Biblical Meaning of Gnomes (Spiritual Meaning of Gnomes)

As a Christian Theologian, I’m fascinated by the prevalent ideas about myths among Christians. Recently, a friend decided to get garden gnomes.

He shared with me that his decision attracted criticism from some church members. Some accused him of conforming to the world and embracing idolatry.

Worried, he sought a biblical perspective. I decided to research by consulting my fellow theologians and pastors, who offered varying suggestions.

Additionally, I borrowed some books from the local library. After a couple of weeks, I was confident I had an answer for my friend.

We met for coffee, and I shared what I learned, helping him understand the Christian perspective of his decision. Later that week, during an online interfaith forum, someone wanted to know the biblical meaning of gnomes.

She wanted to get some Christmas decor for her home. This sparked an interesting debate that raised more questions than answers.

When my turn to speak came, I offered an explanation based on my research. I also answered additional questions that came up, leaving the participants satisfied. Inspired by that forum, I decided to share what I learned.

So, let’s dive into the Biblical meaning of gnomes.

Although the Bible doesn’t mention gnomes, some Christians believe these mythical creatures can inspire us to be better stewards of the Earth. They base their belief on the idea that gnomes are diligent guardians of the Earth. Others believe gnomes are idols and symbols of nature worship. They discourage any association with them, even as decorations. Gnomes were popularized in the 16th century as Spirits that protected the land and mines. In time, they made their way to Christmas lore as Santa’s helpers.

Join me in exploring the Biblical meaning of gnomes. I’ll look at what the Bible says and some popular symbols associated with gnomes.

Additionally, I’ll discuss whether it’s right to buy gnome statues. Let’s get started.

What do gnomes represent?

Biblical Meaning of Gnomes 
What do gnomes represent? Image source: Pixabay

According to Paracelsus, a 16th-century Swiss alchemist, gnomes represent the precious metals and stones found on the Earth.

He believed these stones gave gnomes their supernatural abilities. Paracelsus’ ideas formed the basis of the modern-day understanding and depictions of gnomes.

Gnomes are nature Spirits often depicted as short, elderly, and bearded men clothed in bold colors and pointy hats.

Here’s what gnomes represent today:

Stewardship of the Earth

As mentioned, gnomes are believed to be nature Spirits associated with the Earth. As such, people believe they exist to care for the Earth.

They’re often portrayed as diligent humanoid creatures in rural farmlands.

Fertility and growth

Gnomes are believed to help plants grow. The myths portray them as excellent gardeners who come out at night to work on gardens and farms.

They’re often credited with a deep knowledge of herbology and botany, which they use in gardens.

Hidden wisdom

In the Scandinavian myths, gnomes are secretive creatures who occasionally share their wisdom with farmers. This image reinforces the belief that gnomes represent some ancient wisdom humanity is yet to explore.


As mentioned, Paracelsus believed gnomes were associated gnomes with minerals and precious stones. This cemented the idea that gnomes protected mines in Germanic folklore.

In one story, gnomes provided gold for a village by pouring it through Earth’s veins.

Home and family.

Gnomes are believed to value family. As such, some use them to represent the family and home. Proponents of this belief use the gnome’s diligent and caring nature to support their argument since these values are closely linked to family.

What is the symbolic meaning of gnomes?

Spiritual Meaning of Gnomes
What is the symbolic meaning of gnomes? Image source: Pixabay

As mentioned, gnomes are associated with guarding the Earth and protecting the home. These attributes have secured their place in ancient and medieval folklore as symbols of fortune, wisdom, and protection.

Here’s a look at the symbolic meaning of gnomes.

Good luck

Gnomes are associated with good luck. Spiritualists believe gnomes are Earth Elementals- mythical creatures that embody the Earth’s qualities, like stability, fertility, and abundance.

Earth elementals are believed to attract good luck to whoever they encounter. Consequently, meeting a gnome is associated with good fortune.


According to the myths, gnomes live for 400 years. This led some people to associate gnomes with a long and abundant life.

Medieval communities left offerings to gnomes, hoping to appease them and attract longevity in their own lives.


As mentioned, medieval communities believed gnomes were the protectors of the Earth. As such, farmers sought the gnomes’ protection on their properties.

They kept gnome statues in their gardens, believing they could ward off pests and diseases and guarantee a bountiful harvest.

Hard work

Gnomes were associated with hard work. They were believed to come out at night and work tirelessly to improve gardens and farms around them.

This inspired farmers to work hard, believing that doing so would attract the gnomes’ blessing on their farms.


Gnomes were hailed as custodians of ancient wisdom and knowledge of the Earth. Scandinavians, for instance, believed that gnomes occasionally shared this wisdom with people who pleased them.

Among the Dutch, stories were told about a gnome teaching someone to make wooden shoes. These stories cemented the association of gnomes and wisdom.

