This question was originally asked by a child in the First Kids children’s ministry at First Baptist Church, East Bernstadt, KY.
This is such an amazing and fun question! First of all, I want to be sure to emphasize that our answers to questions about heaven must come from the Bible. It is our only authority because it is the very Word of God. We do not trust answers about heaven from people who say they have seen something that no one else has. We trust God and his Word. And those things that God has chosen not to speak to, we can speculate about very, very carefully.
Let’s look at each part of this question one at a time. First, does God eat in heaven? The answer is no. God never eats. He is a spirit, eternal, infinite, and unchangeable. God does not have a body, so he has no need for food in the way we do. To be precise, at least two persons of the one true and living God do not eat (God the Father and God the Holy Spirit). Will God the Son eat in heaven? Jesus said that he would not only eat and drink, but that he would do so with his people: “I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29).
Now, what do people eat in heaven? There are a few things we need to understand in order to answer this question. Let’s establish what we know and then carefully speculate about what we don’t know based on what we do know.
First, when Jesus died for us and rose again, he ushered in what theologians call the “new creation.” This involves sinners being born again, the gospel extending to the ends of the earth, and ultimately the whole world being restored to a much more glorious place without sin. This new creation will be completed when Jesus returns. At that time, everyone who has believed in Jesus will live in what the Bible calls the “new earth.” That is what heaven will be; the new earth.
So, there are physical dimensions involved. We will not live forever floating on clouds. When we die, we do not become angels. And when Jesus returns, we receive brand new bodies that are perfect. With our new bodies, we will do all kinds of things that are very similar to what we did on earth. This includes eating and drinking. So, we know that heaven is a real place that will be physical. We know that much of what we do on earth will be done in the new earth.
The Bible speaks of both Jews and Gentiles sitting together to eat meals in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 8:11). It also speaks of God preparing a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine” (Isa. 25:6). Jesus showed that we will eat in our glorified bodies by asking for fish to eat after he had risen from the dead (Luke 24:36-42).
Now, what will we eat? Not much is specified in the Bible. But we can speculate on the wings of truth. There is indication that we will eat fruit (Rev. 22:2) as we are returning to the Garden to enjoy forever what Adam lost. Some have said that we will all be vegetarians because they do not believe animals will be killed in heaven. This would mean that our diets would consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. Still, others have speculated that any food we could possibly imagine will be in heaven, because it will be God’s prerogative to give his people immeasurable gifts that fulfill their desires.
One thing is certain. Eating will not be like it is on earth. We will not be unsatisfied with any food. We will not treasure food more than we treasure God. Food will be what it was created to be, a supplemental source of physical satisfaction that should always cause us to hunger for the only One who can forever satisfy us. And in the new earth, whatever we eat, we will eat in the presence of God! And the most glorious part of being in heaven will not be the amazing food, but it will be the amazing God, who made a way for his enemies to eat in his presence.
Mathew Gilbert is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church East Bernstadt. He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their son, Jude Adoniram.