Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The noun ριζα (riza) means root and comes from a broadly attested Proto-Indo-European root "wrehds-", also meaning root (and from which, indeed, comes our English word root).
As would have been obvious to anyone in an agricultural society, the root of a plant sits below ground and absorbs water and nutrients, which are (somehow) transported above ground, where the visible end of the plant freely sways in the breeze and produces its fruits. The words for mind (ψυχη, psuche) and spirit (πνευμα, pneuma or רוח, ruah) derive from words that describe air, breath and wind, which suggests that the "root" of a human being are her senses, whereas her thoughts and ideas are her stem and fruits.
This also suggests, of course, that animals are in fact mostly aware of their "roots" and the dark, underground world in which their roots exist, while the celebrated consciousness of Homo sapiens is a matter of sticking one's leafy head above the darkness and into the light of day. Said less poetically: the handsome fleshy figure we see in the mirror, the body, is the root, whereas our conscious mind is the tree. The axe that was proverbially set at the root of the tree (Matthew 3:10) speaks of the destruction of our perishable body (1 Corinthians 15:42, 2 Corinthians 5:1).
Trees rarely exist on their own, and the metaphor that equates one human to one tree is in most cases probably not very accurate. More accurate is to compare one human to an entire forest , also because an entire forest is really one large organism, with a single unified root system (including mycelium) and a single unified ecosystem it supports, both above and below ground. Likewise, a person's mind consists of a great many trees — call them separate interests or categories of thought, which each have their own growth in the larger forest and yield their own fruits — and among the many well-rooted trees there are growths that have no roots (no basis in observed reality) but seem to have sprung up by themselves and feed like parasites on whatever floats around inside a person's head. These rootless trees are psychoses, and must be identified in the light of reason and made to wither and die (Matthew 13:6).
In our article on the noun αμπελων (ampelon), meaning vineyard, we discuss how both the entire universe and the unified mind of man are rather alike a vineyard.
Our magnificently insightful noun ριζα (riza), root, is used 17 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it comes:
- The verb ριζοω (rizoo), meaning to root, which basically describes the first step of the germination process: a seed will first thrust down a root into the soil, the way a mind will first scan its real-world environment for information, that it can then pass onto the consciousness, which will then try to construct the mental entity that is the sprouting stem of the idea of which one is "aware". This verb occurs in Ephesians 3:17 and Colossians 2:7 only, both times speaking of a being rooted in Christ, or love.
Contrary to the dictates of religious folklore, the reality of Christ is not supposed to depend on some rootless "belief". Christ is not supposed to be the subject of belief (you don't believe in Christ like you believe in the Loch Ness Monster; in something that can't be seen or proven to exist but which you hope does anyway), but Christ is the environment of our belief. You believe in Christ the way you stand in a cave, looking for crystals: you are within Christ, believing in whatever you believe in. Said differently: if you require religious belief to cope with the reality of, say, the sun, your religious belief demonstrates that you are blind. If you are not blind, you live in a wholly enlightened world and are able to see all its features, and you can even look up and blink at the sun, if you would so please.
Christ has nothing to do with a religion (not even the Christianity that so generously takes its name from Christ), but Christ embodies both everything that can be known (Colossians 2:3) and everything that exceeds all knowledge (Ephesians 3:19, 1 Corinthians 13:7), whatever it was that preceded all created reality and what holds everything forever together (Colossians 1:16-17). Christ is the human comprehension of all natural law (Romans 1:20), with the understanding that all natural law comes down to a singularity from which arose all matter, all laws of physics and chemistry, all life, all mind and all love. Anyone who requires religious belief to come to terms with those concepts, is not in Christ. People who exist in a world enlightened and inundated by these things — and the elegance of the Oneness of these things (Deuteronomy 6:4, John 17:21-23, Hebrews 1:3, 1 John 4:8) — function continuously in the light of these things and require no religion to accept the reality of these things.