Now, I would like to share one other intriguing line of evidence, which is likely to be altogether new to you, that Jesus was who he said he was.
Let’s suppose that the Christian claim about Jesus Christ is true, that he really was the Son of God, and that he actually was “in the beginning” with God in some way, as the gospel of John claims, although not in flesh and blood form.1 I will readily admit, this is an extraordinary claim.
And let’s be clear, this is a claim that Jesus himself also made, assuming the gospels are reporting his statements accurately, because he said that “before Abraham was, I am.” Some have supposed he was merely saying he existed before Abraham, although that would be remarkable in itself. But we only have to look a few verses later, where a blind man also says “I am,” and uses the exact same words as Jesus in Greek, to realize that Jesus must have been calling himself “I AM.”2
To his Jewish audience he was blaspheming by equating himself with God, whose name is “I AM THAT I AM.”3 Their response? The moment he uttered those words, “Before Abraham was, I am,” they picked up stones to throw at him. If he was simply claiming to be older than Abraham, their response would probably have been ridicule, not stoning. But his hearers knew exactly what he meant by the words “I am.”
Let’s suppose he was who he said he was, and that some form of him really was “in the beginning” with God, as John claims at the start of his gospel. Perhaps we could expect Jesus to give us some insights into the universe and how it was formed. After all, he was supposedly there, although not as flesh and blood.
If Jesus intended to share such insights with us, how could he do it? His audience wouldn’t have a clue about cosmology or particle physics. Therefore it would have to be coded, perhaps in the form of parables, but in a way that would still have meaning for hearers in his day. Furthermore, concepts we take for granted would have to be put into figures of speech, using words and ideas that would still be relevant to a non-scientific audience, so they would preserve them for later generations to hear.
For example, if Jesus wanted to convey our modern understanding that the universe started off incredibly small, and expanded to become the vast universe we see around us today, how could he tell us? Perhaps he might use a parable such as this one:
“The kingdom of the heavens is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown, is the greatest of the vegetation, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of heaven come and nest in its branches.”4
This is exactly what Jesus does, because this is one of his parables, according to the gospel of Matthew. Now, it’s fair to say that Jesus may have been talking to his original audience in spiritual terms, about how the Kingdom of God grows from the smallest seed to become a mighty tree – which is still remarkable, considering the impact this man from Judea has already had on the world.
In Isaiah, YHWH says that “the heavens are my throne, and the earth is my footstool.”5 Since “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,”6 the universe itself could also be described as “the kingdom of the heavens.” In that case, Jesus’ illustration fits remarkably well with modern cosmology. The universe started off like the smallest seed, and became large like a tree, the greatest of the vegetation. Jesus followed up this parable with another curious one:
“The kingdom of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three seah measures of flour, until the whole of it was fermented.”7
Notice the similar structure of these two parables. In the first, the kingdom of the heavens is like a mustard seed which a man takes and sows. In the second, it is like leaven which a woman takes and hides.
In the first, the growth sounds organic, like the growth of a tree. In the second, growth is the result of the women hiding the leaven, or yeast, in three seah measures. Incidentally, a “seah” was a measure of dry food such as flour. Three seah measures (satons in Greek) was equal to one ephah; and the prophet Zechariah saw a woman sitting in an ephah, which Jesus was perhaps alluding to in his parable.8
What could the parable mean? Curiously, the ordinary matter of the universe is based upon threes, as I discussed earlier in this letter. Atoms are made up primarily of three components – protons, neutrons and electrons. And protons and neutrons themselves consist of three quarks.
I would suggest that the “three seah measures” represent quarks within the protons and neutrons, or else protons, neutrons and electrons; or perhaps both. The “leaven” represents the forces that caused the universe to expand, while also holding the elements together and turning them into something useful; because nobody eats flour in its ordinary form, but it becomes useful to us once it has been turned into dough and then baked into bread to sustain life.
In other words, as well as any spiritual application his disciples might have discerned, I would suggest that Jesus was also referring to the beginning of ordinary matter, and implying that the universe expanded, in the same way that a mass of dough expands to become a loaf of bread due to the leaven or yeast in it. This would be consistent with Jesus being a man who was also somehow there from the beginning.
In addition, these two parables are also remarkably good analogies for organic growth and biology. The first parable accurately describes the growth of a human being, from a tiny seed to a fully grown person. The word for “seeds” in Greek is spermaton, from which we derive the English word “sperm,” and the word for “smallest” is mikroteron, from which we derive words such as microbe and microscopic. Relative to our size later in life, we are indeed microscopic to begin with, and grow into tall trees that reach metaphorically into heaven.
Intriguingly, the Greek word translated “tree” in this parable is dendron, which is also the name of the branching part of a neuron that directs signals toward the cell body. Our nervous system and brain both consist of these type of cells. The word translated “mustard” is sinapeos, similar to the word “synapse” which describes the part of a neuron that passes electrical or chemical signals.
The second parable could also serve as a good analogy for how proteins are encoded in DNA. “Enzymes” are a particular class of proteins that are essential for dramatically speeding up chemical reactions. Without them, life wouldn’t work. The word “enzyme” comes from the Greek enzymos meaning leavened or fermented.
Proteins such as enzymes are encrypted in an organism’s DNA, and intriguingly, the Greek word used in Jesus’ parable for “hides in” is enekrupsen, which is where the word “encrypt” comes from in English, meaning to encode. Proteins are encrypted in sets of three nucleotides until the sequence is transcribed and translated, just as the woman hides the leaven in three seah measures until the whole is fermented.
Finally, it is intriguing that the first parable involved a man, and the second involved a woman. The word for “woman” here in Greek is gune, which is quite close to our modern word for “gene.” If the woman also represents a gene, it would explain why the parable is ambiguous, in that we can read it as if the woman herself hides in three seah measures. Genes are also encrypted in, or hidden in, sets of three nucleotides.
