Why Did God Make Weeds?

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by Erik Lutz on January 31, 2019
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:11–12)

Genesis 1 tells us God created the plants on day 3 of creation week. Does this mean God created the plants we call “weeds”? Yes, he did!

After God finished his work on day 3, he saw everything he had made and said it was “good.” This means even the plants we find pesky today God designed for a good purpose. What was that purpose? Here are some examples of the good things weeds do:

  1. Animals and especially people turn up soil, leaving it bare. Rain quickly washes the soil away, taking with it important minerals and nutrients. The hot sun bakes the soil, killing the tiny creatures that live in it. But weeds are God’s “repair squad.” They grow pretty much anywhere, and grow quickly, helping keep the soil moist and in its place.
  2. God has designed a process called “ecological succession.” That’s a fancy name for the way communities of plants and animals change over time. If you see a patch of bare dirt, weeds are the first plants to move in. They heal and protect the soil. Then other plants and creatures begin to move in. Eventually you may see a forest or other mature ecosystem (community of plants and animals). The weeds are an important first step in this process!
  3. Many weeds can be eaten or used as medicine (though you should never eat a plant you find outdoors without an adult’s permission). Dandelions, the pretty yellow flowers that probably grow in your yard, were actually brought to America as vegetables! The whole plant—including the leaves, roots, stem, and flowers—can be eaten.

Are Weeds Because of Sin?

We know that after Adam and Eve sinned, creation changed. Everything wasn’t “good” anymore. So are weeds a result of the curse and sin? Well, they often seem like a bad thing because pulling them out of our gardens or yards is hard, sweaty work. God told Adam to care for the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15), so he probably needed to trim some trees and pull some weeds, too. But before sin, work was very good. It was not hard but was enjoyable.

When Adam sinned, God cursed the ground and work became difficult (Genesis 3:17–18). Some plants began growing painful thorns, and thistle plants became covered with prickles—ouch! But we can look forward to the day God has promised when the curse will be lifted (Revelation 22:3). There will be no more thorns or prickly thistles, and work will no longer be difficult.