Serving the Ground

Serving the Ground July 31, 2018

The Lord curses Cain in Genesis 4:12: “When you serve (avad) the ground (adamah), it will not give (natan) its strength (koach) to you.”

Invert that, and we have a fair summary of God’s blessing, and a mini theology of the natural environment.

Humanity’s stance toward the earth: Service, not exploitation, pillage, or rape.

When the adamah is well served, she gives.

The relation of humanity to creation is not master-servant. Humanity doesn’t dominate but serves; and the exchange that results is an exchange of gifts.

The adamah gives strength, which means that the adamah has power to give. It also implies that the adamah shares power.

Presumably, the adamah display her power in the production of food; the adamah shares her power by giving food for the servants of the ground to eat.

Of course, this only works because the relation of humanity to the adamah isn’t a closed relation. The adamah receives power to give power by the word of God (Day 3), by the continuing gifts of water and light. The exchange is possible because earth isn’t alone, but receives the gifts of heaven.

Discuss among yourselves.


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