This is similar to how the woman is portrayed in Zechariah’s prophecy, which Jesus may have been alluding to. She is sitting in the ephah, which is a measure of flour. However, in that prophecy she is described as “The Wickedness.” If the woman in Jesus’ parable represents a gene, this begs the question as to what could be done to genes that would be considered wicked.
This is one way in which “the word of God is living,” as the author of the book of Hebrews puts it.9 An idea or meaning can be hidden until there is a need for it, such as the idea of nuclear power, which I have already suggested is implied in Ezekiel chapter 10, or of genetics, as in the case here. These warnings would not have been necessary, before the technology to do them became available.
Now, if these interpretations sound far-fetched – after all, how could parables about mustard seeds and leaven possibly relate to cosmology or genetics? – immediately after giving us the parable of the woman and the leaven, Matthew explained the reason why Jesus spoke in parables: “All these things Jesus spoke to the crowd in parables, and he would not speak to them without a parable, so that what was spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled, saying: ‘I will open my mouth in parables. I will utter things kept hidden from the founding of the world.’”10
Jesus was revealing God’s purpose in regard to the “Kingdom of God.” At the same time, what has been kept more hidden for thousands of years, than the very nature of the cosmos (the Greek here translated as “the world” is kosmou, from which we derive the word cosmos), and also the genetic basis of life itself, which humans now have the power to alter?
Jesus also said, in reference to hidden things: “There is nothing hidden that will not become clear, neither concealed which will not become known and will come out into the open. Be careful, then, how you hear. For whoever has, to him it will be given. But whoever does not have, even what he supposes he has will be taken away from him.”11
What has been more concealed than the very nature of the universe itself, or the biological secrets of life? And who would be in the best position to reveal these things to us, than one who was “in the beginning” with God? No wonder Jesus says: “Be careful, then, how you hear.” Are Jesus’ parables just nice sounding illustrations we can dismiss? Or do they come from someone who had much deeper insight into the nature of reality than us?
The point here is, these two small parables are in complete harmony with modern cosmology, biology and genetics. And so, I propose that Jesus intended them to have a double meaning. The first meaning was for his initial audience of apostles and disciples, who would interpret them in a spiritual way, because they didn’t have any other choice.
The “kingdom of the heavens” would start off small – almost insignificant in its appearance and sown by one man who would die on our behalf – but would grow to become a large tree, the greatest of the vegetation. Unlike the kingdoms of the world, this kingdom’s growth would be hidden, not strikingly obvious, because it would grow in the midst of the world around it. At the same time, the kingdom would have an effect on the world, just as leaven ferments the dough and causes it to rise. These are, at least, how I read the spiritual sense of these parables.
However, in our skeptical times, when people find it hard to believe the idea that Jesus could be the Son of God, let alone have been “in the beginning” with God somehow, Jesus also hid a deeper meaning, meant to be understood only once we had sufficient knowledge of the universe and the molecular biological processes of life. Perhaps it was also a subtle warning about the dangers of tampering too much with such foundations. The overall message seems to encourage scientific discovery, but also suggests we be very careful when playing God in either the atomic or the genetic realm, because these are closer to “the kingdom of the heavens.”
This is why Jesus also said: “The kingdom of the heavens is like treasure hidden in the field, which on finding a man hides, and from the joy of it, goes away and sells everything he has and buys that field.”12 When we find such hidden treasures in the Bible, we realize it’s not just the treasure itself that is valuable, but also the location of the treasure. No wonder the apostle Peter said that even “angels are desiring to peer” into these things.13
Jesus spoke these parables also for us, so we could know and believe he really was “in the beginning” with God, because he told us what the universe was like, a few thousand years before cosmologists were able to, along with the microscopic workings of a cell.
He told us that the “kingdom of the heavens,” the universe itself, was like a tiny seed which grew to become like a large tree in which to dwell. By analogy we can also deduce that it was leavened somehow, or made to expand quickly, the “leaven” being hidden with the protons, neutrons and electrons, and perhaps also the three quarks making up protons and neutrons, until the whole, the cosmos, was fermented, like a loaf that has been baked and prepared.
In parable form, he also told us about biological growth, the typical human starting out as the winner of a tiny sperm race, a microscopic seed, and growing into what could be compared to a tree consisting of a nervous system and brain, both made up of neurons with synapses and dendrons. He also told us about how a gene is encoded, encrypted within sets of three nucleotides, along with enzymes for dramatically speeding things up, so that the whole machinery of life can be built.
No wonder Jesus completed his parables by saying, “Every writer instructed in the kingdom of the heavens is like a man, a householder, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”14
In previous chapters I showed you how quantum and particle physics, and various biological mechanisms including DNA, the four DNA bases, the processes of transcription and translation, and how ribosomes work, have been hidden in plain sight in Hebrew scriptures, within very tight clusters that simply cannot be down to chance. And I have more to show you in the second part of this book.
In this chapter I have shown you how, in just two small parables, Jesus has given us a new line of evidence to show that he really was “in the beginning” with God. These are all part of the “things new and old.” They have been given to you, to help you come to realize that the God of Israel, YHWH, is the God of the heavens and the earth, and that Jesus Christ really was and is the Son of God.
1 John 1:1-3. 2 John 8:58,59; 9:9. 3 Exodus 3:14, King James Version. 4 Matthew 13:31,32. 5 Isaiah 66:1. 6 Genesis 1:1. 7 Matthew 13:33. 8 Zechariah 5:6-8. 9 Hebrews 4:12. 10 Matthew 13:34,35. 11 Luke 8:17,18. 12 Matthew 13:44. 13 1 Peter 1:12. 14 Matthew 13:52.