Search the Site



Trees, vines, shrubs, herbs, vegetables, flowers, fruits, or ornamental forms of life characterized by roots, a stem, and leaves or foliage equivalent. The general disposition reflected in the Bible is that plants, like animal, marine, and other forms of life, are God’s good gifts. As such they are to be cherished, used, enjoyed, shared, and processed for the good of all people (Gen 1:29; Gen 1:30; Gen 2:8; Gen 3:18). There are some plants that are special messengers of this blessing, such as a tree growing by water (Jer 17:8; Ps 1:3) or a rich vineyard (2Kgs 19:29; Prov 31:16; Amos 9:14). Conversely, there are forms of judgment and curse that are described as deprivation of the normal benefits from plant life (Isa 17:10-11). Overgrown, barren, and deserted sites are also used as metaphorical expressions of divine displeasure or judgment (Amos 4:9; Amos 5:11). Plants can symbolize weakness (2Kgs 19:26) or strength (Ps 144:12), God’s nourishment (Ps 104:14) or destruction (Isa 40:24). A plant can symbolize the persistence of life (Job 14:7-9) or its temporary and unstable character (Job 8:12; Eccl 2:4-7). Planting is seasonal action (Eccl 3:2) but plants need sustained care to be productive (Isa 5:1-4). In the NT, various plants are used as metaphors for God’s proper action (Matt 15:13), all else being futile. They are a metaphor for life, which tests the conduct of humans (Matt 13:18-23). Planting is just one stage in the growth of the church (1Cor 3:6-8), whose life, as is all of life, is a gift of God.