thus the source of all other idols, or the center-pole around which they all revolve, or are projected from, is the presumed separate self, with his her always chattering and seeking mind.

    Always seeking for a “answer” to some barely felt constant anxiety, some hell-deep fear and trembling.

    But then again what is the appropriate food for a truly Spiritual Way of life?

    Would a Spiritually sensitive person eat slaughtered animals?

    Jesus is reported to have been outraged at the sacrificing of animals in or near the temple.

    Perhaps Jesus was therefore altogether outraged at the killing of animals altogether, and their use as food?

    What would Jesus think of today’s vast industrial-sized slaughter machine?

    A machine which by its very nature brutalizes the animals that are its victims, the workers who work there, the people who thus eat the meat, and the collective psyche of the community and the world altogether.

    What would Jesus say about a hamburger!


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