In biblical times, aspects of nature that are easily explained by modern science were considered mysteries, and sparked a sense of awe. Although today, a scientific explanation is often available, nature still has the power to arouse wonder in us. On the other hand, once a phenomenon is scientifically analyzed and explained, it may lose its awe-inspiring qualities.
Every day our favorite meteorologist explains to us why the wind is blowing in a particular direction. The direction of the wind, which mystified the author of the Fourth Gospel, no longer causes us to wonder (John 3:8).
The same evangelist explains a seed’s germination as a death (John 12:24). Today’s botanists and geneticists understand the process in terms of chemical transformations. Although the origin of the wind no longer captures our imagination, the germination of a seed continues to inspire our sense of wonder. The silhouette of a sower casting his seed over plowed ground is still a powerful symbol of faith and hope.