We now begin Chapter 9, “What Has Been Hidden.” One will recall Jesus’ saying, “Nothing has been hidden except to be revealed,” as the inspiration for this title. We begin the chapter with Preston Harold exploring Jesus’ understanding of entropy.
This study finds it most significant that Jesus gave evidence of understanding the relationship between entropy and communication – between “bits” of information, “fowl of the air,” and nature’s supreme law…
The word, entropy, from the Greek, trope, means: a turning, change, after energy. Jesus’ name for this changing arrangement of energy as energy runs its course is “realm of heaven” – He says it is:
…like a grain of mustard-seed, which a man takes and sows in his field….it becomes a tree, so large that wild birds come and roost in the branches of it…Jesus said all this…to fulfill what had been said by the prophet,
I will open my mouth in parables
I will speak out what has been hidden
since the foundation of the world.
To have more appreciation for Jesus’ statement above it will help us to explore the work of the scientists Warren Weaver and Claude E. Shannon, who through their studies found that communication was bound up with the phenomenon of entropy and published their findings in The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Quick spoiler: Anyone who has ever played the phone game knows how quickly entropy kicks in when trying to relay a simple message around a tight circle of humans. Nevertheless, Weaver says:
“That information be measured by entropy is, after all, natural when we remember that information, in communication theory, is associated with the amount of freedom of choice we have in constructing messages….One has the vague feeling that information and meaning may prove to be something like a pair of canonically conjugate variables in quantum theory, they being subject to some joint restriction that condemns a person to the sacrifice of the one as he insists on having much of the other. Or perhaps meaning may be shown to be analogous to one of the quantities on which the entropy of a thermodynamic ensemble depends.”
Preston Harold goes on to interpret Weaver in light of this study:
The Christ was to “tell us of all things…” Communication was the heart of His problem. If Jesus grasped the significance of entropy in communication, He saw that He could use the Scriptures as His “source” of information on the Christ, and that the number of the descriptions of this One in the Scriptures would allow Him wide freedom of choice in selecting among them those required to construct His message in such a way that the ideal in redundancy might be achieved, enabling Him to convey the maximum of meaning within the limits of possibility.
In the redundancy lies the secret.
We’ll explore this secret in our next installment. Until then, peace.