Trees are awesome.
Entering the west entrance to Mt Rainier National Park, you’ll soon come to a parking lot that serves as a sort of trailhead to The Grove of the Patriarchs Trail. This trail is a self guided walking tour through a stand of Old-Growth trees, some of which have been standing more than a thousand years. Walking among these trees really send home the apparent permancy and the majestic qualities of the trees quickly becomes apparent.
It is interesting to note that that feeling is not unique to our time. Even in ancient writing, the concept of the inherrent qualities of trees become apparent. This is true even in the ancient work we are familiar with: the bible.
The concepts projected by trees is very much a part of biblical writing. To the ancient writer, the use of a tree depicts a permanency, and the strength of a diety.
With that in mind, the image of the Garden trees in the opening chapters of Genesis can be put into context. The Tree fo Life for instance, speaks to the permancy of god’s creation, and to the truth that Life comes from God. Adam and Eve could freely eat its fruit; freely enjoy the good blessings of God’s gift of life. There were other trees, also gifts from God. Their fruit was available to Adam and Eve as well.
There was another tree: The tree of knowing good and evil. The “knowledge” was not simply knowing ABOUT good and bad things, but an experiential knowledge, the kind of knowledge that leads to wisdom. The fruit of this tree, also a permanent fixture from God, was not to be eaten by Adam and Eve. Instead, the first couple would get this wisdom from spending time with God, walking in the cool of the afternoons.
By taking the fruit Adam and Eve were beguiled to seek what they seemed to think would be this same wisdom on their own. Knowing good and evil is not a bad thing, but it was God’s design that they gain wisdom from fellowship with Him. By doing what seeemd right in their own eyes, Sin was allowed to enter and corrupt God’s perfect creation.
When god went looking for them, they were hiding under a tree. They did under this permanent fixture that comes from God, for safety. It makes for an intersting image. They hid in and depended on God’s creation, rather than in God. There’s a good lesson there.
The next time a tree becomes the major part of the story is when Noah was told to build an ark out of “ATSE GOPHER”, or “Gopher Tree”. We see the use of a tree once again as a sturdy, permanent gift from God.
Throughout the bible, we read of other instances where the tree is used in significant events in human history. The ram found by Abraham and Isaac, a gift from God, was ensnarled by a gnarly, weather-beaten, arid-stunted tree. There are many more examples.
of course, it would be remiss to mention that Jesus, God’s ultimate gift to humanity, was lifted on a tree. Without that, we would have no hope at all.
Something to think about the next time you’re out walking in a wooded area, eh?
I hope all is well with you,