Yam of God? Biblical proof that Jesus was a walking, talking plant person

Yep, that looks about right.

Editor’s note: Today’s piece is very special, and not only because it is a guest post by our good friend, Phil Ledgerwood. No, today’s post is special because it presents, finally, the exhaustive and definitive case that Jesus was basically Groot. (Which makes him even more awesome.)

Obviously, this essay was written in good fun, and I hope you enjoy it. But the serious point here is that if you replace “Jesus is a plant” with “the earth is 6,000 years old,” and change some of the Bible references, you would pretty much have the basics of every young-earth creationist book, blog and museum placard ever written. These are the same arguments.

Just something to think about. Because, if the exact same hermeneutic by which you attempt to prove a recent creation can also lend credence to the idea of Jesus as plant man, you’re probably not using the Bible appropriately.

Christos Herba: The Case for a Botanical Christ

Praise His majesty.

Praise his majesty.

Due to postmodern historiographies and a desire to present a Christ more palatable to our modern sensibilities, many historians and theologians portray Christ as a human being.  In fact, this view is so prevalent in our day that it wouldn’t even occur to someone to challenge it.  None dare call it heresy.

However, this view of Christ does not honor God’s holy and inspired Word.  It, instead, twists the plain meaning of the text into something that is easier for Christians to accept as they bow the knee to modern science and social pressures.

True Christians need not bow to these idols, however.  The Church needs once again to be reminded that she is on the firm ground of the Word by taking the text as God wrote it, and proclaiming the truth that Jesus was a plant during his earthly ministry.

The Exegetical Case

Note how, in this piece of artwork, Jesus is depicted sitting on a tree. But Scripture does not say Jesus sat on the true vine, it says he is the true vine. This type of compromise is very common in the Church today.

Note how, in this piece of artwork, Jesus is depicted sitting on a tree. But Scripture does not say Jesus sat on the true vine, it says he is the true vine. This type of compromise is very common in the Church today.

There are very few verses that speak to the issue of whether or not Jesus was a plant.  There are certainly no verses that clearly state that he was not.  The times that it is addressed, however, the text is quite clear.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

— John 15:1-5, KJV (Authorized Version, emphasis mine)

A plain reading of the text shows that Jesus was a vine.  There is just no other way to interpret it without twisting the words around to mean whatever you want them to.  If Jesus says he is a vine, and we say he is not a vine at all, then we can make any word in Scripture mean anything we want to, and this is exactly what unstable people do.

The Greek word for “vine” in these passages is ampelos.  This word occurs only one other place in Scripture, and that is James 3:12.  That passage reads:

“Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? Either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” – James 3:12, KJV (Authorized Version)

Clearly, James is referring to a literal vine and not a human being.

We have established that, everywhere else in Scripture we find ampelos, it means a literal vine.  If “vine” is meant to represent a human being in this particular location, we’d need to find God saying that, somewhere.

To further put the nail in the coffin of those who would make God a liar is that Jesus qualifies the word “vine” with “true” – alethine.  It’s as if he is going out of his way to make sure we understand he is really a vine!  How much clearer could he be?  What else could he say if he were trying to get across that he was really and truly a vine?

This word only occurs two other places in Scripture, both times also in the Gospel of John.  In 8:16, it refers to Christ’s judgement being true, and in 19:35, it refers to his testimony being true.  Can true in these contexts mean anything other than 100 percent truthfulness and accuracy?  Is Christ saying that his judgements and his testimonies are only symbolically true or allegorically true?  Of course not.

To recap:

  • The text clearly says Jesus is a vine in a passage that is obviously meant to communicate an actual historical event. Jesus actually said it, and it plainly says what it says.
  • The Greek word for “vine” in this passage always means a literal “vine” everywhere else.
  • The use of the word “true” to modify “vine” shows the clear intention that his statement is 100 percent true and scientifically accurate, just like everything else in Scripture.

Old Testament Witness

Mossman, from "Masters of the Universe." Jesus could totally take him.

Mossman, from “Masters of the Universe.” Jesus could totally take him.

The Old Testament prophets clearly foresaw a day when the Messiah would be a plant, as the following texts from multiple prophets demonstrate.

“In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.” — Isa. 4:2

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” – Isa. 11:1

“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” — Isa. 11:10

“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” — Isa. 53:2

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” — Jer. 23:5

“In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.” — Jer. 33:15

“Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.” — Zech. 3:8

Witness of the Early Church

Swamp Thing, of course, wouldn't stand a chance.

Swamp Thing, of course, wouldn’t stand a chance.

Here are some quotes from the early church that show that Jesus Vinism™ was their default view.

