Principle of the Seed

Genesis 1.11-31
Proverbs 11.25

God uses agriculture throughout Scripture to teach us the deepest things about the creation and about Himself. This teaching begins in Genesis 1 where He describes how plants (and animals) produce after their own kind and that they produce seed to make more of their kind. There are four things necessary to produce a plant:

  • Seed
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Sun

This is so obvious and common that unless you are a botanist or a horticulturist, you probably have never thought very deeply about it. Most of us are just interested in getting our lawn to grow or in keeping weeds out of the flower beds. Yet these ideas are so powerful that they underpin all of creation. Further, the ideas are used consistently throughout Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. Let's consider each in turn.

First the seed. A seed is information, life or faith. It contains all of the instructions needed to turn dirt, water and sunshine into an instance of a specific species of plant. So one wheat seed can make one stalk of wheat, one acorn can make one oak tree, one beet seed can make one beet plant and so on. Further, in addition to lumber, an oak tree will produce more acorns - a lot more.

In concept it's very simple, but in execution it is very complex. At the time of this writing, humanity has not been able to duplicate God's feat in making seeds. We can cross breed them and slice and splice the genetic codes within seeds, but we can't make them out of nothing. So, although they are conceptually simple and familiar - and thus make for great metaphor - like all else that God does, they have depth and complexity at which we can only marvel.

Scripture tells us that the Word of God is a seed - Luke 8.11 among other places. It also tells us that faith is a seed - Matthew 17.20, Luke 17.6. So rather than striving for more faith, what we should be doing is planting that seed of faith which we do have and tending the garden for a crop.

Next the earth or soil is the growth medium. It supplies substance for the plan contained within the seed. Consider an oak tree and an acorn. There is obivously nowhere near enough mass in the acorn to make an oak tree. The mass must come from the soil. In the case of people, the seed provided by the father is microscopic and has virtually no weight. So all of the material substance in the baby is supplied by the mother. By extension, that means that the earth or the soil is feminine in character. It is no coincidence that humanity is formed out of the dust of the earth and is called Adam in the Bible. Both the earth and the Hebrew word 'adam' are feminine.

It should also be noted that the soil does not determine what crop will be produced. The seed is what decides what kind of plant will come up. Anyone who plants corn expecting to reap soybeans is really not very clear on the concept. It's the same with the human heart which Scripture describes as soil - Luke 8.15. In order to bear good fruit, you must plant good seed in your heart.

Water is the activator. A seed planted in fertile soil will not produce a crop without water - consistant, adequate water. In other words, water is the thing that switches on a seed so that it can germinate.

Scripturally, blessings are water:

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered. (Pr 11:25)

Finally, sun represents season or timing. Planting good seed in fertile ground with adequate water only produces a crop if it is planted at the right season. Further, seeds take time to produce even when all conditions are optimum.

So the original list above can be restated as follows:

  • Seed - Faith, the Word of God, ideas, information
  • Soil - the human heart
  • Water - blessing or encouragement
  • Sun - season or timing

Using the above as a translation table, one is able to read the Bible and understand what is being said in simple, agricultural terms. Because God wants His people to understand His Word, he uses these simple concepts throughout. That we have lost track of this elegant simplicity becomes apparent when reading the Gospels. Y'shua spoke the Parable of the Sower and the Kingdom Parables using these simple concepts, but both His disciples and the general public had to have them decoded.