God’s Favorite Color is Green

The famed American theologian-philosopher Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) once remarked on the color green in the rainbow mentioned in Revelation 4:3:

This rainbow was ‘in sight like unto an emerald,’ which is a precious stone of an exceeding lovely green color, so green that this color appears in nothing else so lively and lovely. This color is a most fit emblem of divine grace; it is a very lively color, not so dull as blue or purple, and yet most easy to the sight, more easy than the more fiery colors of yellow and red. It is the color of all the grass, herbs, and trees, and growth of the earth, and therefore fitly denotes life, flourishing, prosperity, and happiness, which are often in Scripture compared to the green and flourishing growth of the earth. As the benign influence of the sun on the face of the earth is shown by this color above all others, so is the grace, and benign influence, and communication of God fitly represented by this color.

Now, no one can truly know the color most loved by the Divine, but truly at this time of year, with the vast outpouring of verdant hues it is of little surprise that Edwards might think that green would be the color of God’s pleasure. From the front porch of my house in the woods of Stanfordville, I gaze out at the trees becoming lush with leaves and the beauty and “life” of the many shades of green I see. It’s a glorious moment in the transition from the harsh brutality of winter to the lush warmth of summer for that moment of spring when suddenly barren trees spring to life. Is there a more beautiful picture of life than the green of spring?

Far too often though, we fail to think upon or focus upon this momentous event that happens all around us. Gone are the days when we would, as children, gather leaves for pressing into assignments to note the variety of trees in our backyards. Gone are the childhood climbs into the branches of said trees to admire and appreciate the green around us. These and many other adventures and experiences among the flourishing greenery have been replaced with a weary thought that the mass of green will become a mass of brown simply to be cleaned up. Yet, it is the transition from green to brown to barren to green again, which should cause us to stop for a moment and focus upon that moment when life is restored and the green returns.

As much as winter is a necessity, we mourn during it for the life that we saw during spring summer and into fall. When the leaves fell we mourned for the life for which we saw all around us and the impending foreboding of snow and harsh wind. Then, when seemingly winter would never end, life bursts forth, unable to be contained forever, and demonstrates that life conquers death. Is it any wonder that Edwards might have thought that God’s favorite color was green in that it rendered for us, in color, an “emblem of divine grace” since life so clearly conquers death (1 Corinthians 15:55). Just as Jesus Christ burst out of the tomb at Easter to show that death had no hold on Him (Acts 2:24), the green leaves burst out from the tomb of winter to show, in visible representation, that God’s grace is not bound, nay, can be bound, but is ready to burst forth in glorious abundance.

So, regardless of whether God’s favorite color is green, take a moment to stop, relax, and enjoy life in its lush and green goodness. The green all around is evidence of our abundant riches of life that have been bestowed upon us. As Martin Luther (1483–1546) once wrote, “For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.”

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