“On the part of those who come to the vine, their union with him depends upon a deliberate act of the will.” – St. Cyril of Alexandria

“We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine, David thy Son, which thou hast made known unto us through Jesus Christ thy Son; to thee be the glory for ever.” – The Didache

Common Objections

It's fascinating, but also sad, how some secular media, like "The Sims" video game, are more willing to embrace biblical teachings than many Christians today.

It’s fascinating, but also sad, how some secular media, like “The Sims” video game, are more willing to embrace biblical teachings than many Christians today.

Taking a stand for the truth of God’s Word is not popular today.  Many unbelievers and perhaps even other Christians may make fun of a view like this that is so “old-fashioned” and out of sync with the scientific community.  Well, may God be true and every man a liar (Rom. 3:4).

Nevertheless, here are some of the more popular arguments you may encounter.

This view is self-evidently wrong.

It’s interesting how the same people who profess a dedication to research and evidence are so willing to dismiss the Jesus Plant view out of hand without even seriously considering it.  This is no argument at all.  God’s Word sounds foolish to the “wise” of this world (1 Cor. 1:20, 1:27, 3:18-19).

Show them the evidence and ask if they can produce a single text where ampelos means “human being” or a single instance of alethine that means “not exactly true.”

This is really, really stupid.

In logic, we call this an ad hominem.  It is a fallacy and just shows how the Jesus Humanists have no real case.

Jesus did things plants cannot do, such as talk and move around.

First, this argument depends on the fallacy of uniformity – the unproven assumption that we can use the way nature works today as an indicator of how nature has always worked.  How do you know plants could not talk and move around back then?  Were you there?  How do you know this is impossible?  The fact that we find no mention of plants talking and moving around just shows how commonplace it must have been.  It’s hardly remarkable in biblical times.  This objection is just a wild guess that has no basis in actual fact.  It is quite possible that talking plants were common in Jerusalem, but were wiped out in 70 AD.

Second, this puts into doubt the power of God.  Could God not make a plant talk and move around?  Why is it so hard to believe God could do that?  Perhaps your God is too small.  God made a donkey talk and allowed it to see into the spiritual realm (Numbers 22:21-39), and it didn’t seem to faze anyone.

Third, this is evaluating the truth of the Word of God with naturalistic claims instead of the other way around.  If God’s Word says a vine talked, then our view of science needs to take into account such occurrences.  We do not rule them out just because “science says so.”  That is putting science on a throne passing judgment on God’s Word, and it ought to be the other way around.

If Jesus were a plant, this would interfere with Paul’s “Second Adam” theology.

Perhaps, unless Adam were also a plant.

This is more speculative because Scripture does not actually say Adam was a plant, and that is a whole different topic to get into.  But if Christ is clearly a plant, and he is the second Adam, then it is probable that Adam was also a plant, albeit a specially created plant on the sixth day.  Everything in Genesis points forward to Christ (Luke 24:13-32), and we have to take that seriously.

But you’ll notice Adam doesn’t do much besides talk and hide – easily definitive characteristics of the walking and talking plants of the ancient world.  Also, he comes out of the dust of the Earth and is placed in a garden.  It’s hard to ignore how all the pieces easily fit together.

The "Goosebumps" TV show offers another example of secular media tragically more eager to support biblical truth than supposed "Christians."

The “Goosebumps” TV show offers another example of secular media tragically being more inclined to accept the Bible than supposed “Christians.”

Consequences

Some may ask, “What does it matter if Jesus were a plant or a man?  Isn’t that just some trivial detail with no practical application to our lives?”

It may seem that way on the surface, but keep in mind that what is at stake here is the integrity of God’s Word.  Jesus is either a vine or he isn’t.  God’s Word says he is, straight from the mouth of Jesus, himself.  Either Jesus is actually a vine, as the Bible says, or he isn’t, in which case the Bible is in error.

This means that God is either a liar or fallible, but either way, if Jesus is not a vine as the text clearly states, then how can we trust the Bible on issues like forgiveness and salvation?  The very core issues of the Gospel are at stake here.  I’m not trying to say that the Vininity of Christ is a salvation issue, but I am saying that if you don’t believe the literal truth of God’s Word, then you are probably going to Hell.

The Church cannot afford caving to secularism on this or any other issue.  Either the Bible literally means what it says, or it cannot be trusted.  If it is not accurate in every way, then it is not God inspired and we all should just ignore it.

True Christians know better, though.

Lord?

Lord?

  • Jake Hughes

    The amount of win in this post is directly proportional to the amount of lulz it initiated from me.

    • I believe formal logicians refer to that principle as the First Law of Win and Lulz.

