Abstract

According to Genesis, trees were created on the third day of the Creation Week.  Within a Biblical worldview, this suggests that they are discontinuous with other plant forms. Naturalists posit that trees arose by random processes from simpler photosynthetic organisms.  Fossil evidence for tree evolution from putative non-tree precursors is evaluated. It is concluded that the fossil record does not support an evolutionary origin for trees from non-tree plant forms. The earliest trees found in the fossil record were well developed, and no plausible explanation exists to overcome the enormous odds against their evolutionary origins from single-celled ancestors. It is concluded that when the fossil record, tree ecology, global Flood, and complex biochemical systems are analyzed within a Biblical worldview, the data are consistent with the Genesis account that God directly created trees.

Trees have been powerful life symbols throughout history and across cultures.  For example, Tu B’Shevat is Jewish Arbor Day and takes place on the fifteenth of Shevat, sometime between mid-January and mid-February. Shevat is the name of the Jewish month when spring begins in Israel and trees come to life again after the winter. According to Jewish tradition, Tu B’Shevat celebrates trees because they symbolize the Torah and represent beauty and vitality. The psalmist paints the analogy that those who trust and live by God’s precepts are likened to solidly rooted trees that have steadfast, fruitful, and vital lives because they are tapped into the source of life.

The word “tree” [Heb. ēts; Gr. déndron (xýlon)], also “timber” or “wood,” is referenced nearly 300 times in Scripture and is a major feature of God’s creation ( Te n n e y,   1 9 6 7,   pg   8 6 9 ) .   T h e   B i b l e specifically names at least 30 species of trees. (See Table I for a sampling of these tree species.) Linguistic difficulties, such as translating Hebrew and Greek words that are more like local common names, and a lack of direct one-to-one correspondence between species and Bible words, make it difficult to identify exactly what tree species is being discussed (Oberpriller, 2011, personal communication). For example, because of the above linguistic challenges, trees identified as pine, juniper, cypress, and cedar often preclude a precise identification….

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