Q.

If smoking is wrong, why did God create the tobacco plant in the first place?

A.
Your question is particularly relevant to our times, as smoking is again the “in” thing to do among an increasing number of people. Cigar smoking is currently popular, even among women. Teen smoking is epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 35 percent of students from grades 9 through 12 smoke. White students are the greatest offenders—38 percent light up.

I suppose that some people try to justify their smoking habit by saying that God created all things, including the tobacco plant. But this reasoning is extremely faulty. Using this logic, we could ask, Why did God even create mankind? People kill each other, pollute God’s earth, and in general ruin everything they touch. Or why did God create sex, when people tend only to desecrate this sacred facet of life? We must be especially careful not to blame God or in any way excuse our behavior on His account. It is not God’s fault that fallen man manages to make a mess out of almost anything he gets his hands on.

I have before me an interesting scientific report in a publication by the name of Omni (August 1994). W. Bradford Swift in an article titled “Finding New Uses for an Old Plant” points out that tobacco is “an excellent source of protein” and that scientists have known this fact for a long time. During the 1940s the plant was studied as a food source that “would help alleviate wartime food shortages.” “Tobacco’s Fraction-l protein . . . has ideal properties for a food additive. . . . Its nutritional value is greater than the milk Protein casein.” The problem is that tobacco protein has simply not been “cost competitive with other sources such as milk and eggs.” However, the writer points out that “we may all be eating it soon,” as these prospects are scientifically studied and developed. Further, he points out that “materials may be used not only in food, but in pharmaceuticals and drink products, . . . The fibrous plant residue” could be used for “solvents, or converted into a supplemental fiber similar to wheat bran.”

So there we have it. Undoubtedly, the tobacco plant has had and will have numerous legitimate uses. Who knows all the possibilities of the plant? The issue is how we humans use what God has given us. We can use or abuse almost anything. The key to the question is the fall of man into sin and the resultant curses. Some plants may not have any use, and they may fall into the category of the thorns and thistles (Gen. 3:17, 18). Praise God, our Redeemer is the Remedy for man’s sinful state. And when a person becomes a child of God, he can live to glorify His Maker and Savior in all that he does.

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to nolson@garbc.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

Reprinted from the Baptist Bulletin (May 1997).
© 1997 Regular Baptist Press. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.