Will we need to eat food after the resurrection of the dead? (The Angelic Doctor answers)

A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked the question of whether or not we will require food in our resurrected state, after the resurrection of the dead. He further asked why, if we do NOT need food in our resurrected bodies, why did Christ eat with his disciples after his resurrection.

St. Thomas gives us a solid answer in addressing the question: "Whether All Will Rise Again to Animal Life so as to Exercise the Functions of Nutrition and Generation?" He answers the question about whether Jesus requires food in his resurrected state and more broadly answers the same question as it applies to us after the resurrection

“Objection 1. It would seem that they will rise again to the animal life, or in other words that they will make use of the acts of the nutritive and generative powers. For our resurrection will be conformed to Christ’s. But Christ is said to have ate after His resurrection (John 21, Luke 24). Therefore, after the resurrection men will eat, and in like manner beget.” (STh., Supplementum q.81 a.4 obj.1)

“I answer that, The resurrection will not be necessary to man on account of his primary perfection, which consists in the integrity of those things that belong to his nature, since man can attain to this in his present state of life by the action of natural causes; but the necessity of the resurrection regards the attainment of his ultimate perfection, which consists in his reaching his ultimate end. Consequently those natural operations which are directed to cause or preserve the primary perfection of human nature will not be in the resurrection: such are the actions of the animal life in man, the action of the elements on one another, and the movement of the heavens; wherefore all these will cease at the resurrection. And since to eat, drink, sleep, beget, pertain to the animal life, being directed to the primary perfection of nature, it follows that they will not be in the resurrection.

Reply Obj.1. When Christ partook of that meal, His eating was an act, not of necessity as though human nature needed food after the resurrection, but of power, so as to prove that He had resumed the true human nature which He had in that state wherein He ate and drank with His disciples. There will be no need of such proof at the general resurrection, since it will be evident to all. Hence Christ is said to have ate by dispensation in the sense in which lawyers say that a dispensation is a relaxation of the general law: because Christ made an exception to that which is common to those who rise again (namely not to partake of food) for the aforesaid motive. Hence the argument does not prove.” (STh., Supplementum q.81 a.4 resp.–ad.1)

So the Angelic Doctor clarifies that we will have no need of food in our resurrected bodies and that Christ partook of food (after the resurrection), not because he needed it, but to  prove to his disciples that he did indeed resurrect and did resume a real human nature (albeit glorified)

image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons. Resurrection of the Flesh, by Luca Signorelli, 1502