Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Old Testament God, as a Gardener

There's a church on the outskirts of Urbana on High Cross Road, across from the Apple Dumpling (apparently the Apostolic church) and on their sign recently, it said something like

God is Good
All the time

Which got me thinking; because I had just finished the book of Jeremiah in my Bible in a Year study. I thought, have these people even read Jeremiah? God is good all the time? He talks about doing evil to his people (Jeremiah 42:10). You'll note that in that verse god talks about planting, and not plucking. God has compared himself several times in the bible as a gardener, or a vintner. (He did it in Isaiah)

So, lets look at everything, in the Old Testament, as though that god is a gardener and the people are plants. .

In Genesis, he plants a garden (a real garden), Eden. For some reason, he plants a poison tree in the middle. Then he makes some plants (people). For some reason, he leaves his plants for a bit, and while he's gone, they manage to corrupt themselves. Except plants on their own don't really go corrupt. So, at this point, the gardener had the opportunity to start over, all he had lost were 2 plants. Instead, he allowed them to keep growing.

Did he do any weeding to his garden? Did he water it? Did he make sure his plants were getting enough sunlight? Did he even check to see if those plants would grow in that climate? The answer to at least three of those questions is no. He allowed weeds to grow. He didn't water it. He didn't give it enough light.

He then steps away and leaves his garden for a while.

When he comes back and looks again, his garden is covered in weeds, his plants are being choked out. What would a normal gardener do at this point? Back when I had a garden, I spent most of the weekend pulling weeds. Getting my garden back to the point where I could find my plants again. At this point, the god of the bible took out his tiller and plowed under the entire garden. He didn't selectively plow it. He didn't put any weed-b-gone on it, he plowed it under. (Noah's flood).

As a gardener, I learned from my mistake of letting my garden get overrun with weeds. After I got my field clean, I then spent a little bit of time each day pulling out weeds, watering my plants and fertilizing them.

At this point, god decided that he wasn't even going to take care of the whole garden, he chose one plant to take care of and he decided that would be his favorite, and be the only one he'd raise.

Things went well for a while, but then the god of the bible then decided he wasn't going to water his plant, and he gave it away to a friend. (Egyptian period) After a while he took his plant back from his friend, and he made a huge production about doing that. In the meantime, the plant grew a whole lot. As he was taking his plant back, he did some pruning. He also plucked out a couple of dead leaves. He even managed to pull out a few weeds. This was pretty much the point where he was a good gardener.

Then he put his plant back in his garden. Before he replanted it, he managed to clear out most of the weeds. He put down some fertilizer. He made the soil good. For a while he kind of took care of the plant. Then, as usual, he stopped taking care of the small things. One small weed grew up. Then another, then another, then another. He forgot to water it, he forgot to weed it. He was just waiting for his plants to produce fruit. Some of the plants grew strong. Some didn't grow as well. Soon the good plants were being overrun by weeds. After about a month of not checking on his garden, he goes and looks again.

He's amazed at all the weeds that are there. He doesn't see how he can salvage any of his plants.

So what does he do?

He hires a lawn company to come in and plow up his garden. He has them save a few plants, but most of them he has plowed under. (Babylonian exile). After the garden is completely plowed, he has the other guy plant a couple back in. This time he promises he'll take better care of the garden. He also expects the plants to do their part. Except, plants don't have any control over their growth.

His garden is over run with weeds again. and again. and again.

He promises the plants that one day, he'll completely do away with the weeds. When that day comes, everything will be great.

If you are going to look at the past history of god as a gardener, you'll see that he's really not that good at it.

Someday he promises he'll make a good garden with no weeds. But based on his track record, do you really think he'll be a good gardener in the future?

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