Human beings and other living creatures, as we all know, are constituted in such a way that they need food in order to prolong their lives. Sometimes, or in some religions, people are prone to think of dead people as if they had an afterlife in another world. By that reasoning, it might be believed that after human beings die they still need food in the other world. One phenomenon of the ancestor worship developed in ancient China and later brought to Taiwan is also the food offering.
Once I was participating on a family ancestor worship ceremony in the south of Taiwan where food was also offered to the ancestors. Suddenly, one of the family members asked me if Christians also offered food to God. I said, “No, God doesn’t need to eat.” As soon as I said that, I got inspired to some thinking about whether God could eat or could not. I don’t want to enter into discussion of God’s existence or try to find some inconsistencies in the idea of God. And I certainly do not want to offend anyone. If someone does feel offended, I deeply apologize. I just want to share some thoughts that might or might not be interesting, but if at least one person finds them interesting, that would be enough for me.
It is clear that God doesn’t need food to prolong his existence because God is eternal. By being eternal it means that his existence does not depend on food. If we say that God is eternal as long as he eats, that would mean that if one day he stopped eating for any reason, he might die, and turn out that he was not eternal. So when we say that God is eternal, it means also that he doesn’t need to eat. Furthermore, God is seen as perfect. As such, he doesn’t need food. Only imperfect beings like us need to eat. If God needed to eat, then he would not be perfect.
Another question would be whether God could or could not eat? We all know that God is also omnipotent. He could do anything he willed. So if we say that God could not eat, it means that he would not be omnipotent, because there is something he could not do. Thus, we must allow that God could eat. That is, God as omnipotent, could will and do anything, so he could also will to eat. And as long as he willed to eat, he could also produce food for himself. Let us see this explained with the use of logical syllogism:
God is omnipotent.
Omnipotent beings could eat if they willed.
Therefore, God could eat if he willed.
To say that God does not need to eat and that he could not eat are not the same things. He doesn’t need food, but he could eat if he willed. Therefore, by accepting the idea that God is omnipotent, we must also accept that God could eat.