Of the four gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, only Matthew and Mark report the following incident.
Sometime after Jesus went on a rampage (or, as Mark would have it, before he did) and knocked over tables and flung money about in the temple, while using a whip he had made of ropes, we come to the adventure with the fig tree (Jesus was not generally inventive, so this is an interesting aside. According to the movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” by Mel Gibson, surely one of the most watched homo-erotic BDSM stories ever told, Jesus also invented the dining room table. Ken Ham should ask, “Were you there?”), he became hungry and came upon a fig tree that was not producing figs.
Instead of wishing the tree well for its growing up, development, old age, or whatever, and going his way to a more productive fig tree, Jesus becomes angry with the fig tree and cursed it. And, in response to the curse of the Prince of Peace, the fig tree withered up and died.
This story in the Holy Bible has proved problematic for many theologians. Why would a god, the Savior of the World, get upset because a fig tree did not, at the time he encountered it, have any figs on it?
One can take their choice of a number of allegorical interpretations to explain this ungodly behavior of the Messiah. None of them really work very well because it does not seem to us ordinary sinners any great crime, certainly not one worthy of death, for a fig tree not to have, at the moment it met Jesus, any figs on it.
Fig trees get a fair amount of ink in the Holy Scriptures. You may recall that when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree, and gained knowledge of good and evil, they realized they were naked. This shamed our first parents, the only then living humans. So, in a act of preserving the modesty of the two now prudes he had created, god slaughtered some innocent animals he had also made, and, from the skins peeled from the dead bodies of these first dead animals, made Adam and Eve clothes wherewithal to cover their shameful nakedness. Prior to this ungodly violent moment, A & E has attempted to cover their shameful genitals with fig leaves. According to Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, this was the first time that death entered our world. Before the great sin of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, A & E did not know that they were naked. And nothing alive ate meat. The great teeth on certain dinosaurs were, according to the arkonuts, for cracking open coconuts. Imagine, if you would, a great Bengal Tiger lunching out on a bucket of Brussels sprouts.
One might well wonder just how A & E might have been expected to know the difference between good and evil, and to know it was evil to disobey god, before they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and thereby learned the difference between good and evil. Must be another of those mysteries of faith.
But I digress, and we should be more reverent. It is, after all, Holy Week and we are exploring just what the soon-to-be-resurrected Lord did during that week before he was killed as a child sacrifice to his Father God and came alive again after two nights and one day in the tomb in which his dead body was laid.
So far this week, Jesus has ridden an ass into the city of Jerusalem. He has engaged in delinquent behavior by his actions of criminal mischief in the temple, and he has cursed unto death an innocent plant, a fig tree that did then in fact die.
Wonder if Jesus thought having a fig tree that had no figs on it was worse than a female hemp plant that had lots of leaves on it? Or humans who had no clothes on them?
There are adventures yet to come in our discussions of Holy Week. So check back and see what other foolishness religion wants us to believe on the pain of our immortal souls suffering forever in a lake of fire.
We are, after all, on a countdown to Easter Sunday. Time to stock up on hot cross buns and to dye them Easter eggs. What do these things have to do with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus? Nothing whatsoever.
And, it was noted today, from a posted notice, that the local court clerk’s office closes at noon on this coming Friday to celebrate “Good Friday.” How can that be in a country that does not permit the state to do anything in support of any religion? The answer must be another mystery of faith.
And now you know why god hates figs.
Edwin Kagin © 2012,