Let us suppose that trees exist. If we accept this, it tells us a few things. For one, it tells us that our senses are more or less reliable. We know trees by sight and touch and the other senses, so if they do indeed exist, our senses have been telling us the truth.
We may, however, make a few more points about the existence of trees. Trees give life to many of the creatures on earth, humans included. They produce breathable air, they nourish the soil, they give shade and fruit and fuel for fire. Without trees, we and multitudes of animals would be quite dead. Yet trees are also vulnerable. Fires may ravage them, people cut them down, and given the history of the world, it is almost a wonder that we still have so many trees everywhere. It is as though are determined to survive until the earth itself passes away.
Beyond this, trees have an enormous capacity for beauty. Some reflect just the right colors in just the right way in the autumn sun. Others amaze us by towering so far above we could almost expect them to pierce the sky itself. Forests may run like water cascading over a hillside.
Trees even remind us of ourselves. We cannot help but imagine, in stories and songs, trees walking and talking. Hair, beard, arms: do they not possess them all? Are they not with us among the few earthly creatures to stand upright, which point like arrows into the heavens? Do we not follow their lines, from their toes up to their crowns, as though we were rising from before a king?
More than this, our lives seem to reflect and be reflected by the lives of our trees. We cut down several trees and form them into a single house, just as the several people within form a single household. The forest homes of millions of trees are transfigured by architects into cities of millions of people. We eat the fruit, and the fruit becomes our flesh. We die, and the worms serve us to the trees as food that will become their bark. When we are buried, a hollow tree is buried with us. All we who write pour our hearts, minds, and souls into paper, into tree skins.
Why are trees so good and so stubbornly there? Why are they beautiful, and why do they seem our such close companions? Might we not imagine that they are in fact intended to be this way? Surely it is no accident. There are too many clear nexus, too many masterful patterns and motifs which unite us, trees, and the whole world. It is beyond the wildest imagination, if perhaps not beyond the bare coldness of reason, to say this is all a coincidence or an illusion or a mere projection. The only sane conclusion (not to say the only logical one) is that we and trees are both part of a design, a comprehensive world design. And if the world is comprehensively designed, then there must certainly be a Designer.
We may go further. If there is a world Designer, then all of these curious features of trees certainly have meaning in His design. The fact that we are made to be able to notice them must also have meaning. It certainly can't be an accident, since a Designer able to make everything and weave such intricacies into His craft could not overlook such things. Surely, then, the Designer intends us to learn from the trees and to see His patterns at work. And if He intends this, we may also venture to suspect that, somewhere along the line, He would have spoken to us about it. Maybe He would have put trees into history, given instructions or stories about them, and made it all part of our education about His wisdom.
It is precisely this which we find in the Christian Scriptures. These books testify of a God who made the world, with humans and trees and all things. He planted the man from the ground in a garden where He also planted trees in the ground. With everything in place, He gave the trees to the man and his wife to eat their fruit and to tend them. All, that is, but one of them, which He was saving for later. They plucked and ate its fruit anyway, as the fruit was plucked from the tree, so these first humans were plucked from the garden of God. But God did not quit putting men and trees together. He gave them to man for an ark of salvation, for a staff of wonders, for a tent that they might meet with Him, for a Temple full of His glory. He declared that a man hung on a tree was cursed, and then He Himself became a man hung on a tree. This hanged Man, righteous as any could be, was like a tree planted by streams of water. This hanging tree, rooted in the ground and reaching toward heaven, bore the accursed Man who came from heaven to the ground. From this arboreal curse everything was made right, the Man returned from the ground into heaven, and the tree became forever after the ladder between heaven and earth. Someday the Man will return, and He will erect a new garden city. In this city will be a tree once more, a tree a life bearing fruit to heal the nations.