Where do gnomes appear in the Bible?

As mentioned, the Bible doesn’t talk about gnomes. Historians believe these creatures were popularized by the Swiss alchemist Paracelsus.

He described them as Earth Spirits who protected mines, forests, and gardens. Although the Bible doesn’t mention gnomes, some Christians believe they were part of the nature worship hinted at in scripture (Romans 1:25).

Biblical meanings of gnomes

Since gnomes aren’t mentioned in the Bible, it’s hard to glean biblical meanings associated with them. However, some Christians believe gnomes hint at taking care of creation.

They cite God’s command in Genesis 1:29 and use the gnome’s attribute as a guardian of the Earth to encourage obedience.

In contrast, some Christians link gnomes to nature worship and discourage others from entertaining ideas about them.

You’ll often hear them calling garden gnomes idols and condemning those who own them as disobedient to God’s command not to make or worship idols (Exodus 20:4).

Spiritual meanings of gnomes

Biblical Meaning of Gnomes 
Spiritual meanings of gnomes. Image source: Pixabay

The Spiritual meaning of gnomes is tied to the powers associated with them.

Provision and Protection

Gnomes are believed to embody the Earth’s attributes and protect gardens. They are associated with fertility and growth and are believed to ward off pests.

Farmers summoned them during planting season to protect and help care for their farms.


Medieval communities believed keeping gnome statues attracted good luck in their businesses and marriage. As such, you’d find them offering libations and leaving out food for gnomes, believing this would appease them and attract blessing.


Gnomes were also believed to reward industrious farmers and people who cared for nature and their animals. As such, people treated their animals with respect and worked hard on their farms, believing this would earn them a reward from the gnomes.

Punishing offenders

Conversely, gnomes were believed to punish lazy farmers and those who treated their animals cruelly. Medieval communities believed angry gnomes could cause natural calamities.

For instance, one Swiss community believes gnomes caused a landslide that destroyed the village of Plurs in 1618. According to the story, the gnomes initially blessed the village with gold.

However, the people became corrupt, and this displeased the gnomes. As punishment, they sent a landslide.


As mentioned, medieval communities believed gnomes possessed a deep knowledge of plants and herbs. As such, they were believed to be excellent healers.

Among the Scandinavians, gnomes shared this knowledge with humans they deemed worthy.

What do gnomes mean in a dream?

The meaning of gnomes in a dream depends on specific elements of your dream, and your state of mind before and after the dream.

In general, interpreters believe gnomes in a dream symbolize intuition, good luck, and comfort.


As mentioned, gnomes are associated with wisdom. Interpreters believe seeing a gnome in your dream symbolizes your subconscious trying to communicate with you.

They also believe these gnomes hint at your latent intelligence, trying to guide you in your waking life and advise you to pay attention.

Good luck

Gnomes are associated with good luck. Therefore, interpreters believe that seeing gnomes in your dreams signifies that you’re closer to your goals.

This interpretation is common in dreams where gnomes give you a sack of gold. They believe such dreams encourage you to continue on your current path as it will lead to success.


Interpreters believe seeing gnomes in your dreams suggest you’re comfortable with yourself and your surrounding. Furthermore, some believe such dreams hint at nostalgia or contentment.

According to interpreters, these variations depend on the content of your dream.

As mentioned, specific dreams carry specific meanings. Here are three common dreams about gnomes and their meanings:

Talking gnomes.

Interpreters attach three meanings to a dream about talking gnomes.

  1. A communication from your subconscious mind about a problem you’re facing in your waking life. They advise you to pay attention to what the gnomes in your dream say or meditate to understand what your subconscious wants to communicate.
  2. A warning against manipulation from those around you. Interpreters believe talking gnomes warn you that someone in your circle isn’t trustworthy.
  3. A reminder to loosen up. Interpreters believe talking gnomes represent whimsical and playful energy. They believe it’s a reminder to take things less seriously and adopt a lighthearted and carefree attitude.

Friendly gnomes.

According to dream interpreters, friendly gnomes in a dream suggest good fortune and companionship. Like the last dream, interpreters attach three meanings to seeing friendly gnomes in your dream.

  1. Seeing gnomes as friends could suggest a desire for friends or gratitude for your current friends.
  2. Seeing gnomes offering help suggests you recognize your need for help in the waking world.
  3. Seeing gnomes bringing gifts suggests a positive change in your life. Additionally, the dream suggests you recognize your talents and abilities.

Houses belonging to gnomes.

Finally, interpreters believe seeing gnome dwellings in your dreams represents a desire for simplicity and stability. They’ll often advise you to retreat to nature or embrace a sustainable lifestyle.

