Why Thorns and Thistles Grow

We all know why there are thistles and other undesirable weeds in the world, right?

And to Adam He said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.”

—Genesis 3:17, 18

Thorns and thistles were part of the curse mankind brought upon himself all the way back in the Garden of Eden.  But there’s a little more to this than meets the eye.

Arguably, soil erosion was another one of the effects of that first sin at the beginning of time.  Erosion is destructive by nature; therefore, it stands to reason that there was no such thing before the Fall.  Fortunately, it would appear that God took some steps to preserve man from the unmitigated consequences of his own actions.

When soil is suddenly disturbed by flooding or even by a man-made event like plowing, it is extremely vulnerable to further erosion.  Furthermore, it is cut off from a beneficial relationship with plant roots and other matter necessary to maintaining the nutrient cycle.

Incidentally, these vulnerable areas are most prone to thistles.

Thistles and other “undesirable” weeds are called “pioneer plants” because they are the first plant species to move into a disturbed area.  They grow quickly, locking the soil in place with their roots and sheltering it with their leaves, thus preventing further erosion.  They also reestablish the nutrient cycle, bringing much-needed food to the soil.

As undesirable as thistles might be to the one who has to try to pull them, they serve a vital role in nature by healing damaged land.  They were part of a curse; nevertheless, they were also a blessing that helped mitigate the effects of the curse.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

—Romans 8:28