“So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.”
For centuries philosophers have strove to understand the mysterious relationship between potentiality (what may become true of a particular being) and actuality (what is true of that being). The world is filled with examples of the enigmatic inverse relationship between the two. A mustard seed is at one time 100% seed and 0% tree (technically a plant or a bush). As the seed germinates, potentiality gives way to actuality; as the seed becomes an actual plant, it becomes less an actual seed. The same may be said of larvae that become dragonflies, tadpoles that morph into frogs, caterpillars that transform into butterflies, or acorns that become great oak trees. Thinking people want to know where all of this comes from. What is the source of all this potentiality? As incredible and counter-intuitive as it may sound, the source of all potentiality is the least potential of all beings, namely, God Himself. God is, by His very essence, nature, and character, the greatest of all conceivable beings (Hebrews 6:13). This means that God is eternally perfect, possessing every “great-making” property and attribute to an infinite degree. This is why God cannot change (Malachi 3:6); any change in His nature or character would be a move away from perfection. If God had the potential to be something other than He is, that potentiality would be a weakness, not a strength. Returning to the natural world, it is amusing to note that, despite his claims of autonomous human wisdom and insight, there is no way that man could have seen the potentiality that resides in mustard seeds, dragonfly larvae, tadpoles, caterpillars, or acorns. There is nothing in their body plans, chemical composition, or even in their specific DNA code patterns that could reveal the amazing potentiality that resides in these things. To gain this knowledge we have no choice but to observe these creatures developing over time; we must witness their potentiality giving way to actuality. It must please God to surprise and thrill His thinking creatures by revealing the amazing potentiality that exists in the created order. In the realm of humanity, no one could have foreseen that the infant Moses would become Israel’s great prophet, deliverer, and law-giver. Similarly, the humble Carpenter from Nazareth concealed His potential to become the resurrected King of kings and Lord of glory. Seeing as we each have special potentialities to be actualized for God’s glory, let us encourage one another to be all we are called to be, even until the Lord calls us from the earth, and transforms us fully into His likeness (1 Corinthians 15:48-54; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 3:4; 1 John 3:2). May this meditation be a source of strength and encouragement to you today, dear saints!