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Friday, February 04, 2005

Trees as a major theme in the Bible

Trees are a major theme in the Bible.

Close to the beginning, there were the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. At the end, there's the Tree of Life. The same Tree of Life? Maybe. Maybe not.

In between, a lot of trees. Here are a few.

Noah's ark was built from trees.

Moses had a staff, perhaps made from a tree.

Sacrifices were burned on wood.

David and Solomon had the builders use wood in the Temple, and in the palace.

Absalom was killed while hanging in a tree.

Psalm 1 compares a righteous person to a tree.

Zacchaeus climbed a tree.

Christ presented the Sermon on the Mount from a boat, presumably made of wood.

Boats played an important role in the New Testament. Jesus traveled on them, some of the apostles were fishermen, and Paul and co-workers made journeys in them.

Christ hung on a cross made of wood.

Why trees?
Probably several reasons.

There are a lot of them.

They are symbols of permanence. Living permanence, unlike that of rocks.

They are solid.

They provide housing for other plants, for animals, and for humans. For humans, the housing provided is usually after the death of the tree--they make excellent building materials.

They provide shade.

They have character. There are patterns in branches, in individual leaves, in bark, and in the grain, when it's exposed. No two trees are exactly alike in appearance.

They bear fruit.

They have flowers.

They can be climbed. We like to go higher. We like adventure. We like to see things we wouldn't otherwise see.

Their roots are anchoring systems.

They capture energy from the sun.

No doubt there are other reasons why God used them as symbols, and why they are prominent in scripture.

This posting doesn't follow some of what B. L. Ochman has to say, in her excellent article, "How to Write Killer Blog Posts . . ." Maybe it doesn't follow any of it.

Please comment on the things I should have included.

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