  • Sheila Warner

    Coincidentally, I just read the review of “The Bible Tells Me So” over at AIG. This is hilarious, & I can laugh harder due to that review. Priceless. BTW, I did read the book for myself. I found that particular review steeped in circular thinking. Thanks for this gem!

  • Aceofspades25

    This is brilliant! Bravo!

  • Cale B.T.

    1. No respectable exegete would say that a case for the metaphorical character of the early chapter of Genesis is an unambigous as the metaphorical character of Jesus’ statement that he is the Vine in John 15.

    2. No Patristic citations can be given for the idea that Jesus was a plant: the authors know full well that St. Cyril of Alexandria and the Didache provide no support for this view. Conversely, no scholar would deny that many of the Fathers did have a fairly literal approach to the early chapters of Genesis.

    So the attempt to say “See, it’s just like creationists!” fails, I think.

    • What’s the unambiguous case for Jesus’ statement being metaphorical? I’m pretty sure that case boils down to “obviously Jesus isn’t a plant.” There is actually MORE of a case for a metaphorical Genesis 1.

      • Cale B.T.

        1. It occurs as one of a number of metaphors in John, which cannot all be literally true. E.g. Jesus also says “I am the door” “I am the good shepherd”.

        2. Jesus clearly explains how this is an analogy for Him and His followers in the subsequent verses:

        I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

        Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

        Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

        Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

        I am the vine, *ye are the branches*: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

        If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

        • 1. He is a plant AND a door AND a shepherd. Those things can all be harmonized. He is a plant that also tends sheep, and we know that shepherds guard the door of the sheepfold with their own bodies. Works just fine. Shouldn’t we prefer harmonization over the theory that Jesus said things about himself that weren’t true?

          2. Obviously the disciples are also plant-people. I didn’t have time to fully explore all the ramifications for other Scriptures in my short article.

          • Cale B.T.

            You know perfectly well that no serious biblical scholar of any stripe thinks that those passages from John are literal descriptions, and that no Church Father thought so.

            Stop playing games and admit that it’s a terrible analogy.

            As for “preferring harmonisation over Jesus saying things about himself that weren’t true” even the strictest inerrantist recognises that something can be metaphorical and still be true, and so this is a false dilemma.

          • Jake Hughes

            “even the strictest inerrantist recognises that something can be metaphorical and still be true, and so this is a false dilemma.”

            Uh… I think that’s the entire point. See Phil’s other meme about saying you “thought of your wife as the sun set” is both metaphorically true and accurate. The point is that the story of Creation and Genesis can be metaphor without degrading the overall Truth of the message.

          • You know perfectly well that no serious biblical scholar of any stripe thinks that those passages from John are meant to be literal descriptions, and that no Church Father thought so.

            Stop playing games and admit that it’s a terrible analgy.

            I can no longer tell if Cale’s problem is that he (?) has no idea what satire is or that he was tragically born without a sense of humor.

            As for “preferring harmonisation over Jesus saying things about himself that weren’t true” even the strictest inerrantist recognises that something can be metaphorical and still be true, and so this is a false dilemma.

            OK, yeah, I’m thinking it’s the second one.

            And Cale? You’re wrong. YEC proponents’ arguments against our view is based entirely around the assertion that we are “making God a liar” and “rejecting God’s truth” because we hold Genesis to be both true and metaphorical.

            If it weren’t for commenters on this site whose only purpose here is to tell me Genesis is either literal history or “a lie,” I’d probably never talk to young-earth creationists.

          • Cale B.T.

            >You’re wrong

            No, because those who think that you are incorrect in holding Genesis to be metaphorical, don’t, in principle, reject the idea of passages being metaphorical and yet still true: they just don’t think it applies
            in the case in question.

            And that’s why saying “you know, Jesus says in John’s Gospel that He is a vine” to establish the point that some passages in Scripture are metaphorical doesn’t really get us anywhere: everybody believes that *some* passages in Scripture are metaphorical. The question is whether *these particular* passages in Genesis are metaphorical.

          • Cale, first of all, your hypothetical conjecture about what you suppose my critics think does not trump my actual experiences of what they say and have told me they believe. I’m telling you that most, if not all, of the young-earth creationism proponents I’ve encountered in this site believe exactly what I said above. If you are not among them, congratulations. You are more reasonable than virtually all of your literalist brethren.

            Second of all, I’m really concerned about your nkw painfully obvious inability to recognize and understand satire. Your concluding point is basically the entire thrust of Phil’s piece.

            By any standards one might normally use to classify such things, it is far more clear that Genesis 1-3 are allegorical than it is that John 15 is metaphor. If the creation accounts are not symbolism, then Jesus really is a plant after all.

          • Cale B.T.

            >I’m telling you that most, if not all, of the young-earth creationism proponents I’ve encountered in this site believe exactly what I said above.

