"Agriculture:  Progress or Portent?"

by Bruce Magnotti

Though there is evidence of agriculture prior to the Sumerian civilization (6,000 years before present) the degree of organization and the reliance on it as a way of life commenced in the Mesopotamian Valley.  If any reason is given for the creation of Adam in the book of Genesis it is, "...nor was there a man to till the ground..."1.  Prior to this, humans survived, evolved and prospered, naked, without agriculture and without law and order.  Though God created Adam to till the ground, Adam's growing concern for law and order forced God to evict him from the garden and pronounce the famous "curse", "...accursed shall be the ground on your account, with labor you shall win your food from it all the days of your life."2

In a later story in which Adam and Eve's first offspring fought over the favor of God, Cain, "...a tiller of the soil" murdered his brother Abel, "..a shepherd" because Cain's offering ... was not accepted and Abel's was accepted.3

It might be interesting to note that in the story of Noah, he brought with him two of every domestic animal onto the ark but there is no mention of he or his family bringing seeds or plantings onto the boat.

Abraham was directed to leave Sumeria 4,000 years ago4.  The inhabitants of the Mesopotamian Valley had been an agricultural society for 2,000 years, though prior to the introduction of agriculture by Oannes, the tribes in this region were hunters and gatherers and perhaps nomadic herdsman.  Abraham was being called by God to return to this nomadic herdsman way of life.

The purpose of this chapter is to contrast a) the view that agriculture is a progressive step in human civilization and b) the view that agriculture is associated with the more "viral" characteristics of human existence, i.e., resource depletion and overpopulation.


Human tribal society - hunters and gatherers
Nomadic lifestyle - defined, wide territory
Were customs and manners consistent with beliefs or consistent with environment?
Intensive evolutionary pressure
Population pressures

Something changed to cause humans to want to (need to) settle into cities and buildings.

The knowledge of good and evil?
The garden of Eden and agriculture?
Domestication of animals?
Cain's city building and tool making?

Human city society
All food trucked in
Large need for energy to transport food, store and prepare food
Sedentary lifestyle
Large need for energy for travel and comfort
Law and order consistent with community safety
Law and order consistent with level of government control
Deterioration of evolutionary pressure
Population increases
Resource depletion

1   Genesis 2:  5
2  Genesis 3:  17
3   Genesis 4:  2-8
4   Genesis 12:  1,2

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