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The Emperor Has No Clothes – Episode 047

While the reaction in the Muslim world to the death of Osama bin Laden has been somewhat muted, there’s definitely an anger simmering below the surface. There have been calls for retaliation from Muslim groups and Homeland Security has said that we’re under a heightened level of alert until all the players calm down.

However, terrorism is not strictly limited to those who wish to kill us. What about the terrorism of debt that threatens to overwhelm each and every American? What about the terrorism of rising fuel and food prices? What about the terrorism of Mother Nature herself as we brace ourselves for the floods that are coming our way? Is there any way to mitigate these very real threats to our every day lives?

We hope you’ll join Bill and Brian on Off the Grid Radio today as they discuss ways that you and your family can use to help you through the rough times ahead, whether it’s planting survival seed or equipping your home with a solar generator, or if it’s starting a community garden with your neighbors or church members.

Off The Grid Radio
Ep 047
Released: May 9, 2011

Bill: Welcome everybody, it’s Bill Heid here today. Talking with Mark Rushdoony. We’re going to talk about the theology of the land with weather warming up and there’s farmers out planting, a lot of gardeners planting. I thought it would be appropriate to have a conversation with Mark about the theology of the land. Mark, welcome.

Mark: Thank you, Bill. Good to be here.

Bill: Thanks again for joining us. Early on, I went through your dad’s “Systematic Theology” book and I went through a section – this is a section you’re not going to hear a lot about in church probably. I don’t know of too many churchgoers that have talked about the theology of the land. But the theology of the land plays a great role, especially in the Old Testament and into the new as well. In the first section, Mark, I think we’re told by the Bible early on that the “earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” How do you think Greek philosophy has wiggle-wormed its way into the church to remove this organic idea of how we’re tied to the land?

Mark: Greek philosophy has always had an impact on Christian thinking. I think part of the reason is some of the terminology is the same, such as spirit, soul. These terms were also used by Greek philosophy so it was naturally from early on that these ideas would come into the church. Even Paul and Mars Hill – he was given an audience by Greek thinkers until he got to the idea of the resurrection which was repugnant to Greek thinking. In Greek – neoplatonic Greek thinking or dualism, the idea was that matter was an inferior level of being and that the spirit or the idea was greater. Man wanted to transcend the physical and wanted to enter the world of the spirit, the world of the idea, the world of the gods. In Greek mythology, sometimes men like Hercules became gods. The idea was that matter and the earth was what was tying them down and that was a limitation. When these Greeks became Christian, they brought this philosophy in and they had the idea that their bodies were evil. That’s why the early emphasis on asceticism and punishing the body in Christianity – this were actually alien to Christianity but they were actually part of Greek philosophy brought directly in. Because we bring our past thinking in. We never completely rid ourselves of our past thinking. It’s a discipline. But this is the essence of the difference between Christianity. In Christianity, God started with creating matter and he called it very good. Even the incarnation of Jesus Christ – he became flesh, he became a man. God was in human flesh. There was nothing evil about flesh. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul makes very clear that the resurrection of the dead will be to an actual body. It will be a body that will then be changed, but it will be a physical body. I believe heaven is a very physical, real place. It’s not floating on clouds. This whole idea of dualism, this body/matter versus the spirit is very much a part of Christian thinking once again. We’ve never really completely rid ourselves of it. And unfortunately, it makes Christians sometimes quite irrelevant to the very physical world in which they live, because they’re always thinking about some theoretical spiritual state that has nothing to do with their day-to-day life.

Bill: Mark, the land is very physical. There’s definitely a connection between morality and the land if Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 are any indication. I think there’s failure to effect satisfaction not only pollutes the land but also the people that dwell in the land. Today there’s – fast forward – today there’s this idea of the land but it’s being talked about the left in such an interesting way … let’s develop that a little bit. Al Gore posits this idea of a theology of the land, of atonement. Because if you don’t want to follow his advice, if you don’t want to go down the path that he wants you to go down to and pay him and the banksters their money, then you’re going to be cursed, right? We even have with the left and an atheistic world, they have curses and blessings on the land as well as an apocalyptic end-time scenario. It’s almost like they’ve taken a lot of Christianity, almost like Marxism did, and threw it in the blender and then regurgitate it back out. Do you see that as well?

