Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On Ontology and Action Theory

The point of Matthew 7:15-20 is that believers know the difference between a false prophet, who are ravenous wolves in sheep's clothing (difficult to tell on a superficial level), by their fruit. This of course implies that false prophets and Christians are different. More specifically, this text argues that different plant produce different fruits. And, going deeper, this text has interesting implications that bring to light the differences between those of God and those not of God.

What exactly can be inferred? Answer: ontology and action theory. Otherwise known as being and ability, Scripture is rather clear concerning the reality that there are (at least) two different plants (vs. 16) and that each plant can only produce fruit in correspondence to its species (vvs. 17-19). Namely, the plant type determines the fruit, the nature determines ability, and ontology determines action. The point that Christians can differentiate between wolves and sheep (Christians and false prophets) seem to hinge on this reality. Conclusively, it's the only way the text makes sense.

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.

- Matthew 7:15-20 (NASB)

Before I end, a word of application: what fruit do you produce (action/ability)? What kind of plant does that make you (ontology/being)? May the Holy Spirit convict your soul, and may God draw you to Himself. He who has ears, let him hear.

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