The psalmists called it “the bread of angels” (Psalm 78:25) while Jesus described it as “the bread which comes down from heaven” (John 6:50). One month after leaving Egypt, the people of Israel ran out of food. The whole congregation complained about Moses and Aaron for taking them into the wilderness and leaving them without meat and bread: “The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.’” (Exodus 16:3).
God answers to Moses: “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you” (Exodus 16:4). Indeed, bread fell from the sky, or rather it was found laying on the floor and each morning people could gather it. Manna was plentiful, as much as every man could eat. However, as the sun got hot, it would melt: “Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away” (Exodus 16: 21). Everyone had to be diligent in collecting food for the day, and if they took more and kept it for the next day, it would spoil. This is a disciplinarian warning from God: while God provides everything, people should make some effort too. Exception was for the Sabbath, when they gathered twice as much bread. Strangely, this manna was not spoiled.
People were astonished by manna: the word, it simply means “what is it?” Many people think it was bread, but the Bible is very clear: it was like bread. Descriptions say that it was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey (Exodus 16:31). It looked like resin (Numbers 11:7), and Israelites ate it for forty years until they reached the border of Canaan (Exodus 16:35). According to the mystical Jewish text, Zohar, sacred knowledge of the divine was attained through manna, while the Book of Wisdom claims it changed its taste according to the wishes of the person that ate it. Jesus is also very clear that the gift of manna was given to Israelites not to indulge in basic survival, but to remind them of God’s promises and nearness. He also warns people not to worry what they will eat, drink or wear: “for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6: 32-33).
Manna is obviously a sign from God and also a miracle. We do not know about a material that falls from the sky and can be eaten and is nourishing. There were historical attempts to understand what manna really was. Some claimed it is a swift-growing algae, known to appear on the Sinai desert floor, or a lichen that even today some nomads use to make a type of bread. Sap and insect honeydew from the tamarisk tree is often a candidate for manna. All these attempts failed, as none of these materials had the qualities described in the Bible. It is just a typical way to rationalize things. And while we are bound to live with the natural laws as we know it, miracles do happen if God so wants it.
The same thing is with manna. Take the Providence of God. As Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:32-33 “or the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”). It brings about events that lie beyond the productive capacity of natural causes. According to Simulation Creationism, a theory proposed by Nir Ziso of The Global Architect Institute, God made these natural laws to govern The Simulation, but it also means that God can do many other things beyond these laws. In simulation Creationism, God makes miracles through simple interventions as a revelation. If we go back to the event in the Sinai Desert, we may be able to understand it more clearly.
Israelites have seen the miracles in Egypt and the frightful power of God. They were freed from slavery, which led to a march toward the Promised Land. However, they fell hungry, and this was enough to forget the previous miracles. What can a miracle achieve in a very precise Simulation if it does not sustain the physical body? After all, physicality is necessary for a person/soul to live within The Simulation, as Simulation Creationism proposes. Provident as He is, God knew His people were hungry and He could provide them with quails and other nature-occurring things. He decided to reveal Himself once again through the miracle of manna. Thus, manna is a sign of His presence and care, and nothing about it is described within the natural law framework. Manna is equally simulated as any other thing in Simulation Creationism, but it gives an extraordinary meaning, putting it outside usual rules of The Simulation.
So, why don’t we have manna today? According to all accounts in the Bible, manna stopped to appear when the Israelites reached the borders of Canaan, the Promised Land. If it would continue to appear, it would position itself within the natural laws of present simulated world. In other words, it would become “normal” and not something extraordinary. Manna is a very specific and very valuable thing that appeared once for forty years and never again. It contributes to Simulation Creationism as it confirms God’s reality and his simulated creation through a miracle that defies natural law.