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Fertility Symbols

Beneath the Dignity of God

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Because reproduction in nature is critical for food and perpetuation 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 Bunny is the modern replacement for “the hare, the symbol of fertility in ancient Egypt” ( Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Micropaedia, p. 333, “Easter”). It’s 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 Romans 1:21-25 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. 24 Why God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
American King James Version×
).

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 Deuteronomy 7:12-14 12 Why it shall come to pass, if you listen to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD your God shall keep to you the covenant and the mercy which he swore to your fathers: 13 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 corn, and your wine, and your oil, the increase of your cows, and the flocks of your sheep, in the land which he swore to your fathers to give you. 14 You shall be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
American King James Version×
).

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? For the answer, see “Does It Matter to God? “.

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