Meanings, Superstitions, and myths about gnomes in different cultures

Scandinavian folklore

Gnomes were traditionally called “Tomte” in Sweden or “Nisse” in Norway. They were believed to live for 400 years and were depicted as hardworking, kind, and wise creatures who valued family.

In the stories, gnomes preferred the rural areas, where they helped farmers. Despite their amicable relationship with humans, gnomes never revealed their burrows’ location.

They also didn’t teach their language to non-gnomes. Interestingly, Scandinavians replaced Santa’s helper elves with gnomes.

Germanic legends.

In the German lore, gnomes resembled grizzled men in tattered clothes and a pointy hat. In the stories, these gnomes lived underground and guarded buried treasure.

Interestingly, these characteristics were applied to Swiss bankers, earning them the nickname “Gnomes of Zurich.”

Myths from the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands, gnomes were called Kabouter. They were described as tiny elderly men who lived underground.

Other stories described them as household Spirits who came out to help with chores. These gnomes were believed to be shy, often disappearing when spotted.

What happens when you see a gnome?

As mentioned, gnomes are associated with good luck, protection, and stewardship. Medieval communities believed gnomes were elusive and secretive creatures.

Others believed they were invisible and relied on statues to manifest their presence. Because of their discreet nature, seeing a gnome was considered a once-in-a-lifetime experience desired by most people.

These people suggested seeing a gnome meant the following:

  1. Good luck will come your way soon.
  2. Your efforts will bear fruit.
  3. You’re about to acquire Spiritual knowledge and insight.
  4. You’ll gain emotional stability.

Additionally, some people associate seeing a gnome with a sense of wonder and mystery. Others believed it sparked creativity and curiosity.

What is the purpose of garden gnomes?

Spiritual Meaning of Gnomes
What is the purpose of garden gnomes? Image source: Pixabay

Decorative elements.

This is the most common reason for having garden gnomes. Some believe their bold colors blend well with their gardens, making them more attractive.

Furthermore, some gardeners use them as decor pieces when creating fairy gardens.

Bring luck to your garden.

Traditionally, garden gnomes were believed to bring good luck to your garden. In its early days, this was in the form of a bountiful harvest, which was essential to surviving the harsh winters.

Additionally, garden gnomes were believed to ward off pests and diseases, ensuring a healthy garden. Today, Spiritualists believe garden gnomes ward off evil Spirits.

An ode to nature

Garden gnomes symbolize a connection to nature. As mentioned, gnomes were considered Earth elementals and nature Spirits. Gardeners may choose them as an expression of their love for nature.

Expression of playfulness.

Garden gnomes today come in all shapes and sizes. Their bold colors and cute faces make them the perfect expression of playfulness. Gardeners may use them to express a playful side and encourage visitors to embrace playfulness.

What do gnomes have to do with Christmas?

According to Scandinavian lore, gnomes help Santa Claus deliver presents. This wasn’t always the case. In the stories, Tomte was a Swedish Spirit who resembled the modern-day description of a gnome.

He was two feet tall, had a full beard, wore bright-colored clothes, and had a pointed hat. Tomte was associated with farm work and was credited with caring for animals, particularly horses.

Swedish farmers believed Tomte was strong and had incredible stamina, which was why he could work so hard. Furthermore, they believed that Tomte loved horses.

As such, they attributed healthy horses to Tomte’s handiwork. Tomte was considered a friend to farmers. In the stories, Tomte only asked that farmers trust him and leave out a bowl of porridge with butter on the winter solstice (Christmas Eve).

In the myth, Tomte had a dark side. He was often viewed as harsh towards lazy farmers and those who disrespected him. In the lore, he would punish such farmers by causing mischief.

His misdeeds included breaking dishes, tying up the tails of livestock, and killing pets with his poisonous bite. Additionally, he would curse anyone who tried undoing his mischief.

According to historians, Tomte found his way into Christmas during the spread of Christianity. Like other Spirits, Tomte was first demonized before his image was revamped.

Later stories portrayed Tomte as a friendly gnome who delivered presents to families in that region.

Are gnomes evil or good, according to the Bible?

As mentioned, gnomes aren’t mentioned in the Bible. They are common in European folklore. Christians use their descriptions in these stories to categorize gnomes as good and evil.

Those who believe gnomes are good cite their inspiration to work hard and exercise faithful stewardship as their reasons.

In contrast, those who believe gnomes are evil cite their connection with nature worship. They believe having garden gnomes is akin to worshipping idols.

Should you get a gnome statue?

The decision to get a gnome statue is personal and depends on your reasons for getting one. You may get it if it’s just a harmless decor piece. However, if you’re looking for a good luck charm or protection from evil, don’t get a gnome statue.

The Bible warns us against idolatry and putting our trust in trinkets and charms instead of God (Leviticus 20:6). When making your decision, allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and help you discern your motives.

Doing so will help you make the right decision without violating God’s word and your conscience.

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