            I’m sure they believe that you “making God a liar” and “rejecting God’s truth” because we hold Genesis to be both true and metaphorical. I absolutely accept this claim.

            But that’s not what I’m disputing though: I’m saying that those people *already* recognise that *some* parts of the Bible are to be taken metaphorically, and that consequently, saying “Not everything has to be taken literally, look at Jesus calling himself the Vine” misses the point.

            >it is far more clear that Genesis 1-3 are allegorical than it is that John 15 is metaphor.

            The Fathers didn’t think so. Origen wrote, in reply to the pagan Celsus:

            “After these statements, Celsus, from a secret desire to cast discredit upon the Mosaic account of the creation, which teaches that the world is not yet ten thousand years old, but very much under that, while concealing his wish, intimates his agreement with those who hold that the world is uncreated.”

            St. Augustine wrote:*”…we reckon, from the evidence of the holy Scriptures, that fewer than 6,000 years have passed since man’s first origin.”

            While this only indicates his view on the age of humanity, it pretty clearly shows that he took the genealogies pretty literally.

            Similarly, Theophilus of Antioch wrote: “For my purpose is not to furnish mere matter of much talk, but to throw light upon the number of years from the foundation of the world, and to condemn the empty labour and trifling of these authors, because there have neither been twenty thousand times ten thousand years from the flood to the present time, as Plato said, affirming that there had been so many years; nor yet 15 times 10,375 years, as we have already mentioned Apollonius the Egyptian gave out…”

            And I guarantee you that not one of the Fathers believed that Jesus was a literal vine.

          • I’m sure they believe that you “making God a liar” and “rejecting God’s truth” because we hold Genesis to be both true and metaphorical. I absolutely accept this claim.

            Did you mean to say “true and historical/literal”? That Genesis is true and metaphorical is our position. Your position is “metaphor=lies+Satan.”

            But that’s not what I’m disputing though: I’m saying that those people *already* recognise that *some* parts of the Bible are to be taken metaphorically, and that consequently, saying “Not everything has to be taken literally, look at Jesus calling himself the Vine” misses the point.

            Oh for crying out loud. Except that the exact same arguments, reasoning and methods of biblical interpretation by which you argue Genesis 1-3 is literal would also prove Jesus is a plant. That is the point.

            I really do understand that no one believes Jesus is a plant. That really, truly was not the point of this piece. The point is that there is no way to distinguish the arguments.

            They are both deeply symbolic theological passages, which can only be interpreted as literal through a combination of misunderstanding and highly specious and ad hoc reasoning.

            The Fathers didn’t think so.

            Your list of quotes is cherry picked a d highly misleading, which is par for the course whenever a young-earthers sets out to construct a list of quotes.

            Origen was actually pretty sold on a non-literal view of Genesis. He wrote about how foolish it was to suppose that plants (day 3) existed before the sun (day 4), or that mankind fell by literally chewing on the fruit of a literal tree.

            Both Augustine and Theophilus (but probably more so Augustine) held to both allegorical (or what Theophilus called “spiritual”) and literal views of Genesis. Augustine even advocated for the view that the creation was instaneous, and the days only serve to give the narrative a literary structure.

            How old they thought the earth was is nothing more than a product of the prescientific time in which they lived. I’m sure they also believed the earth was at the center of the universe, and the sun orbited around it, and there was no such thing as germs, other planets or North America.

            Point is, they weren’t right about everything. We have access to a lot more knowledge now than they did then, and if we let it, it helps us better understand God and his word.

          • Cale B.T.

            >That Genesis is true and metaphorical is our position.

            Oops. Sorry, I was cutting and pasting from your previous comment, so that slipped by me.

            > Your position is “metaphor=lies+Satan.”

            Actually, while I’m a YEC, I don’t see this as such an open and shut issue as people like Ken Ham do. I think that this is a complex issue which certainly can’t be hastily dismissed as metaphor=lies+Satan.

            I think you have unfairly stereotyped me in this comment.

            >The point is that there is no way to distinguish the arguments.

            Right, I get that that’s what you are trying to get across, but when we take something like the Fouts paper I linked to earlier, it’s pretty clear that *nobody* could construct argue along those lines for Jesus as a plant person.

            On the Fathers: Yes, Augustine cautioned readers to not jump the gun on these issues. Yes, he did talk about the Rationes Seminalis.

            None of that changes the fact that he clearly affirmed the historicity of the genealogies in that quote. Do you disagree?

            >Origen was actually pretty sold on a non-literal view of Genesis.

            You are correct that Origen cautioned readers not to be too literal about the order of events in the six days of creation, but that quote clearly demonstrates that he believed in a Young Earth.

