Seed Strength

on July 31, 2013

At first glance, seeds may seem very small and insignificant. But seeds were designed by God to grow in amazing ways. God created seed-bearing plants on Day Three of the Creation Week:

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so . . . And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day. (Genesis 1:11–13)

Did you know that little, tiny seeds can be very strong? In 1948, a steel ship named the Cali sailed from Ecuador to Cuba, loaded with a cargo of grain. As it took on water during a storm, the grain swelled, broke through the steel hull, and caused the ship to sink!1 The seeds were strong enough to break through steel because of the amount of water they absorbed.

Imbibition is when seeds absorb water. Seeds can grow in the most unlikely of places, because of imbibition. They can swell in size and break through sidewalks and driveways.

Would you like to learn more about imbibition and the strength of seeds? Ask an adult for help and perform this experiment.2

See For Yourself . . .

Are expanding seeds really strong enough to break apart rocks? Try this experiment to find out!


6 tablespoons (90 ml) plaster of Paris, 2 small cups, 4 dried lima beans, pen or marker, masking tape or labels, 2 paper towels, water


Seed Experiment
  1. Mix the plaster of Paris and water according to the directions on the package. Pour half the prepared plaster into each cup.
  2. In the first cup, push the 4 beans into the plaster so that about three-fourths of each bean is below the surface of the plaster. Label this cup TEST. Label the cup without beans CONTROL. Record a description of how the surface of the plaster in each cup appears. Is it smooth? Are there any cracks or bulges?
  3. Fold each paper towel in half twice. Wet the folded towels with water so that they are moist but not dripping wet. Place the moist paper towels on top of the plaster in each cup so that they lie flat on the surface. In 1 hour, examine the two cups. Do you see any changes? Repeat this step every hour for 12 hours or until no further changes are observed.

[Editor’s Note: Adapted from an article by Rich Wendling, “Experiment: Those Swell Seeds,” Answers, July–September 2012.]

Seeds are mentioned many times in the Bible. Jesus spoke about seeds in some of His parables, which are stories that teach people. Jesus compared a seed to the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 13:31–32. In the parable of the weeds (Matthew 13:38), Jesus said, “The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom.” In the parable of the sower, Jesus compared seeds to the Word of God (Luke 8:11):

This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. (Luke 8:11–15)

The Word of God has the strength to lead people to eternal life. What will you do with the Word of God? Will you believe it and be like those who hear the Word and produce a crop, or will you be like those who fall away and do not mature? To learn more about the strength of God’s Word and how it leads to eternal life, please read the good news.


  1. Rich Wendling, “Experiment: Those Swell Seeds,” Answers, July–September 2012, 44–45,
  2. Ibid.