A Better Way to Zap a Fig Tree

A post about the nature of the Bible on Tom Rapsas’ blog includes an interesting question. Instead of cursing the fig tree for not bearing fruit in the story in the Gospels, why didn’t he bless it and make it fruitful?

The real question for us today should be what the story means, and we ought not to make the mistake of treating it as though it were a real account of miraculous horticulture rather than a symbol. And approached that way, presumably one can answer that the fig tree action is supposed to be a symbol, a warning, for a people that had become unfruitful.

But it still raises the question even on the level of the story: isn’t the point to get people to improve, not to destroy them for failing to do so?

If there really are people who are “beyond redemption,” then that is bad news all around. And if there aren’t, then we should be in the business of zapping to increase productivity, not zapping to curse and condemn.

  • Michael Grondin

    “At the level of the story”, “improvement” isn’t what’s in view. It’s non-belief in Jesus. Jewish Christians were naturally upset that other Jews didn’t see things the way they did, and occasionally their bitterness broke through. So what should the modern-day Christian’s attitude toward non-believers be? That’s the question.


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