Mark: Absolutely. I believe Christianity in the Bible reflects the real world God wants us to understand. When we ignore what the Bible says about atonement – atonement is paying for sin – when you ignore what the Bible says about it and that sin is a moral problem, then we just transfer the whole idea of atonement to a different setting. People throughout history have tried to make man atone for sins. Hitler was demanding that the Jews atone for supposed sins. Racism is a form of making somebody pay for sins. Marxism is a different form, but it’s making the bourgeois pay for their supposed crimes against humanity. So when we ignore what the Bible says about man’s moral problem, we just transfer that concept of atonement elsewhere. I think part of our problem is our naturalistic evolutionary perspective. One of the things that – evolution tends to take two tracks, because when you get rid of God, again you don’t replace the God idea, you just transfer it. Evolutionists tended to see man as God or nature as God. Man is God was very popular when I was much younger, through the 60s and this cult of science. It was believed that science and man could accomplish just about anything. All of our problems were technical problems. All of our problems were scientific problems and that man would overcome. It was a very much – science was held in great deference. The environmental movement, on the other hand, is swinging towards the idea that nature is supreme and that man is a problem. However you identify the problem, such as Al Gore identifying that man and pollution as a problem, then you have a new power source and you transfer … because that pretty much defines – how you define the problem defines your answer. So much of the environmental movement has moved to zero growth or depopulation or in some way controlling man and his use of the land because man is seen to be the problem.

Bill: Yeah, man seems to – in many theologies and many beliefs – man seems to be at the epicenter. Yet, again, in the Bible we learn that the – we begin with the creation. Man comes along a little later. As a matter of fact, man gets spanked a few times early on. If you read in Job – “where were you when I made this? And where you when I did that?” I think – how do you draw the right line, Mark? The Bible’s not man-centered and it’s not nature-centered. Doesn’t it seem like the only … if you watch television, if you watch FOX, CNN, or if you listen to talk radio, you’ve got two different perspectives. You’ve got man-centered or nature-centered, or reactions back and forth from the two. Talk a little bit about this God-created perspective, as opposed to the other two. This is the other paradigm we talk about on our show all the time. This is not the paradigm you hear in the news.

Mark: Right. Well, according to the Bible, man is fully accountable to God. God created the earth and God put man in it with a job. Even before there was sin in the world, Adam was given the job of having dominion over the earth. It was a great responsibility. God didn’t make any tools for Adam. Adam had a lot of responsibilities and he had to apply himself. But man is always under God. Sin is when man rebelled against God and that’s been the source of man’s problem.

Bill: Mark, hold on a second. That’s a good place to stop. Let’s take a little, short break here. We’re going to go to a couple of commercials and then we’ll be right back with Mark Rushdoony, president of Chalcedon.

[0:10:07 – 13:24 break]

Bill: Welcome back everybody, it’s Bill Heid. I’m talking today with Mark Rushdoony. You can find more information about what Mark’s doing over at chalcedon.edu. Mark, we’re talking about man’s place and I want to get into a little bit about Godly stewardship as we move this on, but man’s place and what the problem is. And how do we move from here? What’s the right perspective to have? Rather than nature as being the most important thing in the world or man as being the most important thing in the world, what is the right perspective that we should have?

