Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 92

ATONEMENT, AGRICULTURE, AND ANIMAL FEEDING - Kirkpatrick fossil fuels30 both in its production and is dispersal around the country and around the globe.31 In short, the way food is cultivated, grown, and raised in the United States is unsustainable, unhealthy, and downright foolish. Additionally, it misunderstands, and perhaps even ignores, the interconnectedness of the local, regional, national, and global food chain. Biblical Farming: Ruling, Working, and Keeping Watch Farming existed long before large scale, monoculture-oriented farms and CAFOs took over the United States. Humankind’s relationship with the land, the produce it produces, and the animals which rely upon it is discussed throughout the Old Testament. Both the creation accounts in Genesis and sections of Israel’s law code give insight as to how God intended humanity to care for and relate to the land, to crops, and to livestock.32 According to Scripture, it was God’s plan from the beginning that humankind work the ground and tend the animals thereupon. Genesis 1:26– 27 states that God made humankind in His image. God speaks in Genesis 1:28 that part of bearing His image includes humanity’s dominion in creation, which includes the land, the produce from it, and animals upon it. As their Creator rules over all of creation, so He tasks humanity with that same charge, with one important difference. God, as Creator of all, is the one who truly rules over—has dominion over—creation. That title and responsibility belongs to Him alone. While the idea of dominion or rule can have a negative connotation, and often does in the Hebrew Bible when describing Israel’s military or monarchic power, those negative connotations are not present here. Instead, this same verb (‫)רדה‬, to have dominion over, 30. While the discussion of fossil fuel usage is a key portion of this discussion, it is so vast that it is beyond the scope of this article to fully address it. 31. Sheshti Johansson, Kirstina Belfrage, and Mats Olsson, “Impact on Food Productivity by Fossil Fuel Independence: A Case Study of a Swedish Small-Scale Integrated Organic Farm,” Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica: Section B, Soil and Plant Science 63, no. 2 (March 2013): 123–124. See also Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, 83. 32. These are, of course, not the only portions of Scripture to discuss food, but they provide examples of how the Bible discusses food throughout. 89