Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thesis 10: The Priority of Agrarianism

Man was created in a Garden, with the basic command to dress, cultivate, and guard the land.[1] Meaningful work was given to man in the pre-Fall Garden of Eden;[2] food was plentiful but required harvesting.[3] Economic scarcity is not a product of the Fall in a vague, ubiquitous, automatic, “natural” sense, but is a product of deliberate human action (laziness, theft, price controls, war), and less frequently, the direct judgment[4] or testing[5] at the hand of God through angelic agency (#30).


1. (Genesis 2:15 ) And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

2. Cult: Genesis 1:26
(Genesis 1:26) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Culture: Genesis 1:28 ; 2:12 ; 2:19 .
(Genesis 1:28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
(Genesis 2:12) And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
(Genesis 2:19) And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

3. Cultivation:
Genesis 1:29; 2:5; 2:9; 2:15 ; 2:16
(Genesis 1:29) And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
(Genesis 2:5) And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
(Genesis 2:9) And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
(Genesis 2:15-16) And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. {16} And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

4. cf. Thomas Jefferson, "And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest. -- But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one's mind. I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation."

5. Job 2:3
(Job 2:3) And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

This is a controversial Thesis. The human race was initially agrarian. This Thesis is not necessarily intended to imply (though one might infer it) that the human race should have remained agrarian.

On the one side in this debate might be found writers like Wendell Berry and Christians in the Anabaptist (e.g., Amish) tradition.

On the other side are writers like Gary North, who suggests that Old Testament law actually intended cities to take priority over farms.

Revelation 21-22 suggests that "the City of God" is the goal;
but there are multiple trees of life in the New Jerusalem.

Even farmers despise the Kingdom (Matthew 22:5).

The "cult-culture-cultivation" triad is Peter Maurin's.

The following items are from the "food for thought" department:

"The Presbyterian Magazine," May 1852, says of True Blue Presbyterianism:

A true-blue Presbyterian is never found advocating the abolition of capital punishment, resisting the law of the land, affording new facilities for divorces, encouraging agrarianism in any shape. Conservatism, as opposed to extravagance, is the law of his life; the first and second nature of the inner man. HT

Here's another item:

Farm pregnancy 'cuts asthma risk'

Clearly, human beings need agriculture. No food, no life. Are the motivations that move human beings to a "Star Trek" future where food is created by computer-assisted molecular re-arrangement Godly motivations? Are the motivations for moving from rural to urban Godly motivations? I'm not saying there's only one right answer, only that they are interesting and potentially illuminating questions, which can prevent an "unexamined life." (In addition to the c-c-c triad, above, Peter Maurin also advocated "round-table discussions" for "clarification of thought.")

1 comment:

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