Horace has a tree in his backyard that he worships. But he doesn’t worship it as an entity separate from God. He says that this is the incarnation of the Spirit.
He even brings proof texts. He argues that the Tree of Life was the first incarnation of the Spirit. And that Adam and Eve chose the knowledge after the flesh (or some such phrase) rather than filling themselves with the Spirit of God. Moreover, anyone who doesn’t accept the doctrine of the Tree of Life does likewise, removing themselves from the presence of God, relying on their own wisdom. They’ll quote the NT that the wisdom of this world is foolishness.
He has other proofs. After all, why does God talk about the woman’s seed? He finds this unusual. He will seize on the word “seed” as applying to plants. He will notice that plants were created before people, giving them preeminence. When someone points out to him that the Spirit is likened unto wind or breath, he will say that proves the point all the more, because trees produce oxygen.
He will point out that the Messiah is a “branch” or “shoot”, language suitable to trees. He will say that the prophet says that he will be a sapling before us. People will argue with him, pointing out that he neglected that it says “like” a sapling before us. He will argue that seizing on the pre-fix “like” is hyper-literalism, or that the rabbis and Christians altered the text to suit their theology, or that his translation doesn’t say “like”.
Some will point out the terribly obvious that one isn’t to worship a tree. But he will say that one shouldn’t worship just any tree obviously. One should only worship the Tree of Life. There is only one such tree (and right now it’s in his backyard.) Of course one should shun other trees. One should not join an asheirah cult. That would be wrong. This tree, however, is the same as the God that appeared at Mt. Sinai. (I hate typing such words, even to make a point.) He will say that it appeared at various times at scripture, including as a burning bush. He will say that one needs to be “grafted in to the tree”, quoting from the NT. (No need to point out to him that the tree to be grafted into was Israel. That’s a hyper-literal interpretation.)
Among the strongest proofs in his arsenal will be that the Tree of Life—the one in his backyard—has performed miracles. His wife ate a apple from it and her cancer disappeared. Many other occurrences like this have taken place. Also, when he himself ate of the tree, he found that he was overcome by the most incredible love of God and Man. He became truly filled with the Spirit. (So did a couple pies.) He will realize that this fits in with Acts, when tongues of fire came upon the apostles. After all, fire is kindled on wood. (At this point, he likely to shout “Praise the Tree” or some such thing.)
When someone says that Jesus did the atoning work already, he will say that it wasn’t enough. Jesus did the part, and a very important part. But because the first sin was committed with the fruit of a tree, so must the redemption be fulfilled by the fruit of the Tree. And all the time, you will be saying that, “You cannot worship a tree!” And he will agree with you, patiently, smiling. “But this isn’t any tree (just as Jesus isn’t any man.) This tree is part of the triune godhead. The scriptures have been pointing to it all the time, but we didn’t understand until we tasted the sweet apple that opened our eyes. Now that the prophecies have been fulfilled, we know what they mean. We also know why Jesus is taking so long to come back. He couldn’t return until the Tree finished the work of redemption. It all makes sense now.”
He will even introduce a third set of scriptures. He will say that one was needed for the revelation of each member of the godhead. Three persons means three testaments—the final being a tree testament.
It won’t take long until you will find yourself exasperated with such a person. And yet, worshipping a man is no different. He too is created. No man is to be worshipped. Claiming that he is one with God is no less ludicrous. It is no more true than worshipping the tree in Horace’s backyard.
It is no different being a Christian than a Horatian.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal