Farming frustrations? ...
The answer's in Genesis
No matter where you are, growing food surely is frustrating and hard work. You would think that (especially in a technologically advanced society like here in the U.S.) with all the new inventions of machinery, global information systems, genetically engineered crops, pesticides etc., things would be getting easier. However, just as each spring bursts forth with new growth, each growing season delivers new challenges. God not only humbles us with the miracle of plant growth but humbles us with how we are at his mercy in producing food.
Each year has its weather challenges and plethora of pests. Farmers may forget birthdays and anniversaries but accurately reminisce about past growing seasons. The spring rains, summer droughts, early frosts, hail storms, and tornados come to mind like it was yesterday. Insects, weeds and diseases are a continual battle. Like any battle, by the end of the growing season the farmers are just worn out from protecting the crop. It’s no wonder growers get excited about new technology. However, the problems have not ceased.
Wikimedia commons/Okko Pyykkö
A field of canola (also known as rapeseed) in flower.
The good earth?
We often refer to the land as the ‘good earth’. In Genesis 1:31 God did call all of His creation ‘very good’. But if God’s creation is very good then why is crop production such hard work and full of challenges and frustrations?
The answer is sin. Sin entered the world when Adam and Eve, deceived by Satan, trusted their own thinking and reasoning (humanism) rather than trusting and obeying God. Even though they were commanded by God not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they did it anyway.
As a result of sin, God cursed the ground. In Genesis 3:17–19, God says to Adam in the garden, ‘cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow you shall eat of it all the days of your life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee … In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.’
We will eat the plants of the field but it will require hard work. It will require ‘sweat’, and be permeated with obstacles—‘thorns and thistles’.
Will new inventions and technologies eliminate our problems? I’m referring to the ‘if we just had the money and resources then we could cure the problem’ mind-set.
God calls us to work. We are called to use our minds, and the resources that God has given us, to help each other. In Genesis 1:28 and Genesis 2:15 God says that man is to have dominion in taking care of his creation. But we see that with all the scientific advancements that God has empowered, growing food still requires ‘sweat’. New technologies—like pesticides, global information systems and genetically engineered crops are powerful advances in feeding more people, but we still obtain our food by the ‘sweat of thy face.’ We are under the curse until it is removed, so because this ‘Genesis principle’ is true, it will always require hard work to overcome the weeds, pests and the like. In the same way, until Jesus our Creator/Redeemer ushers in the New Heavens and Earth, the effects of the curse will continue to be manifest as sickness, aging and death.
Jack Walker, CPAg.—a Certified Professional Agronomist—worked as a Product Development Agronomist for a seed company in Ohio, USA. Return to top.
Great article. I work on a national level as a Food and Nutrition Science Adviser with the National Council Against Health Fraud as well as Quackwatch. I am also a college professor in nutrition and the voting member with the Creation Research Society. I have 30 years combating junkscience in the media and have appeared on NBC Dateline, CBS Evening News, etc.
The advances in technology as pointed out in this article, such as the use of pesticides, GMO, ext. are absolutely necessary to feed the growing population and they are very consistent with the Biblical mandate to do so. Most consumers, as well as one of the commentaries of this article, have no understanding of the principle of toxicology - The Dose Makes The Poison, and how this principle allows for the safe use, both environmentally and human exposure, of pesticides. To ease the fears of those who disagree with this piece, you might read this piece published just recently at WND.com [link deleted per feedback rules]
"What is old, is new." I cannot remember her name, but the agronomist is in Oregon. Open-pollinated crops, free-range livestock, and cover crops all lead to Dr. Carver, who would spend hours in his office in the lab, praying for God's direction. "Put the black back in the soil, and farmers will again be wealthy, as they were long ago." Put God as head of your business, any business, and ask Him how to do it. Then obey. God's peace to you, and His love.
It seems harsh for God to put the whole of mankind under a curse for thousands of years because of one transgression by the first human. I'm sure Jesus wouldn't have done that.
I suspect many Christians also think it harsh as do most non-believers. I'd recommend you read Why would a loving God allow death and suffering?
Yes it is true because of man's sin we do work and eat our bread in sorrow, but there is something else that I myself even forget at times. That is the fact The it is The Lord God Who blesses us with the seasons for planting and reaping. It is The Lord Who has blessed us as a nations for the riches we enjoy, The Lord God who fought our wars and gave us victory in many of them.
I’ve been farming for over 50 years and I can confidently say that that the above so-called advances, although they are no doubt “powerful”, they most certainly do not represent constructive developments in agriculture. Rather, they are regressive in nature due to their toxic and destructive effect on all life forms. Indeed the predictable result of man's arrogant vain contempt for God’s creation.
Considering the growing belief that we are but a product of a mindless universe, this perverted science based manipulation is not surprising.
As CS Lewis correctly stated, “What we call Man's power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.” Or, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn stated, “Man has set for himself the goal of conquering the world but in the processes loses his soul. That which is called humanism, but what would be more correctly called irreligious anthropocentrism, cannot yield answers to the most essential questions of our life. We have arrived at an intellectual chaos.”
To paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided (scientific technologies) and misguided men”. Emphasis in brackets mine.
Completely agree with you, Jack! It pains me to see the creatures, 'groaning and travailing' because of our sin. As a Christian veterinarian, my greatest joy has been to understand more fully that, in Christ, the whole Creation will soon be wonderfully restored. [I've written a beautifully illustrated book about this, which is about to be published: 'Were the Whole Realm of Nature Mine - A Vet's Devotional Memoirs']
I am also blessed to (organically) grow all my own vegetables and fruit, which is certainly a challenge! I see many 'good-lifers' who think it'll be easy, but many soon give up when they see how hard it is to successfully grow food. Yet during WW2, we even grew potatoes in our front garden! But you can't buck the curse, albeit God is still so wonderfully merciful. I'm so looking forward to Christ's coming, when the whole Creation will be restored: Maranatha!