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Genesis 1:29 says:

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.

Although this is spoken to Adam, in Genesis 9:3 God says to Noah:

Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

The word translated meat is לאכלה, and it seems to mean consumption, rather than just literal chewing and swallowing of food.

Does this mean every single plant, including poisonous, medicinal, and psychedelic herbs, belongs to mankind to consume however we wish? Or are there restrictions, either from the word לאכלה or in other parts of Scripture, as to how we may consume plants?

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    He also gave Eve to Adam, but not to do literally whatever he wants to or with her. Much less to eat her. – Sola Gratia Jul 29 '18 at 14:37
  • That’s kind of silly @SolaGratia. God never said Adam could eat Eve, but He explicitly says plants are to be “eaten” or “consumed”. For example, I can grow a tree, break off a branch, and kill somebody with it. However, God never authorized such a thing. – Cannabijoy Jul 29 '18 at 16:21
  • God gave us reason. It's not reasonable to eat poisonous animals or plants, is it. – Sola Gratia Jul 29 '18 at 16:27
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    I don't know how your concern is relevant to exegesis.. – Sola Gratia Jul 29 '18 at 17:38
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    Can you please clarify your question to make explicit your concern? Is it regarding property rights? Or poisonous or pleasurable plants? Thanks. – Ruminator Jul 30 '18 at 14:53
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The right of use/access is implied in the right of ownership. If you own it you can use it. Access/use can also be granted explicitly without conferring ownership. An example might be allowing a guest to use your cottage for the weekend. I believe the latter is in view here.

God never confers his ownership on anyone else. He is the almighty.

The text does say "every green herb bearing seed". Like Mark 7:18-19 it seems to not be aware that some herbs bearing seed are toxic to humans:

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/12-deadliest-garden-plants

However I believe what that the best way to view these passages is in relation to religious cleaning rather than to safety. That is, God was saying that he would punish someone for hunting and killing animals but not for eating plants at that time:

Gen 10:8  And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.  Gen 10:9  He was a mighty hunter [a predator] before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter [predator] before [defying] the LORD.

In fact, Torah doesn't seem to have the concept of clean/unclean plants at all. The marijuana and coca plants are just as ceremonially clean as are tomatoes and pumpkins. God made all the plants and all the plants are "very good". Some are not food.

To to get back to the question: God owns everything because he made it and he didn't sell anything:

Psa 24:1  A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.  Psa 24:2  For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

We know because of the kosher laws that God retained the right to dictate what people can and can't eat:

Act 11:7  And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.  Act 11:8  But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.  Act 11:9  But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

Medicine

But what about other kinds of consumption, such as curing diseases with herbal extracts and such? The passage in question does not seem to aspire to be the passage of scripture that lists poisonous plant. So it appears that if you want to eat Rhododendron, have at it. Someone asked, "Can I get to heaven if I eat pork?" To which the preacher replied, "Yep, you might even get there quicker!"

One passage we can look to for some more data is this:

Psa 104:13  He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.  Psa 104:14  He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;  Psa 104:15  And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.

It certainly appears that the Psalm sees the making of wine to be a God-given process. The alcohol in wine then does double duty as an antiseptic:

1Ti_5:23  Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.

The adding of wine for its alcohol to water is, I think, the kind of extract the question has in mind. So I'm going to say that this speaks to the point.

I notice it also says that the wine itself is intoxicating and that too is God's intention for the stuff.

Also I notice that the Psalmist definitely has a fondness for the drink he seems to also have a fondness for marijuana:

Psa 104:14  He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;  Psa 104:15  And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.

To my mind that is celebrating the bounty of the land:

  • plants for the cattle
  • plants for man: food, wine AND olive oil to rub on his face to feel like a young man again
  • plants to smoke?

If God gave man wine to bring a bit of pleasure, the abuse of which brings endless grief I find it unthinkable that he did not also give to man and for man's service, pleasure AND health the one plant that seemed to escape Eden. Perhaps it is the sweet, benign and pleasurable nature of marijuana that draws down so much hatred and persecution.

However, like today formulations for curing and such in the ANE were often the wares of charlatans and so the whole of medicine, I think, was largely considered as the realm of the world, not of the assembly.

  • Thanks for the answer. I don’t mean it as though God has given up His ownership to us. I mean has God given each individual person every single plant on the earth- to grow and consume (לְאָכְלָֽה) as we please? Such as cannabis, poppy, peyote, coca, etc. I can’t even find any restrictions in the Law of Moses. – Cannabijoy Jul 29 '18 at 11:20
  • @anonymouswho Hmm, yeah, I don't see any particular reference to psychoactive plants in the Bible. I would probably extrapolate on judicious use based on what it has to say about alcohol (which is a lot, and not all striking the same note). Tip: Please put the thrust of your concern into your question, which you can do by editing it now. Note that the question as you just asked it might be more exegesis than hermeneutics (the answer might not rely on this one verse as a proof text), in which case you could ask it on Christianity and/or Judaism SE. – Luke Sawczak Jul 29 '18 at 11:43
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    Don't forget nightshade and other deadly poisonous plants. You need to exercise a certain amount of judgment. – Perry Webb Jul 29 '18 at 12:11
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    This doesn't seem to answer the question. – user2672 Jul 29 '18 at 12:23
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    I've downvoted this. Showing your work is a requirement on this site. This answer is little more than a personal opinion. – user2910 Jul 30 '18 at 14:38
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Does this mean every single plant belongs to each individual person to grow and consume as we please ?

