United Church of God, ia
Portland and Hood River Oregon

Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Fertility Symbols: Beneath the Dignity of God

Because the ability to reproduce is critical for food and preservation of life, mankind has long been intrigued by fertility. Have you ever wondered why eggs and rabbits—the popular hallmarks of Easter—were selected as symbols of fertility?

"In traditional folk religion the egg is a powerful symbol of fertility, purity and rebirth. It is used in magical rituals to promote fertility and restore virility; to look into the future; to bring good weather; to encourage the growth of crops and protect both cattle and children against misfortune, especially the dreaded evil eye. All over the world it represents life and creation, fertility and resurrection…Later [customs concerning eggs] were linked with Easter. The church did not oppose this, though many egg customs were pre-Christian in origin, because the egg provided a fresh and powerful symbol of the Resurrection and the transformation of death into life" (The Encyclopedia of Religion, 1987, p. 37, "Egg").

The Easter rabbit is the modern replacement for "the hare, the symbol of fertility in ancient Egypt" (New Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition, Micropaedia, p. 333, "Easter"). It is no secret that rabbits are extremely prolific. Their "does" (females) bear several litters of two to eight young each year, and gestation takes about a month. Contrary to God’s instruction, these pagan fertility symbols credit divine powers to the creation (rabbits and eggs) instead of the Creator (Romans 1:21-25).

In contrast to pagan celebrations, God promised to bless His people with abundance in return for their love and obedience. Notice Moses’ words of encouragement to Israel shortly before his death:

"Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock" (Deuteronomy 7:12-14).

People have the choice of looking to God as their Creator for reproductive blessings or looking to the creation. Given the history of rabbits and eggs as pagan fertility symbols, do you think God is pleased when people include these as symbols of their worship?

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