Mark: The Bible starts with God is the creator and man is the creature, so there’s always that deference. The man always must defer to God, according to scripture. Scripture does say a lot about the land. It does command us to rest the land, to respect the land. The land was something that was not technically privately-owned, because the Hebrews had something of a tribal organization and the land was handed down from family to family. Man was really – the so-called owner was really a trustee of the land and he was required to pass that land on. In fact, agricultural land could not even be sold. It could be leased long term but periodically it had to return to the family. You couldn’t even dispossess your heirs of the land periodically. There was a multi-generational respect and obligation to the land because the land was the source of man’s productivity and man’s future. There is a real cause in scripture for respect for the land and treatment of the land. Despite what we all can hear, I think farmers have created a great deal of agricultural land out of land that was once non-arable. We don’t tend to hear about that, but there have been vast areas in many parts of the world that were once really not at all productive and then now are very productive. There have been abuses but I think man’s ability to produce more food on the land and make it more productive is quite noteworthy, even in the last century or so.

Bill: We’re definitely feeding more people, aren’t we Mark? We’d sort of ratcheted up our production. I’m not sure the food’s always the same quality maybe as it could be, but we’ve definitely ratcheted up our ability to have Godly stewardship over the land in many ways and be more productive.

Mark: I think so. Absolutely.

Bill: let’s talk for a little bit about curses and blessings. I think they’re so closely tied to the land. I think the over-spiritualization of the modern church has created some confusion. I think Adam and his bride got themselves into trouble early on. Let’s talk about how easy it was to produce food before the fall and then what happened and why is it so hard to produce food though man’s working on it? Food was much easier to produce before the fall, right?

Mark: Well, presumably, we aren’t told too much about how things worked before sin, but obviously the curse involved thorns and thistles and it was by the sweat of man’s brow when he produce it. In other words, his labor is now no longer going to be 100 percent productive. He would sometimes be frustrated. He would sometimes work and actually not see productivity. Eden, particularly, was a particular place where God said man can get started, so it was apparently extremely productive. Everything that man needed. And when man sinned he was actually ejected from Eden. So we don’t know too much about what existed, other than man’s labors were, to a certain extent, frustrated because of sin.

Bill: We see the concept of sweat coming in, sweat on your brow and so forth, right?

Mark: Yes.

Bill: I think also, Mark, the idea that God would actually curse man or the earth is pretty repugnant to modern man. Why do you think that is?

Mark: Because the earth belongs to God. Ultimately, I think scripture points to the fact that he will restore the earth. In fact, the Bible begins with the creation of the heavens and the earth and then in Revelation it talks about creation of the new heavens and new earth, so God’s intent is to restore the earth. But the curse on the earth is man’s penalty. In other words, man cannot be productive in his rebellion against God. There are going to be consequences for man’s rebellion against God. If you give a criminal all he wants and a criminal has access to wealth and power, he will abuse that. The curse is a humbling aspect of man’s existence. It means man has to work hard and do honest labor in order to be productive. Things don’t come easy to man. This is good and it takes many, many years to accumulate a capital that has made things like the industrial revolution possible and modern technology. We’re standing on the shoulders of men who’ve gone before us in every area of technology and scientific advancement. When you use a cell phone, the advances that had to go before that and the thousands of inventions – we’re all borrowing from that. Farmers borrow from past farmers, from past technological advances in farming equipment. The same thing with industry and the ability to produce things in factories. Everything we do is built on the capital of others, but that came with a great deal of work. Now, imagine if there was no frustration and if all of man’s work had been 100 percent productive. Man could have then easily advanced much further but he would have then had more leisure to indulge his sins. So work is something that keeps man honest and it keeps man focused. There is a humbling aspect to labor.

Bill: But curses and blessings are definitely interesting because, as you’re suggesting, Mark, you can have a blessing and plenty of food, eat it all, become overweight, have a heart attack and be cursed and die. But I want to drill down a little bit and talk about – I want to talk about this Al Gore thing because I think – he’s back in the news a little bit again. I think it’s so fascinating that they would be so quick to dismiss God’s curses here and yet, again, pay attention to themselves with such seriousness that they want to inflict curses. “If you don’t follow my prescription for the earth, the earth will curse you. The coasts will flood. This will happen. You just need to pay me and the banksters these taxes and then nothing will happen to you. The earth will settle down.” Doesn’t it seem like that, that that’s their perspective?

