The Eden diet
Vegetables were not part of the Eden diet. The Bible record states that at creation, “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” (Genesis 1:29). We learn from the divine record that man was to eat of the products of both field and tree, in other words of grain, nuts, and fruit. The animals were to eat of “every green herb,” which are vegetables, green plants, and grass.
The Eden diet didn’t include the slaughter of animals for food, or that animals should prey upon one another. It was not till after the Flood that God gave man permission to eat of the flesh of animals (Genesis 9:3). Even ancient pagan legends speak of a golden age of innocence, when man abstained from killing animals (Ovid Met. I. 103-106). Isaiah 11:6–9; 65:25 refers to the fact that no animal of any kind will ate flesh in the new earth when the restoration of Eden will take place.
Introduction of vegetables after the flood
Vegetables were added later to the diet of man after sin. God said to man, “and thou shalt eat the herb of the field” (Genesis 3:18). The divine punishment after sin provided also a partial change in diet. We evidently are to conclude that the quantity and quality of grains, nuts and fruits originally given to man were, as a result of the curse, reduced to such an extent that man would be required to look to the herbs for a portion of his daily food.
This change in diet may also have been due in part to the loss of certain elements from the tree of life, to a change in climate, and perhaps most of all to man’s sentence to hard labor in the process of earning a livelihood.
In His service,