Mark 4:1-20; Matthew 13:1-23; & Luke 8:4-18
Let’s get pastoral!
I remember thinking the parable of the sower was very profound when I first read it in high school. I suppose it’s no less so now, but it raises a few interesting questions to me.
Parables are essentially allegories, but it’s unclear how strict the parallel is supposed to be between the story and the reality of God that’s being depicted. For instance, is the sower in the parable careless? Why does so much of his seed end up on the path and in the rocky earth and thorns? I understand the realities of agricultural life are such that this is an accurate description of sowing a field. But wouldn’t you expect God to be more careful than this and not scatter the Word so carelessly that so much ends up where it will not be received.
And, of course, this also takes my thoughts in the direction of determinism. In the parable, the soil cannot choose which soil it will be. The soil cannot will itself to be less rocky or thorny so that it may more fruitfully receive the seed. I assume the parallel doesn’t hold to the spiritual level, right? If the soil represents different types of people, my understanding is that we can choose (to an extent, at least) whether we will understand it and/or be rooted and/or withstand the distractions of the world.
I guess I kind of need the parable to be an incomplete allegory, and I’m not sure that’s where I want to be…