In my second novel draft  religion plays a more distinct role.  Sharlene and Sajiv begin to discuss more in depth his atheism and her Methodism. Sharlene fills the need to go back to church. Sajiv agrees to take her. In America an atheist would not be likely to do that but in India it is common. An atheist can explain scripture and religion to you as well even if it is the Christian faith. Then tell you what part they agree with and what part they do not agree with.

Along the way it lead to the subject of trees. In India the bodhi tree is sacred. It is in the family of fig trees. Buddha became enlightened there and so did Vishnu. I started thinking where are the trees of Christianity. Much of Sharlene and Sajiv’s discussion center around commonalities. Does Christianity have a sacred tree? The one that comes to most people’s minds is the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden where Eve gives in to temptation and then leads the husband Adam down that path. Since they sin together ( in marriage it shows what a grand bond they have giving literal visual “for better or for worse”) become banned from the Garden of Eden.

More Trees

The tree theme does not end there. Take a drive through scripture not only do we begin with the tree as in fallen sinful humans, in Revelation 22:1 -3 the curse of Eden ends by a crystal river with the tree of life ( the other tree nearby in the Garden of Eden) with its every month of fruit and leaves that heal the nations. It was the other choice Eve could of made. You see she did have a choice, an alternative to take right in front of her.

THE Tree

In between the Genesis Tree and the Revelation tree a host of extremely important trees exist tied to important concepts and themes of the bible. One of the most important of which is Jesus hung on a tree. The cross was made of wood. Everything about the crucifixion is important and had spiritual meaning.  Though most all agree that the cross was made of wood, endless arguments exist on what kinds of wood. Wood comes from a tree. Why would God allow wood to help murder His Son? Everything negative about the cross became a positive grace invitation so how do trees fit in all that schema. Hanging from wood (tree) how does that translate to grace? Jesus was a carpenter, made his living from wood and He is murdered on wood.

You Study and Decide

This is what I discovered. The Hebrew word for a tree is עץ (eyts, Strong’s #6086).The word עץ is a parent root (a two letter root) from which a couple of other words are derived. The verb עצם (Ah.Ts.M, Strong’s #6105) means strong and mighty, as is a tree. Derived from this verb is the noun עצם (etsem, Strong’s #6106), meaing bones, the “strong tree” of the body. Also, the verb יעץ (Y.Ah.Ts, Strong’s #3289) means counsel, to give support to another as the tree trunk supports the branches and leaves. Courtesy of Jeff Benner at http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/  Strong’s is a recognized resource for deciphering Hebrew at many bible study sites.

This site shows the use of the tree in the New Testament

https://www.gci.org/jesus/risen3

Was Jesus hung on a tree?

The New Testament uses the word tree five times to refer to Christ’s crucifixion on a cross (Acts 5:30, 10:39, 13:29, Galatians 3:13 and 1 Peter 2:24). Most of the time, the noun stauros(stake) and the verb stauroo (crucify) are used in connection with Jesus’ death. These two words appear 74 times in the New Testament.

One of the five appearances of tree occurs in Galatians. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us,” wrote Paul, “for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13). Paul was quoting a phrase found in Deuteronomy 21:23.

Paul was referring to the Torah’s prescribed form of execution by stoning for blasphemy and idolatry. After being stoned to death, the person’s body was hung on a tree to show that the individual was under God’s curse. To the Jews, hanging on a tree had become a metaphor for an apostate, a blasphemer or a person under God’s curse. That’s how the Jews viewed Jesus (John 5:18; 10:33; Matthew 26:63-65).

Me again.

God transformed hanging on piece of wood being a curse to hanging on a piece of wood becomes the act that saves humankind’s soul. We are protected and prosper with trees. Science confirms that environmentally. Every day when you see trees you are seeing living grace at application level given to us by a living organism found in the Garden of Eden ordained by God Himself. It facilitated the murdering of His Son and yet the tree of death rotted and turned to compost to become life for some other plant. Christ does not die but resurrects and you could say the cross did too in a different form in the ecosystem. Some plant some where has the basic essential chemical components of the cross since the planet reuses that.

Assignment

 

I took a course in the Methodist Church for using Social Media for church. I have to do blogs on it. The blog here will take a research tangent for a short time on Trees and Scripture which will give me the knowledge for a good debate between Sajiv and Sharlene about Bodhi tree and about all the other trees God uses to give us grace, our daily bread with the very air we breath, and keep our planet cool with the trees taking care of carbon dioxide.