No. Because, through sin, death entered the world. Notice that the following verse reads :

Genesis 1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

Obviously, we do not live in a paradisaical utopia anymore, wherein all animals are herbivores. Their once-benign nature became altered; and so did that of the plants, many of which are now harmful.


Genesis 9:2-3 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things [ mentioned above ].

Hint : Notice something missing from before the expression the green herb ?


Does this mean every single plant, including poisonous, medicinal, and psychedelic herbs, belongs to each individual person to grow and consume as we please ?

Only to the extent to which they contain seeds (i.e., fruits and vegetables) :

Genesis 1:29 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.

Grass and leaves don't exactly contain seeds within themselves; indeed, the latter seem to have been given only to animals, since humans don't exactly walk on all fours, chewing greenery, as beasts usually do :

Genesis 1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

After Noah's Flood, the list of Genesis 1:29 is extended to include all animals, and certain herbs :

Genesis 9:2-3 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

Again, humans don't exactly eat grass, so, as I've already pointed out above, the absence of the words all and every before the phrase the green herb may not be completely coincidental.

  • Thanks for the answer, but this seems to ignore Genesis 9:3, in which God reinstates (after the so-called fall of man) that every green herb belongs to Noah- even though Genesis 1:29 wasn’t spoken to Noah. – Cannabijoy Jul 30 '18 at 13:05
  • @anonymouswho: Better now ? – Lucian Jul 30 '18 at 20:37
  • I’m not sure. Do you mean the dietary laws are missing? – Cannabijoy Jul 30 '18 at 21:45
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    +1 For these interesting thoughts. Could it be that none of the plants were poisonous in the beginning, before the Fall of Man? That would perhaps explain why Genesis 1:30 says "every green herb" but Genesis 9:3 omits the word "every." It seems that St. Basil the Great (see paragraph 4 of newadvent.org/fathers/32015.htm), however, disagreed with this interpretation, but thought that God even created noxious plants on Day 3. – Pascal's Wager Jul 30 '18 at 22:46
  • @anonymouswho: The words all and every are missing before the expression green herbs in Genesis 9:2-3, despite being present everywhere else, not just there, but in Genesis 1:29-30 as well. – Lucian Jul 30 '18 at 23:05
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Does this mean every single plant, including poisonous, medicinal, and psychedelic herbs, belongs to each individual person to grow and consume as we please?

No.

Why? Assume God gave every single plant without exception to man for food to consume as he pleases. Then he gave them the Tree of Knowledge for food to consume as he pleases. This is contradiction.

(Genesis 2:17) But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

(Genesis 3:3) But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die.

(Genesis 3:11) And he said to him: And who hath told thee that thou wast naked, but that thou hast eaten of the the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat?

(Romans 5:14) But death reigned from Adam unto Moses, even over them also who have not sinned after the similitude of the transgression of Adam, who is a figure of him who was to come.


Similarly, although Genesis 9:3 says "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you," it would be incorrect to interpret this hyperliterally as meaning every-moving-thing-that-liveth-without-exception-whatsover. Otherwise, God would be approving of cannibalism, and it would be OK to eat your neighbors.


The Hebrew word כל (kal) is translated into English as "every" or "all." It should be clear, however, that כל does not mean absoulutely-every-without-exception or absolutely-all-without-exception. Generally, it seems to carry a stronger meaning than the English word "many" but a weaker meaning than the ∀ (for all) symbol in mathematics. I could make analagous statements for the Greek word πας.

Here are some quick NT examples to illustrate my point. It shouldn't be hard to find OT examples as well.

a. "For all (παντες) have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Question: Did Jesus sin? Answer: No. Jesus is one "who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." (1 Peter 2:22)

b. "And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all (πασα) Judaea, and all (πασα) the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins" (Matthew 3:4-6). Question: Did every single person in Judaea go to John to Baptist and be baptized of him and confess their sins? Answer: Probably not.

  • Thanks for the answer. I disagree that God forbade the tree of knowledge, but we would have to chat about that. Suppose there are restrictions to how we may consume plants and which plants are permissible, because God only meant “almost all”. How are we to know what the restrictions are? In the Scriptures we have people extracting alcohol from plants, compressing plant matter and burning it in tents, extracting oils for various reasons from plants, etc. Yet we never have a single prohibition from any of it. – Cannabijoy Aug 1 '18 at 15:12
  • Also, I cannot find anything that forbades cannibalism in the Scriptures. It seems we are left to use our reason and personal responsibility on many different matters. – Cannabijoy Aug 1 '18 at 15:13
  • Exodus 20:13 seems to forbid unrestricted cannibalism. – Pascal's Wager Aug 1 '18 at 16:29
  • I agree, as does Genesis 9:5-6. The fact is, some people do eat human flesh. Whether it’s “legal” to eat human flesh is irrelevant, because wouldn’t you agree that only someone who is suffering extreme starvation so that their brain is not working properly- or someone who’s brain just doesn’t work properly- would even consider such a thing? – Cannabijoy Aug 1 '18 at 18:52

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