          • Oops. Sorry, I was cutting and pasting from your previous comment, so that slipped by me.

            You’re forgiven. These things do happen.

            Actually, while I’m a YEC, I don’t see this as such an open and shut issue as people like Ken Ham do. I think that this is a complex issue which certainly can’t be hastily dismissed as metaphor=lies+Satan.

            I think you have unfairly stereotyped me in this comment.

            You are sort of right. I was being hyperbolic, for humorous effect. I think that was pretty clear. But I’m sorry if I caused offense. I appreciate the effort to be more open-minded than Ken Ham. Not that that’s hard or anything, but there are plenty of folks who don’t even try.

            Right, I get that that’s what you are trying to get across, but when we take something like the Fouts paper I linked to earlier, it’s pretty clear that *nobody* could construct argue along those lines for Jesus as a plant person.

            Maybe, maybe not, but this piece is not a satire of the Fouts paper. It’s a satire of young-earth proponents in general. I.e., these are the points and types of arguments that you tend to encounter again and again.

            That’s what makes it so funny (for most people). They’ve all seen YEC proponents do exactly what this article does in advancing a ridiculous position.

            None of that changes the fact that he clearly affirmed the historicity of the genealogies in that quote. Do you disagree?

            I don’t disagree. I already said Augustine believed in a young earth; he had no reason not to. Just like he had no reason, from scripture, to believe the earth moves around the sun, or that germs cause disease, or that other planets and electricity and North America exist.

            Again, my point is, we should use all of the knowledge now available to us in understanding God’s revelation in both his word and his work in creation, rather than limit ourselves only to the knowledge available to folks in the fourth century. Do you disagree with that?

            You are correct that Origen cautioned readers not to be too literal about the order of events in the six days of creation, but that quote clearly demonstrates that he believed in a Young Earth.

            Um, no, he didn’t “caution” readers about being “too literal about the order of events in the six days of creation,” he said it was foolish to take the creation accounts literally:

            “For who that has understanding willsup­pose that the first, and second, and third day, and the evening and the morning, ex­isted without a sun, and moon, and stars? And that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? And who is so foolish as to suppose that God, after the manner of a husbandman, planted a paradise in Eden, towards the east, and placed in it a tree of life, visible and palpable, so that one tasting of the fruit by the bodily teeth obtained life? And again, that one was a partaker of good and evil by masticating what was taken from the tree? And if God is said to walk in the paradise in the evening, and Adam to hide himself under a tree, I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indi­cate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance, and not literally.”

            As to him believing in a young earth, I direct you back to my comments on Augustine, above. If you want to go back to third- and fourth-century living because you think these guys had it made, then be my guest, but I’m not going with you.

          • I established a pretty solid case that the early church fathers thought Jesus was a plant. The argument, of course, would be that I’m taking those quotes out of their entire theological system because, on a plain and isolated reading, they appear to support my point.

            Exactly.

          • Cale B.T.

            Right, so what the satire establishes is that it’s bad to take Patristic statements out of context. But, as I’ve already said, no Patristic scholar would deny that many of the Fathers *did* take a literalistic approach to the early chapters of Genesis, and that creationists aren’t taking them out of context. That’s where your attempt to satirise creationism breaks down.

          • Chris

            Dude, the post was to poke fun at how the narrow-minded YEC view appears to those of us who can see the metaphorical side of it. I mean it, as clearly as you are upset over what was displayed as satire– IS EXACTLY AS RIDICULOUS AS YEC VIEW LOOKS.

          • Cale B.T.

            I’m not upset over it, I just don’t think it’s good satire and I’m trying to explain why. If the author wants to satirise those who take a literal approach to Genesis to somebody who think that John 15 means that Jesus is a vine, then why can’t I try to address what I see to be flaws in that comparison?

          • Chris

            why can’t I try to address what I see to be flaws in that comparison?

            Because you are taking even the satire literally, not seeing the underlying point it is trying to make! No one literally believes Jesus is a plant, that is what the whole point is. Just like no one needs to literally see 6 day creation to be a true Christian, don’t you see the parallel? He’s not saying this is better literal than that, he’s saying it’s ridiculous to be that literal in the first place.

          • I know, isn’t it hilarious? It’s like every time he tries to show how the satire isn’t good he does nothing but further prove how perfect it is.

          • Some of them did, some of them did not. It doesn’t change the fact that many YEC rants use such “evidence” very uncritically in their arguments.

          • Cale B.T.

            >Some of them did,

            Right, and not one believed that Jesus was a plant, so do you now concede that there really isn’t a parity between quoting from the Fathers to argue for a literal approach to Genesis, and quoting from the Fathers to argue that Jesus is a vine, as implied by your satire?

