All Plants Edible?
Genesis 2:16-17—”This teaches that all plants are edible”
When dietary laws declare only pork, omnivores, dead animals, blood and alcohol haram, it would only be people like Zakir Naik who lack the common sense to avoid poisonous plants and meats. When God allows Adam to eat from any tree in the garden, he is not giving a command to eat but the freedom to choose what to eat.
If we look at the verse closely we notice two things. Firstly, the reference to ‘any tree’ clearly does not mean ‘all’ because the verse concludes by saying that there is at least one tree that Adam could not eat from – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Secondly, and most importantly is the phrase ‘in the garden’. God made this provision while Adam was still in his perfect creation state – before sin entered the world. In the beginning everything was good (Gen 1:31) – everything was created by God in a perfect way. The initial created state was without sin. Therefore, there were no plants that were poisonous or addictive. Everything that God created was the benefit of humanity. When sin entered the world through Adam, that perfect state was destroyed. As a result of Adam’s sin, God’s punishment in Genesis 3:17-18 specifically affected the ground and plants.
With the Qur’ān too, we can’t take verses too literally. An-Am 6:38 reads,
“We have created every animal that lives on earth, and every bird that flies in the air, to live in communities like you.”
Yet there are many species when do not live in communities like humans—the female black widow spider, for instance, which eats its mate after mating. This does not disprove the Qur’ān , but merely illustrates how we sometimes cannot take a passage too literally.