Christmas Trees in the Bible

The above image is from a post by J. M. Green that focuses on precisely what the image illustrates: the problematic nature of prooftexting and appeals to texts as allegedly predictions of later things.

Jeremiah 10:2-4 reads (in the version that most people who oppose Christmas trees would likely quote):

Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

Reflecting on a text like this one, and its meaning within its original literary and historical context and removed from it, can be a useful exercise for those who find it hard to grasp what is problematic about prooftexting – whether carried out by the Bible’s authors or by modern apologists.

 

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  • newenglandsun

    Did they have a coniferous forest in those areas? Any way, you should see how Protestants throw out Jeremiah 7:18, 13:18, 29:2, and 44:17-25 against Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and I assume also Oriental Orthodox and The Assyrian Church of the East to refute their views about Mary as Queen of Heaven and Mother of God.

    I was explaining in dialogue with one Protestant how those texts in Jeremiah were referencing a false Queen of Heaven who was basically a goddess of fertility understood as Queen of Heaven by her worshipers and would basically prostitute herself to them. On the contrast, Mary is a perpetual virgin.

    • Glen Cram

      Though they do have cedars, which are coniferous, this tree is probably a terebinth which was holy to the local heathens and more similar to oak.

      • newenglandsun

        Cedars are definitely not Christmas trees.

  • http://practicingresurrection.wordpress.com/ Bill

    Believe it or not, I heard a sermon once discussing whether Christmas trees are “biblical” and the pastor had constructed some proof-text argument that they indeed are. I can’t remember what texts he used, but the fact that time was being spent on arguing about whether Christmas trees are “biblical” speaks volumes. Sadly.

  • Gary

    Knowing Jeremiah was closer to E, D, and the Northern Kingdom of Israel, than J and Judah, I bet the trees are Lebanese cedars. Solomon traded northern Israel land for lumber and gold to build his temple.