          • No, not at all. You’ve missed the point.

            The point of the satire is to show the bankruptcy of YEC argumentation, not establish that Jesus as a plant is somehow a more well-established view.

            By quoting the early church fathers in my article, I was demonstrating that anyone can be selective about early church father quotes if they are divorced from said father’s overall thought, which is something YECers often do. The fact that some early church fathers held to a literal view of Genesis isn’t irrelevant.

            The satire isn’t that early church fathers also believed ludicrous things. That wouldn’t be a satire – that would be a direct counter argument. Obviously the early church fathers didn’t believe Jesus was a plant, -but I can use them- to appear as if they did. Your point seems to be that, on occasion, YECers represent an early church father’s views faithfully, and therefore the satire is invalid. I disagree. The whole point of the satire is that the -method of argumentation- of the YEC camp is often poor and, if used consistently, could end us up in some weird places.

            I’m sure there are YECers who do not use the argumentation I satirized in my article, and good for them. It doesn’t invalidate the fact that the overwhelming majority of them use terrible, poorly thought through arguments that they would never agree to in other places of scripture.

          • If you tried to do a post based on what Cale thinks satire is, it would be the worst piece of writing of any kind in the whole history of writing of any kind.

          • “You guys know how Calvinists are always like, “It’s the sovereignty of God,” and Arminians are always like, “It’s our free will?””

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/463da974e1797d90531f239c3343f511e9502f443c7caa2157fd1d4b93ebe486.jpg

          • Oh for crying out loud, Cale. Seriously. I’m honestly trying to be charitable here, but I can’t ignore that every single one of your criticisms boils down to “I don’t understand what satire is.” You’re like the guy who reads The Onion and says, “But…John Boehner’s not really a werewolf. …I don’t get it.”

          • Sheila Warner

            You don’t see the satire because it seems as if you are a YEC type of believer. Seems like those of us who have been attacked by YEC believers are the only ones who see just how funny this really is.

          • Sheila Warner

            Ha! Not in my church & family when I was growing up. I was carefully nutured, groomed, & surrounded by Ken Hams. I lived & breathed this stuff for years & years. Just look at Ham’s following & see for yourself. The Bible is seen as literal, word for word, authored by God, & the supreme authority for all people in all places in every age.

          • Ham’s Facebook following of hateful and incurious sheeple are about the least Christian group of people I’ve ever had the misfortune of encountering. And it is most certainly a curated group, as evidenced by his swift banning of anyone who expresses a position that he does disagree with.

          • Sheila Warner

            Unfortunately, you are describing the people I grew up around. As for banning, no mention of outside views were ever permitted in my church. It really hurt my faith for some time.

          • I’m sorry to hear that, Sheila, though such experiences are tragically common. That’s one of the reasons we do what we do.

          • Sheila Warner

            And the work you’re doing is helping me crawl & scratch my way to some sanity.

          • Cale B.T.

            But Ken Ham does believe that at least *some* of the Bible is meant to be taken metaphorically, he just disagrees with Tyler over the extent.

          • Sheila Warner

            Not about the important things. I’m sure Ham doesn’t believe people should really pluck out their eye, or cut off their hand, for example. But in so many important matters, Ham is a literalist right down the line. The Flood was real, Job was real, Jonah was real. The earth is young, and dinosaurs lived alongside humans. It’s just ridiculous.

          • No, they don’t. I can’t tell you how many YECers have said that I am “calling God a liar” by saying that the six days of Genesis 1 aren’t six literal days.

            Obviously, I don’t believe Jesus was an actual plant, but the exegetical case you offered is far more sparse than the case for why Genesis 1 isn’t literal, and can easily be argued against in the exact same manner people argue for YEC. That’s the point of the article.

    • 1. You’re wrong. Every young-earth creationist argument from scripture pretty much boils down to, “Genesis is obviously literal.” They just use the word “plainly” instead of “obviously.”

      Phil has, quite correctly, used the exact same reasoning in his facetious argument that Jesus was a plant. The only response is that he has misinterpreted a passage that was obviously meant to be read as metaphor. Which is precisely the case with Genesis 1-3.

      The satire is uncannily apt. I’m guessing the reason you don’t like it is because it hits a little too close to home.

      2. When you start arguing the finer points of a satirical piece, it’s probably a good sign you’ve missed the point of the satire. Or misunderstood what satire even is.

      • Cale B.T.

        >Genesis is obviously literal.” They just use the word “plainly” instead of “obviously.”

        Sure, some people do just go with a bald assertion that it is “plainly” literal, but to say that this is what every YEC treatment of the early chapters of Genesis boils down to is false. Do you really think that?

