A Biblical Theology of Dessert

foodBethany Jenkins has kicked off what promises to be a fascinating blog series on—of all things—the making, selling, buying, and eating of . . . chocolate cake, apple pie, and no-bake cookies. Continuing to explore the subject of vocation, Bethany has begun this week’s series by sketching a Biblical Theology of Dessert.

Sounds tasty, doesn’t it?

In truth, I’ve never thought about dessert in the Bible. I’ve considered the importance of food—it’s blessedness in the Garden, its role in the Fall, and its place in redemption. But dessert? I like dessert, but I’ve never considered what Scriptures says about it.

So I am thankful for Bethany’s interest in brownies and her theological inquisitiveness to dive into this subject. I would encourage you to tune in to this series and to let the theology of the Bible interpret the sweets you eat.

Let me give you a taste of her article: After noting the complex relationship of sweets in the Scripture, she speaks of the three modes of eating in the Bible—ordinary, fasting, and feasting. Moving past the first, she quotes Kyle Werner and Tim Keller to explain the importance of food in our lives.

In feasting and fasting, however, we see two very different modes of eating. According to Kyle Werner, a classical composer, amateur chef, and former Gotham Fellow:

In the Bible, we see God regularly calling his people to fast and to feast. Through fasting, we learn an increased dependence on God’s strength; our physical appetite helps intensify our spiritual appetite. On the other hand, feasting reminds us of the original goodness and bounty of God’s creation, the redeeming work he is doing, and our fellowship in the body of Christ. Our regular eating routines can benefit greatly by being expanded in both directions through the extremes of these two spiritual disciplines.

In feasting we see the glorious purpose of dessert. Although it is not necessary to life for daily sustenance, dessert can give us a foretaste of the divine. In Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller writes:

The work-obsessed mind—as in our Western culture—tends to look at everything in terms of efficiency, value, and speed. But there must also be an ability to enjoy the most simple and ordinary aspects of life, even ones that are not strictly useful, but just delightful. Surprisingly, even the reputedly dour Reformer John Calvin agrees. In his treatment of the Christian life, he warns against valuing things only for their utility: “Did God create food only to provide for necessity [nutrition] and not also for delight and good cheer? . . . Did he not, in short, render many things attractive to us, apart from their necessary use?”

For more on a biblical theology of dessert, see Bethany’ whole post: “Toward a Theology of Dessert,” as well as the YouTube video included at the end of her post: “A Theology of Food” by David Kim.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss