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Thorns in the Garden and on the Cross

December 3, 2008

As I was out for a run this evening I was listening to an audio version of Augustine’s Confessions and I came across the following passage. Expressing his remarkable gift for words, Augustine prays to God who “is able also with a tender hand to blunt the thorns which were excluded from Thy paradise!” (II.1.3). Although Augustine doesn’t explicitly mention it, I wonder if he had in mind here the crown of thorns that Jesus wore on the cross? This idea then got me thinking about the connection between the “thorns and thistles” that arose as a result of God’s curse after the Fall and the crown of thorns that Jesus bore on the cross. Is the appearance of thorns at the cross a mere coincidence? Or is Jesus’ crown of thorns another indication that he is bearing the curse of judgment brought upon creation as a result of Adam’s disobedience? What do you think? I’m interested to hear other’s thoughts on this topic.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2008 1:56 am

    Very interesting. I haven’t thought about the thorns before, but what I have been thinking about and subsequently wrote in my book: ‘The Bible: Behind the Scenes’ was the use of the cross. It was made clear to me through the working of the Holy Spirit in my life that the cross was basically the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, where all sin started, chopped up and made into a cross. So that salvation and the freedom of sin can come right where it started. It was ended on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was very interesting to me!

  2. Adam permalink
    December 5, 2008 6:55 am

    Interesting, Matt. Even if there’s no connection, thanks at least for bringing to our attention the richness of Augustine’s prayer life – how mine pale’s in comparison! I do think that a possible connection could be made, as Augustine ends his Confessions on an exposition of “rest” from Genesis 2:1-3. Perhaps the Garden, the fall, and its reversal were in his thoughts in that prayer.

  3. December 5, 2008 3:01 pm

    I think there may be some merit to Matt’s musings. Interesting thoughts. Though the literal thorn connection isn’t necessary to make the association between the cross and the curse of the Garden, there might just be something to that. Don’t know if I’d mention it in the pulpit, but it’s good food for thought.

  4. Matthew Crawford permalink
    December 6, 2008 2:08 pm

    To put my cards on the table, let me say that I do think there is a connection. From a purely human-author literary perspective, I think you can argue that Matthew had such a connection in mind when he wrote about the crown of thorns. However, I don’t think this connection was simply Matthew’s idea. Couldn’t God so ordain the events of history to make these kinds of connections take place? If so, then why shouldn’t we see a connection in this instance?

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