        >.The only response is that he has misinterpreted a passage that was obviously meant to be read as metaphor

        Right, but as I said above, the issue is not whether this *can* happen, the issue is whether this *is* happening with regard to Genesis.

        2. What am I missing? Presumably, the point of the citation of the Fathers is to show that they didn’t actually believe that Jesus was a Vine, and that quoting them out of context like this is silly, and to imply that creationists are similarly quoting the Fathers out of context.

        But, as I already mentioned, there simply isn’t a parity between the two examples: no scholar would deny that quotes from many of the Fathers do establish that they had a fairly literal approach to the early chapters of Genesis.

        • Sure, some people do just go with a bald assertion that it is “plainly” literal, but to say that this is what every YEC treatment of the early chapters of Genesis boils down to is false.

          No, it isn’t.

          Do you really think that?

          Yes, I do. That’s why, earlier, I said that I think that.

          Right, but as I said above, the issue is not whether this *can* happen, the issue is whether this *is* happening with regard to Genesis.

          Um, I don’t like to say, “Duh,” to people, but, duh. I know you struggle with satire, Cale, but you do know that arguing Jesus was a plant is not really what Phil is talking about. This is all about Genesis. The introduction explains that quite clearly.

          • Cale B.T.

            Okay, one counterexample, then: David Fouts’ ETS paper “Selected Lexical and Grammatical Studies in Genesis One” . Whether you agree with him or not, it’s false to say that his arguments boil down to a mere assertion that this is the plain reading.

            > you do know that arguing Jesus was a plant is not really what Phil is talking about.

            Yes, I know, but I’m questioning whether the satire actually works.

          • Fred Fauth

            The satire doesn’t work because it is perfectly analogous. It works because it draws a sufficient number of parallels to make a point, and… it is hilarious. Obviously there are some learned and thoughtful theologians who are YECs. But, the vast majority of the vocal YEC crowd on boards uses essentially the same type of arguments laid out (in a most humorous way) here.

            You obviously don’t have to agree with it, but the satire is a win because it is largely written to those who already agree with the position being argued (satires are always funniest to people who agree with the satirist’s premise).

            This is one of those times where you should probably just laugh and move on.

          • This^^^

          • Okay, one counterexample, then: David Fouts’ ETS paper “Selected Lexical and Grammatical Studies in Genesis One” . Whether you agree with him or not, it’s false to say that his arguments boil down to a mere table-pounding assertion that this is the plain reading.

            You’re right. He also uses lexical arguments and comparative word stories. But wait — gasp! So did the author of this piece! Egad, it’s almost as if he intended to demonstrate exactly how shallow and ultimately meaningless these exact types of arguments are!

            Cale, you started all this by saying the satire doesn’t work because it’s inaccurate, and now you’re proceeding to argue your case for the literalist(-ish) interpretation of Genesis using exactly the arguments and reasoning that the piece used and which you claimed were inaccurate.

            I guess my question is, are you doing this intentionally to make us all laugh, or are you just as confused by the concept of irony as you are by satire?

            Yes, I know, but I’m questioning whether the satire actually works.

            Well, your questioning is proving that it works exceptionally well.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        2. When you start arguing the finer points of a satirical piece, it’s probably a good sign you’ve missed the point of the satire. Or misunderstood what satire even is.

        “When you point at something with your finger, the dog sniffs your finger. To a dog, a finger is a finger and that is that.”
        — C.S.Lewis
        P.S. “I AM GROOT.”

  • Fred Fauth

    Hilarious!!! Excellent exegesis.

  • Norm Englund

    Today, I find myself troubled. Have we misunderstood the motivation of the Romans and the Sanhedrin? Or did their efforts against Jesus actually help Jesus?

    Jesus was a vine. Did the efforts of the Romans and Sanhedrin actually succeed in building him a trellis, supporting his growth? Did he set down (descend) roots into the earth (hell), then grow upward (ascend) into heaven?

    I fear that I may be falling into a nonliteralistic trap… 

  • Chris

    Best. Post. Ever.

  • This is one of the greatest things I’ve read in a long time.

  • Mortification240

    Yes, Jesus the plant, and God the tock/hawk

  • brengun

    This is top shelf satire. Bravo. That said, I’m just a little unclear on how Jesus can also be “the light”; would he not then end up photosynthesizing himself? I’m not doubting, just suggesting that there are a few theological/scientific hiccups to iron out. And I might as well coin it just because I can: Vininology (when the theology and botany departments collide and cross-pollinate).

    • Sheila Warner

      Self photosynthesis. Could explain the resurrection?

    • There are some plants that are photoluminescent. I’d probably go that route.

      • brengun

        Nice save.

