This weekend I was driving my daughter Rachel to gymnastics. As we drove between fields of pumpkins ripening for the welcomed onslaught of autumn with its vivid colors, cool breezes, and sapphire skies, Rachel asked a question.
Can plants go to heaven?
There is so much I find instructive and fascinating by Rachel’s question. I see opportunities to encourage, support, improve, and enhance thinking, questioning, learning, experimentation, discovery and ultimately the expanding joy of being more like God who knows all things.
When I woke up on Saturday morning, I didn’t have some spiritual prompting that I should do a thorough review of revelation ancient and modern to be prepared for a question like this.
How many of you out there get questions like this, out of the blue, from your kids or friends, or others who are unafraid to be curious and experience the joy of discovery? How many of you receive random, unexpected, yet thoughtful, and interesting questions that do not have ready, easy answers?
And how many of you feel unprepared as I did, and as I typically do, by such questions?
How would you respond?
Here’s how I responded to my daughter Rachel:
“Wow! that is a really interesting question!
“I’ve never heard anyone ask that questions before. And I never even thought to ask it.
“How would we go about answering this question? We could turn to the scriptures and modern day revelation to see if this question has been asked and answered. I’ll tell you that based on my quick mental inventory of what I know of scripture and modern revelation, I’ve never heard anything remotely close to answer this question. So I don’t know.
“We could turn to science, though science rarely takes on questions of heaven or salvation for lack of agreed upon tools to experiment and test such questions and potential answers.
“If someone took the time to study and ask God, perhaps revelation could be given on this topic. Very often revelation only comes by asking questions. ”
After I shared those thoughts and basic strategies with my daughter for how to think about how to answer this question, and questions in general, I got thinking further:
How many of us pursue wondering and amazement?
We live in a world of wonderment and mystery. The earth literally shouts at us to pay attention to the amazing forces of life and death that animate everything around us. How many of us are so dulled by the never-ending inanity of social media and the health-destroying addictions of the news cycle that we no longer wonder?
How many of us are willing to voice our questions and wonderment?
How many of us miss the unsoiled joy of discovering truth by asking questions, by seeking and finding?
How many of us feel so satisfied with the handful of answered questions we have at our disposal that we have fallen into the carnal security of self-assuredness, as though we have arrived at truly knowing and perfectly empathizing with all things?
Have we immersively embraced all truth so that our spirits have been refined to see as God sees and to know as God knows? If not, time to get off the couch, turn off the media devices, and open our eyes, hearts, and minds to the flood of beautiful truth awash in the world.
Where there are no questions there are no answers
As I thought further about this fascinating question from my daughter I realized these things about questions and answers:
- Where there are no questions there are no answers.
- Without questions, we cannot see the answers.
- Answers cannot exist without questions.
- There a millions and billions of answers waiting to be seen, experienced, and cultivated if we just spent more time asking questions.
- Answers delivered without questions are nothing more than meaningless and oppressive noise untethered from reality or experience.
- Answers are just waiting to be discovered if we will only ask!
This upcoming week is the Come, Follow Me curriculum on 2 Corinthians 1-7, which I re-read Saturday morning before my drive with my daughter. I had intended to write something inspired by Paul’s writings. But then I realized, Paul was writing inspiration based on questions for his time. Why shouldn’t I write something based on questions for my time? What could be more immediate and relevant than responding to my daughter? Thinking with her? Asking with her? Learning with her? And sharing whatever inspiration we discovered.
I’m confident that Paul never thought to ask, or heard anyone ask him, the question my daughter asked, “Can plants go to heaven?” And I think that Paul can forgive me (practicing the charity he preached) if I don’t write a blog post this week specifically influenced by his inimitable and inspirational writings.
I’m hopeful that Paul would rejoice that I gained inspiration today from the probing, open-minded question from a daughter of God.
And I hope to never stop asking questions.
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I’m curious on your thoughts to your daughter’s question. We know that anything God created physically was first created spiritually so maybe there’s a place that a plants spirit goes when it dies?
Like you, I find the question really compelling, as well as your follow-on question. But I haven’t had enough time with this question to formulate much of a response. I think that this question requires more searching, questioning, thinking, exploring, listening, and understanding, as your question proposes. I wonder: how much of God’s creation does He intend to save?
Love the questions, look forward to loving the answers..
And where did the Creator get the fishes, animals and plants he placed on our earth? These are the workmanship of His hands and He loves them. There are other worlds to populate ( as there have been)and surely nothing is wasted. Recycling?
We hear and see so much that is troubling. It’s great that the question was asked, knowing she wouldn’t be laughed at. It’s nice not to get caught up in our own self imposed “safe questions.”
Of COURSE plants go to heaven! They were created in heaven as spirits first, just as ours were. And thousands of people who have died, gone to the spirit world and been resuscitated, have described the spirit world as being FULL of gorgeous plants of all kinds. Many such people say that somehow the plants pour forth praises to the Lord all the time. WOW!
And we KNOW that ALL the kingdoms of heaven which resurrected bodies will inhabit will be more beautiful than earth, that’s been said in scripture and by prophets. So there will HAVE to be plants and flowers and trees in those kingdoms! (How ugly would it be to live on a heaven made only of rock!)
And besides, those plants are the ones that will “make [celestial] seed in themselves after their own kind” so that on a newly created planet in the future, those seeds can be “PLACED” (quote from temple ceremony, which you never noticed) in the earth so they can spring forth as grass, flowers, trees, etc. Have you noticed that word, “placed?” It does not say formed, created or evolved, but PLACED. As are all the animals PLACED on the earth.)
I wonder and ask weird questions all the time, which makes my children question whether its time to commit me. But when I ask the questions, study it out in my mind, and ask the Lord for answers, the answers eventually come clearly to my heart and mind, and make perfect sense.
My kids would love to know that the celestial kingdom had no vegetables! In their minds, that would be heaven indeed.
We know that the Lord doesn’t create things out of nothing. Heavenly Father told Jeovah to place trees ,grass and all kinds of plants and seeds on the earth He just organized. To me it shows that they also have intelligence and obey the Creator and were already available to use.