I can't help but wonder over the initial mysteries of the Father, when and where and why and how He began creation--especially the creation of humanity . . . . It simply fascinates me to ponder, and in the depths of that pondering, while I cannot see any details, it often seems that in the mere looking . . . a kind of wordless appreciation and knowing attends . . . .
It must, of course, be relegated to only the authority of speculation--at most, perhaps inspired speculation--yet speculate I do . . . and sometimes a vision is seen which, at the very least, is pleasant to consider and may bring further insight into the style and personality of the I AM--who fascinates me to no end . . .!
So, with that caveat aside . . . I relate a scenario that came eventually to my mind one day as I was pondering the Parable of the Sower.
I was considering the Parable and the striking comments Jesus made about it and parables in general, which are some of the more perplexing, many agree, that He uttered.
First off, I love the scene. Jesus "went out of the house and sat by the sea side" . . . . Then the multitudes came to hear Him and so, He left the shore and went onto a ship in the water, from which He could address the gathered crowds . . . .
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Later, Jesus goes on to explain the parable and also tells the confused disciples that He speaks in parables because for some it is intended to be taught the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, while for others . . . not so much . . . . In fact here is where He offers the perplexing reason for parables: "That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."
I am not getting into that presently, but just saying that this whole motif is what I was contemplating when the "vision" came (and I do mean "vision" with a small "v" . . . . I am not suggesting a revelation or anything like that . . . but just saying that an image, a scenario, a "vision" appeared in my mind suggesting itself to be just one of the possible, layered meanings of the parable.)
It goes something like this . . . .
God . . . (having no need for anything) nevertheless desires to have some company. And He wants to surprise Himself. He wants to set some process in motion, with aspects of "randomness" figured in, so that, the results include a product . . . which will be especially pleasing to Him . . . because He deliberately allows for a certain relative autonomy to occur within the resultant creation . . . . [This might explain those seemingly inexplicable places in the Bible where God appears to be surprised or react to the developments of the creation, ie., bringing in a global flood to end the rampant wickedness and violence on the earth . . . as it had developed . . . where He was grieved that He had made man: "And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart" Gen. 6:6]
He thus creates a universe of matter and energy, space and time . . . etc., and this becomes the "soil" in the parable.
Souls, He creates, which are the "seeds" . . . .
Now, just like any gardener, He casts the "seeds" into the "soil" . . . . And, like any gardener, He would like it if ALL the seeds took root and grew and produced fruit ("This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim. 2:3-4)
The "soil" includes all of the factors of environment . . . ie., the age (whether in ancient times . . . or classical . . . medieval . . . Renaissance . . . modern) . . . also genetics . . . life experience . . . .
So that, for instance, a soul, or "seed" . . . "lands" into certain soil, and either . . . takes root . . . or withers and dies . . . . Some seed, the "wicked one" Satan comes along and snatches away before it can take root. Wheat and tares grow up side by side . . . and then at the end, there is the harvest and separation, the good from the bad . . . .
Now, it can be said that . . . God made certain that . . . there would indeed be perfect soil . . . wherein . . . no doubt . . . if seeds (souls) were put into it . . . they WOULD definitely take . . . and grow and produce fruit. These would be the "elect", as it turned out . . . in the end. Because He knows the beginning from the end . . . yes, He knew these from before the foundation "even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world . . ." Eph 1:3-4
Still, within His omniscience . . . I can see a possibility of something like His creating the environment and processes (of creation)--the "soil" . . . whereby . . . He is pleased to watch and yet somewhat surprise Himself as the "seeds"--souls . . . of humankind . . . each uniquely develop, resultant with each of their individual characteristics . . . returning to Him, the Gardener . . . with their fruit . . . .
Yes, in the end, some of the "seeds" fell on bad soil . . . some were snatched by the devil . . . . But some, indeed landed in the good soil, by the Lord's sheer sovereign design and providence (hence there's nothing for us to boast about) . . . and these flowers and fruits . . . He brings back into the Kingdom, to stand as beautiful, awesome, wondrous, unique emblems of His creative and loving glory . . . .
Meanwhile . . . another meaning of the Parable . . . we see clearly and often.
There are those . . . who . . . superficially . . . decide to be "Christian" and make a show and a claim of being a follower of Jesus. But the level of commitment . . . is shallow, like the shallow soil. Oh, yes, quite quickly these kinds of "believers" sprout up, for their soil is thin and easy to manifest through . . . . But the sun comes and just as quickly they are scorched and die.
These are some of the "false converts" . . . who claim sudden conversion . . . attend church . . . run around bible thumping with scripture quotes . . . make a great show of claiming "Jesus" . . . .
In this case . . . the "earth" or "soil" . . . is the depths of their being. When you hear the Word of God-the Gospel specifically . . . it must be taken in deep . . . to the depths of one's self, one's soul. Where ie., the "great dressing down" as I've described it occurs . . . . Where you really and truly look and appreciate the innate depravity of the natural, "old" self . . . the seriousness of our sins against God . . . . Where you are broken and die . . . . The seed must be cracked fully, so that the new sprout, the new creature is reborn.
But those who only superficially receive Christ--only on the "surface" . . . look at Him, are not truly convicted . . . and their conversion is false. Thus, when the "sun" comes . . . which is troubles and trials . . . they immediately "wither" under the heat and . . . the supposed "new creature" dies away, for there was no "new creature."
Usually, such people are attracted to "Jeanie Jesus"--an idea of God who is there to simply help you achieve your worldly goals and desires--one who "grants wishes." When things go their way, they stay in the faith . . . but when things go badly or contrary to their wishes, they are discouraged and walk away from the Lord--usually to chase after some other spiritual mirage or they start fashioning a god to their own liking and end up in idolatry . . . .
Something else came to mind as I thought of the Parable's symbolism . . . .
Regarding those "seeds" which land in "stony places" . . . . Here, again, the "seed" is the Word . . . but it falls in among a mish-mash of pre-conceived beliefs and attachments. The person's mind (the "soil") is already full of ideas and concepts and beliefs which they are attached to--these are like "stones" in the mind.
When the Word (the "seed") comes in, it must contend with a bunch of biases the person holds onto, and so, they cannot perceive or accept the Word as it is. Too many of these "stones" . . . and the seed cannot take root in such soil . . . .
When hearing and receiving the Word--the Gospel . . . the soil must be cleared. Like a child's mind which is not yet full of the world's teachings and prejudices . . . but is instead open and willing to simply HEAR the truth--the way things actually are . . . spoken by One Who should know: God!
Then there is the seed which falls among the thorns . . . . The cares of the world--worrying about money, bills, status, security, the favor of family, friends, society . . . . When such cares are allowed to grow strong in the heart and mind . . . they overwhelm the tender shoot of spirit, choke it out, so that . . . only the cares of the world are left . . . . Which . . . in the end, are but thorns, having no eternal significance, and so, shall be thrown into the fire at harvest time . . . . Scary . . . . !