One of the best books ever is The Hidden Life of Trees by forester, Peter Wohlleben. He explores how trees protect, feed, and communicate with each other. Trees are more complex than we can imagine, and they declare the general, everyday, glory of God. And in the Bible, they also tell the story of God! 

First, fruit trees (Genesis 2:4-9)! In the beginning, God planted a garden full of what must have been the tastiest, most abundant fruit trees ever. And then people were created, and placed in this garden to take care of and enjoy these amazing trees. That’s what God created us for—to enjoy the literal fruits of our labor. 

But then a second tree enters the story—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). “Don’t eat of that tree!” God warned. But the enemy convinced the first humans that God wasn’t protecting them, but withholding from them. They saw the fruit and it looked tasty, perhaps tastier than all of the fruit trees around them. And they disobeyed and brought down a curse upon themselves. But God rescued Adam and Eve from eating from the Tree of Life, which would have cursed them forever!  

God didn’t abandon humans. He kept showing up in special places like the Oaks of Mamre (Genesis 18:1). Clusters of trees in the ancient world were often used as natural temples to idols. Abraham spent some time at one of these clusters, and met the true God! God promised him that one of his descendants would bless the whole world and make all things right, even those who made mistakes. 

So, fast forward to the New Testament. The promised son of Abraham, the Son of God shows up and finds one of the scummiest people on the planet, Zacchaeus, watching him from a tree (Luke 19:4). Zacchaeus was a tax collector, who took advantage of his own people to make himself rich. But when he meets Jesus, he becomes a completely different kind of person, one who returns what he’s stolen with interest. 

But Jesus didn’t stop at just rescuing Zacchaeus. He allowed himself to be hung on a tree to rescue the whole world from sin and death (Acts 5:30). He allowed himself to take on the tree-curse (Galatians 3:13), and undo the bad decisions of our ancestors in the original garden. 

And if that doesn’t sound amazing enough, it actually gets better. In the final book of the Bible, humans are invited to eat from the Tree of Life— the one from the beginning of the story that God had to protect them from (Revelation 22:1-2)! But now, instead of eating from it and being cursed forever, we can eat of it and find true, abundant life with God (Revelation 2:7).