[Originally published as Are Plants Alive?]
It may come as a surprise to discover the Bible does not classify plants as alive the same way animals are. Because this contrasts with the modern evolutionary concepts of biology so much, let us clarify.
Body, Soul, and Spirit
I detail in the Article, What Is Life According to the Bible?, the differences between how life is defined by Creationism and Evolutionism. But, in summary:
- Plants, animals, and people all have bodies
- Animals and people have souls
- Only people have the spirit
Since life is equated with the soul, not just a body, plants are not considered living.
Evidence that Plants are Not Alive
- First and foremost, within the Scriptures plants are never described as dying but instead as wilting.
- Secondly, plants were created on the third day of the Creation Week and then given to animals and man as food. Since there was no death prior to sin entering the world, eating plants, as man and animal would do, could not have been considered the killing or death of something.
- Thirdly, life is sometimes described as creatures that have ‘the breath of life’ which implies breathing oxygen. Plants do not take in oxygen, but rather they use carbon dioxide (which is harmful to life) and they release oxygen (which is beneficial to life).
- Lastly, plants do not have blood, something that the Scriptures strongly tie together with life.
Reproduction not Limited to Life
Interestingly, if plants are not considered living by the Creator, then reproduction is not limited to life. Furthermore, reproducing “after their kind” is not limited to life as well since this phrase is applied to plants and seeds.
Therefore, physical reproduction is a process that the body, or flesh, is capable of, but it is not a sign of life itself from the Creator’s perspective. Instead, the ability for plants to reproduce is an important factor for the production of food for life.