    • Perhaps a photoluminescent plant, like some sort of algae, as Phil suggested, or maybe he was a plant that was white in color or perhaps even possessed some sort of reflective, mirror-like quality? Genesis 1 calls the moon “a light,” though it generates no light of its own and simply reflects the sun’s light. Perhaps there is something similar at work here.

      • brengun

        Possible, but let’s face it, these kinds of faith shaking paradoxes are why theologians are paid the big bucks (15.25$ an hour last I checked) while us mortals flop around looking for answers. Bet they could wrap this one up over a working lunch.

  • ashleyhr

    Off-topic but this ‘warrior’ Christian is accusing Tyler of believing in spontaneous generation. Really?

    http://worldviewwarriors.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/love-of-bible-part-2.html

    • That guy is a troll and a hack. You should just ignore him, like everybody else. Seriously, Ashley, you’re probably the only person that reads that site.

  • ashleyhr

    I’ve attempted the following comment under that new Steve Risner Worldview Warriors article (about your past blogs) that I mentioned just now. He will OF COURSE censor it despite telling me in the past that he does not censor for reasons of actual content only for any alleged misbehaviour:

    “The Bible is PRE-scientific. Thus, if taken literally, it DOES imply a flat Earth and waters ‘above the sky’ etc – both of which are nonsense. Either it is not attempting to be scientific – or else it IS and it is frequently UNSCIENTIFIC ie wrong.”

  • ashleyhr

    And Steve Risner also misuses the word ‘science’ in his final para – to mean That Which Does Not Conflict With Our Religion:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2015/10/22/white-evangelical-church-goers-think-their-science-is-better-than-the-science-those-stupid-scientists-say-is-science/

  • ashleyhr

    I’ve just read this blog. Jesus was a ‘plant’ would be to take figurative Bible verses (of which there are quite a lot) too literally. Whereas, although they are literalists, what YECs do I think is to make deductions from Bible genealogies and from Genesis to conclude that the Bible writers by extension God thought/knew that Earth was ‘young’ (which we now know from geology and astronomy it is NOT and I don’t just mean 2,000 years or so older than previously).

  • myklc

    I feel this implies that, the disciples at least, were also plants (“I am the Vine, you are the Branches.”)
    Is my salvation in doubt because I don’t see myself as a plant?

    • That’s certainly a valid implication. But we also have to keep in mind Jesus is speaking to his immediate disciples, not necessarily to all believers at all times. It’s possible the man/plant distinction is one that’s torn down in the New Covenant.

      • All I know is, I gave away my bed after I read this piece by Phil. I’ve started sleeping in a giant pot of soil instead, with nothing but a light dew for a blanket. You guys can believe what you want, but if Jesus says I’m a plant, who am I to say otherwise?

      • myklc

        Ah! “In Christ there is neither slave nor free, Jew nor Greek, Male nor Female, Animal nor Vegetable.”
        That explains the variant mss for Colossians 3:11 and Galatians 3:28, suppressed for so long by the anti-ampelosians.
        Thanks Phil!

    • Your salvation is not in doubt, but you need to stop conforming to the ways of the world and be transformed to His image.

      Ask yourself: Do I bear good fruit?

      • myklc

        Thanks, Yewnique! I’ve never had anyone complain about the quality of my fruit.
        Wait a minute! . . .

    • Caleb Farrelly

      No, you’ve got it wrong we are in fact going to be plants when we recieve our new bodies in heaven.

      See my comment.

  • D. Humeston

    This piece of satire is awesome. I know young earth people, and I hope I can get them to read this.

  • Caleb Farrelly

    Did they often have plant gardeners in Judea?
    (Read this literally! i.e. garderners who were plants themselves).

    John 20:15 (ESV)
    15 Jesus said to her “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

    Because this passage suggests that.

    OR that Mary was delusional.

    • Hmm… Well, the Bible does talk about how Jesus became man so we could be a high priest that understands our weaknesses… Maybe he became a plant for a similar reason?

  • Caleb Farrelly

    Now we can understand what our new bodies will look like in heaven.

    PLANTS!

    • Caleb Farrelly

      New bodies:
      Romans 8:23b (NLT)
      We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.

      Other versions of the bible do not state it as explicitly as this. So this translation is most accurate for this verse.

    • That’s quite possible. Another option is that, since the new Jerusalem is a city and not a garden, our bodies will be skyscrapers. I try not to be too dogmatic about eschatological views.

  • Caleb Farrelly

    If Adam was a plant (like Jesus the second Adam) then why did he eat fruit in the Garden of Eden?

    Also he would have to be a part of a male and female plant species.

    • Chris

      That was before the great literal worldwide flood, everything was different then when it’s convenient for an answer!

    • It’s typology for the Lord’s Supper.