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Originally published in Creation 19(4):50–51, September 1997
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.
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.