History of God, Plants & Humanity

Authored by Ryan Falk - Nursery Sales Manager
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During the Christmas season my thoughts naturally turned towards the Christmas story for blog inspiration. However, in my recent review I did not find a reference to a single plant in the Christmas story in the book of Matthew or the book of Luke. So I went back further to the beginning…

In Genesis chapter 1:

11 “Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth vegetation: seed-bearing plants and fruit trees, each bearing fruit with seed according to its kind.” And it was so. 12 The earth produced vegetation: seed-bearing plants according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit contains seed. They will be yours for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and every bird of the air and every creature that crawls upon the earth—everything that has the breath of life in it—I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.”

  • Genesis 1:11-12,29-30

I find this passage so true because we still see God’s words at work in the world around us. Every variety of plant reproduces after its own kind. You never see maples grow from acorns or apples grow from peach pits. Creation has order. Even in cross pollination of one species with another we see God maintaining this order. You can cross some species together to make new species, but only if they are already from the same genus, and even then not all varieties are comparable. Plums cross with some cherries, Black Ash with Manchurian Ash but you cannot cross a palm tree with a potato. Even more to the point, if you cross any two species that are compatible the outcome is often sterile. The more crossing breeding you do in the second and third generation this way the more certainly it will turn out sterile. This ensures that new breeds do not overturn what God has designed, and the original species continue to be fruitful and fertile.

As for Genesis chapter 2:

5 “Now no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth, nor had any plant of the field sprouted; for the Lord God had not yet sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.”

7 “Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, where He placed the man He had formed. 9 Out of the ground the Lord God gave growth to every tree that is pleasing to the eye and good for food. And in the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

15 “Then the Lord God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded him, “You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.””

  • Genesis 2:5,7-9,15-17 (BSB)


As a gardener there are so many things that catch my attention here. First being verse 9: I find it so funny that the bible points out that there were trees “pleasing to the eye” and trees to produce fruit. God made some plants to be productive and others just to look good, and my family has built a business out of exactly that!

Secondly, there is the slightly awkward fact that the two chapters do not align perfectly. Chapter one says God made plants first and then man but chapter two says God made the man and then planted the garden. In the end both stories point out the important fact that God created both the plants and man. He also created the plants to be fully functional and fruitful to provide food for Adam. There was no waiting for three to ten years for fruit to form. The two chapters are both different ways of pointing out that man and plants are made to exist together. We really see this in the way that plants produce oxygen from carbon dioxide and we produce carbon dioxide from oxygen. Plants need living things and living things need plants. God created both back to back so they could exist in harmony.

We can see this even more plainly in some of the unique and complicated relationship plants and animals function in. Take vanilla plants as a prime example. When European explorers discovered the vanilla plant in South America they absolutely loved it and brought some back to Europe to propagate. Though the seeds grew and even thrived they never produced a single vanilla bean. This confused them and they had to return to South America to study it more in depth and discover what they were missing. It turns out that there is a bee, a tiny bee with no stinger that is the only creature alive with the knowledge and ability to pollinate vanilla plants. They know how to open up a secret tube that goes deep into the flower where it collects nectar and pollen before crawling back out. European honeybees were too big to fit and could not find a way to get the job done.

Now for the interesting part. What came first? The bee or the flower? In this case it had to be both. Plants do not evolve methods that make them more complicated to pollinate, they always work with the surrounding wildlife so that both can thrive. Even in the case of carnivorous plants. The Venus Flytrap for example will grow several mouthlike traps near the soil to catch insects, but the flowers for pollination are grown on a long stem, out of reach of these snares, providing a safe means of pollination. Brilliantly designed to function and thrive.

Verse 15 in particular also gets my attention. Our original purpose was work, more specifically by gardening. This does not mean we all like gardening or that those of us who garden always love doing it. We all understand that gardening is a good thing, productive and helpful. No one I have ever met is opposed to gardening as a moral issue. There is something inherently good about gardening. Many people find it therapeutic, relaxing or peaceful. Even when pulling the invasive weeds there is satisfaction in getting the work done. I do still believe that as we get outside, into nature, admiring God’s creation it inspires worship, gratitude and awe. That we can still walk with God in the garden if we will take the time to meet him there.

I am not saying that my job is holier than anyone else’s… I’m just reading what the book says.

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