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Why Did God Create Prickles?

We've been diving into the book of Genesis lately, and one verse really stood out to me this week. It took me back to a memory from my early school days, a time when I was filled with questions about the Bible.


When I was in Year Two, I vividly remember sitting in class, deep in thought. My curious mind often led me to question things that didn’t make sense. One day, my teacher noticed my silence and asked, “What are you thinking about?” I responded with a question that had been troubling me: “Why did God create prickles? If God is good and creation is good, then why would He create something as painful and bothersome as prickles?”


My teacher, humble and honest, admitted she didn’t have an answer. She promised to find out and get back to me. A few days later, she approached me with a verse from Genesis. It was Genesis 3:18, which says, "I will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field." This revelation, however, only left me with more questions...


Seeking Answers

So why would God create prickles? To find answers, I did some study this week, exploring Jewish perspectives and old rabbinical teachings.


In Genesis, the creation of thorns and thistles comes just after Adam and Eve's disobedience in the Garden of Eden. After they ate the forbidden fruit, God expelled them from the garden and pronounced what is often referred to as curses. Interestingly, God did not curse Adam and Eve directly; instead, He cursed the serpent and the ground. As part of this curse on the ground, thorns and thistles were introduced, making human labor for food more difficult.


Different Perspectives

This narrative can be seen as a consequence of disobedience—a symbolic representation of the struggles that come with turning away from God. But there's more to it than just punishment.


Rabbi Jonathan Sacks offers an interpretation that sees this curse as a catalyst for human creativity in agriculture. The presence of thorns and thistles pushed humanity to develop tools and techniques to cultivate the land more efficiently, turning a curse into an opportunity for growth and innovation.


Another perspective comes from Rabbi Green, who views the curse as a call to reassess our relationship with nature. He suggests that the thorns remind us of our responsibility to care for the environment, turning a negative into a lesson in stewardship...


Some rabbis also see thorns as a metaphor for personal growth. The struggles and challenges we face in life, represented by thorns, are essential for our development.


A Deeper Meaning

In 1941, a man named George de Mestral went for a hike and returned with prickles stuck to his dog's fur and his socks. Instead of seeing this as a mere nuisance, he saw an opportunity and invented Velcro. This invention, inspired by the natural hook-and-loop mechanism of prickles, became a significant technological advancement, used by everyone from astronauts at NASA to children on their shoes.


This leads to a profound thought: If the curse brought forth prickles and prickles led to Velcro, then perhaps Velcro can be seen as a form of divine mercy. Romans 8:28 says, "We know that God works all things together for good for those who love Him." Even in a fallen world filled with literal and metaphorical prickles, there is an opportunity for good to emerge.


Scientifically, we know that thorns protect plants from being eaten by animals and help them survive. Similarly, our struggles can protect and strengthen us, helping us grow and thrive.


I don’t know what prickles you're facing in your life, but I encourage you to see them as opportunities for growth and creativity. Just as George de Mestral turned prickles into Velcro, you too can transform your challenges into something positive.


Thorns and Faith

Lastly, thorns and prickles are powerful symbols in Christianity. I believe Jesus came into the world as God in human form, and He took on every problem a human could face. He even took on thorns.


When I visited Israel, I saw the bushes used to make the crown of thorns. These thorns aren't like the small ones on roses—they are about as long as my pointer finger. When they placed the crown of thorns on Jesus' head, it is said to have been one of the most painful parts of the crucifixion. They had to hammer the crown into His head because of the length of the thorns. His face swelled greatly, and perhaps that's why some people say that when He rose again, the disciples didn't recognize Him because His face was so disfigured.


Jesus took on every bit of pain a human can face. He faced every temptation and triumphed. When they put a crown of thorns on Him, it was like Jesus was saying, "I am even the king of the thorns and the curse. I am the conqueror of it all." He wore it as a symbol that these thorns and prickles can't defeat Him. Ultimately, He overcame them.


Let's remember that Jesus wore a crown of thorns, overcoming the curse and transforming pain into triumph.


A Simple Question, A Profound Lesson

As we reflect on this story, it’s amazing to see how a simple question from the mind of a child can teach us so much about God. The curiosity of my young heart led to a journey of understanding the complexities of life and faith. So, let's embrace our questions and struggles, knowing that they can lead to deeper insights and opportunities for growth.


God works through our difficulties, turning prickles into Velcro, and challenges into triumphs!



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