Parables and Position


“The gist of it can be stated as follows: a particle may have position or it may have velocity but it cannot in any sense have both…the more we bring to light the secret of position the more the secret of velocity is hidden.”

Thus speaks Sir Arthur Eddington concerning Werner Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Preston Harold tells us how Jesus conveyed this principle in a poetic way to his followers:

If an ancient’s pure thought led him to the realization of the “principle of indeterminacy,” how could he convey it? He must, of course, select a symbol to represent “position” and another to represent “velocity.” Jesus, light, allowed Himself to be called “teacher” or “Lord” – and He spoke thusly of teacher and scholar, of lord and servant:

A scholar is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his lord; enough for the scholar to fare like his teacher, and the servant like his lord. –Matt. 10:24-25

If teacher (or Lord) is seen to represent “position” and scholar (or servant) is seen to represent ‘velocity” this saying shows a new dimension. It would read: “Velocity (the time rate of change of position) is not greater than the speed of light. Therefore, velocity must share the limitations of light.” Thus Jesus, in saying that scholar and teacher “fare alike” indicates that at the limit, or when reduced to a point in space-time frame, “position” and “velocity” become alike.

It is quite a jolt to understand Jesus’ sayings in this way. But it certainly renders intelligible some of the difficulties in trying to interpret what Jesus is “really trying to get across.” Many excellent books have been written on the teachings and parables of Jesus, setting his teachings in the context of the cultural norms of the day and what would be the common Jewish understanding of Jesus’ hearers. But who among us would have thought that buried deep within those teachings all along were hidden the secret workings of the universe and creation/evolution? After all, even Jesus himself says that he has many things to tell, but that listeners of his time could not bear those teachings at that time and place. Here is another example from Preston Harold:

Jesus presents a parable of laborers who come early to the fields and laborers who come late, each receiving the same wage, and thus they fare alike: He concludes with these words, “So shall the last be first and the first last,” indicating the indeterminacy of both velocity and position – which is to say, man may measure only the one or the other aspect of a person or a particle: its “being” or its “becoming,” its position or its velocity.


Who among us hasn’t heard the parable of the laborers in the field and thought of its interpretation in the light of God’s “unfairness” or “grace,” and how God behaves in the exact opposite way that most of us would concerning the wages given at the end of the day? Who hasn’t put themselves in the place of the workers who agreed to the wage at the beginning of the day and worked all day, just to find out that they could have worked a fraction of that time for the same wage? How many times have we thought or heard that God does not act as the world does, and this parable proves the point; when in reality this parable is describing exactly the underlying basis and foundation for how the world does in fact work, no matter what one believes! Like all the other parables, it is a riddle of universal truth, it’s secrets waiting to be revealed to those with, as Jesus says, “ears to hear.” Preston Harold certainly had those ears, and has helped myself and others clear the wax out of ours as well. Until next time, peace.

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