The farmer parable

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INTRODUCTION

Today at the Catholic Church, we read the parable of the farmer in Mt 13,1-23 (Italian version) 
The farmer in the parable sowed seeds on
roadside,  on rocky ground,  among thorns, and on good soil.

The priest at the mass like Pope Francis interprets the seeds in this parable as the words of Christ. But this contradicts Luke 8:10 where it is said that the seed is the word of God.

But a new kind of association about the farmer came up in my mind.

INDEX

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The text

( N:B. The texts below are copied from www.christianwritingtoday.com/free_downloads/WebNT_CWTedition.pdf )

Matthew 13,1-23 says:

13:1 On that day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the seaside.
13:2 Great multitudes gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat, and sat, and all the multitude stood on the beach.
13:3 He spoke to them many things in parables, saying, “Behold, a farmer went out to sow.
13:4 As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them.
13:5 Others fell on rocky ground, where they didn’t have much soil, and immediately they sprang up because they had no depth of earth.
13:6 When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away.
13:7 Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them.
13:8 Others fell on good soil and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.
13:9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
13:10 The disciples came, and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”
13:11 He answered them, “To you, it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them.
13:12 For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he has.
13:13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they don’t see, and hearing, they don’t hear, neither do they understand.
13:14 In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, ‘By hearing you will hear, and will in no way understand; Seeing you will see, and will in no way perceive:
13:15 for this people’s heart has grown callous, their ears are dull of hearing, they have closed their eyes; or else perhaps they might perceive with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and should turn again; and I would heal them.’
13:16 “But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.
13:17 For most certainly I tell you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which you see, and didn’t see them; and to hear the things which you hear, and didn’t hear them.
The explication
13:18 “Hear, then, the parable of the farmer.
13:19 When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown by the roadside.
13:20 What was sown on the rocky places, this is he who hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it;
13:21 yet he has no root in himself but endures for a while. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
13:22 What was sown among the thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of this age and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
13:23 What was sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word, and understands it, who most certainly bears fruit, and brings forth, some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.”

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The message

What is the seed in the parable?

Christians say that Seed is the Word of God according to Luke 8:11 “…The seed is the word of God.”

Jesus always said that all he does he does with the help of God. When he got Lazarus alive he said (John 11:41):
Father, I thank you that you listened to me. 11:42 I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” 

BUT who is the sower?

In  Matthew 13:36-37 we read He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man”

As Luke 8:11 says “…. The seed is the word of God.”
I wonder therefore if Matthew 13:37 is a correct reproducing of Jesus’ words.

Matthew 13:37 sounds again like a sentence of a bragger. I wonder if he instead maybe said  The one who sows the good seed is God” in agreement with Luke 8:11.

Early Christians removed the tetragrammaton several times to instead “write the Lord” So why not make a correction years later in Matthew to make the sentence correspond to Luke 8:11″? As I believe, with the adaptation in  Matthew 13:37 the sentence became more  intuitive. But today we know better.Today we can better understand a God that sows randomly.
we know today that everything is ruled by probability laws. Einstein said that “God does not play dice” but he maybe create a Universe based on conditional probability. I wore about this issue in http://www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/god-does-not-play-dice/#natureprobability 
and in
 http://www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/probability/

Why parables?

This is another question that I find is important to meditate on:

13:10 The disciples came, and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”
Matthew 13:11 He answered them, “To you, it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them.

 

This is in agreement with Luke 8:10 that says: “I speak in parables, so that, “‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.”

As among the people many were Galilean farmers, it is quite obvious why Jesus explains the kingdom of God with the use of a farmer and sowing parable. But he does not motivate like this.

13:11 He…. but it is not given to them.

Who was he referring to with the word “them”?

Does he refer to the great multitudes around him or some others not being there?

13:12 For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he has.

This is a rather discriminatory speech. As he always said that the little ones, the poor will be first, this speech sounds bad in the mouth of Jesus.

This video visualize this discrimination when Jesus points his finger to the people on the shore:
The video is not a good representation of a loving Jesus but rather a representation of many clerics who judge people as ignorant.

Is Jesus talking about having ears and eyes?

13:13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they don’t see, and hearing, they don’t hear, neither do they understand.

13:14 In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, ‘By hearing you will hear, and will in no way understand; Seeing you will see, and will in no way perceive:

What is the meaning then to tell the parables if he knows that many will not understand?

I find 13:13 difficult to understand.

But telling in parables it has been easy for disciples and people to remember his kerygma. But to understand the parables is more difficult. 

If someone could not understand why could Jeus  not  explain with other words? or did the parables had a different purpose? Maybe did he share these to make it easy to remember these for future generations?

Jesus own explanation of the parable

Jesus she does not explain about the farmer and why the farmer sow on so different soils. 

As you can read, Jesus only explained the different grounds: the
roadside,  the rocky ground,  the among thorns.  the good soil and how human beings behave. 


the evil at the roadside

13:19 When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown by the roadside.

This makes me think about “cognitive bias” that is defined as “Cognitive bias refers to a systematic predictable deviation from rationality in judgment or decision-making. (read more in www.kinberg.net

In other words we hear what we expect to hear and
we understand with the mood we are in.

if we are angry for something we interpret differently than when we are in peace of mind. 

In the time of Jesus for reasons we know (poverty, persecutions by Romans etc), many did not have peace in mind so could listen to the evil inner voice. Jesus may refer to when he said evil one comes and snatches away

conclusion

God as the sower makes me think about the Creation of the Universe that is almost entirely based on conditional probability rules from the quantum level up to the visible in nature.

Everything in the world is governed by precise ratios and constant law of change.”  Read more on my page about probability in www.kinberg.net. This was of course difficult for our ancestors to understand. As we have inherited a cognitive bias it as natural for them to simplify and we still have without having studied more deeply the nature of things.

However, by studying the creation and its laws we may understand better Jesus parables of the Kingdom of God.

My final conclusion of today’s reading, is that I will continue to :

  • fertilize the soil
    (get and share information about the Creation)
  • and sow
    (spread God’s word in Jesus Kerygma)


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