Mark: I believe it’s transparently political in its motivation because in reality, if what they’re claiming is true, there’s very little that the government can do about it.

Bill: Aren’t they then, Mark – and this is a biblical principal, or at least a theological principal – who’s ultimate? Aren’t’ they positing themselves as ultimate? And if you disagree with them, aren’t you dethroning them in some sense?

Mark: I think absolutely so. I think, again, even if they’re right, they’re opportunistic and trying to take advantage of the situation. And I don’t think they’re scientifically right. I think this is … it’s really sophomoric, sometimes, is their scientific reasoning.

Bill: Let’s take a little break here, Mark. I’m talking today, again, with Mark Rushdoony at Chalcedon. There’s a lot of great material at chalcedon.edu. We’re going to come back and talk about authority and just what happens when man rebels against God, what happens to the earth. We’ll be right back.

[0:22:37 – 0:25:50 break]

Bill: We are back. It’s Bill Heid today, talking with Mark Rushdoony about the theology of the land and we we’re talking about Adam, we’re talking about curses and we’re talking about what happens when mankind gives up authority and transfers authority, or ultimacy, from God to man. Adam did it in the Garden and now Al Gore’s asking us to do it again – to transfer that authority back over to him. I think, Mark, we ought to make sure that people realize that that’s not something we want to do. Mankind – Adam 1.0 and Eve 1.0 made that mistake the first time. Christ came back – Christ came on this earth to give us the ability to say no to Al Gore and these other mistakes. Wouldn’t you agree with that a little bit?

Mark: Absolutely. Part of the problem with humanism, when man becomes supreme, you always have two tendencies in history and one always predominates. If man is supreme then you can go the route of being an anarchist. Because you could say “every man is supreme, I am supreme.” But anarchism really doesn’t work and nobody wants to tolerate that for very long. The other extreme is statism and that has been the tendency throughout history. The ancient world, you have to remember, was dominated by statism. In fact, it was more statist than anything we know today because the pharaohs or the kings were not only political leaders but they were also the religious leaders. So if you opposed the state in any way in ancient times, you were not only guilty of treason, you were also guilty of blasphemy. There was no possible way of opposing the powers that be. Christianity changed that because Christianity shifted the whole dynamic into the freedom of man in Jesus Christ. It was really as Christianity advanced in the west that liberty became part of the dynamic. Then we’re free and the Constitution of the United States that went through the Puritan revolution and really then the Constitution was an attempt to try to create a limited government where the government only had certain rights. This whole idea of being free from individuals who would try to save us from ourselves is really a very long history and it’s something that we really have been losing rapidly in the United States and we’re returning to the model of statism.

Bill: We’ve really disconnected or divorced ourselves from where we came from. And, Mark, I think we’ve done that not only with the land but with technology. But when you match them both up, when you disconnect or divorce yourself from both the land and this technology, that you suggest that we’re standing on the shoulders of past inventors, you get some pretty crazy outcomes. One story that your father told a number of times – I’ve always been fascinated with, and I want to get your comment on it – is when, I guess it was during the 60s, the Bill Ayers period when a liberal reporter in Berkeley, during one of the protests, went up to one of the women leaders, one of the spokespersons, and said “what about food?” She replied back to him “food is” – as if food is and food has always been and food will always be. That story that your dad told has always stuck with me with what happens when you pull this disengagement thing and you do get a pretty insane breakdown in society. I think if you let folks like that take over you’d eventually have empty shelves and some pretty hungry bellies.

Mark: And that’s happened in the world, particularly through Marxism, where that was exactly the case. Shelves in the Soviet Union were often empty because they destroyed the means of production and the motivation for production, which tells us that man can very much destroy his culture. Man can destroy civilization. Otto Scott, the historian, once said that “civilization is just very thin. It’s like the skin on an apple. And we can lose it more easily than we realize.”

Bill: And as you said, Mark, when you take away that veneer – when that veneer gets thinner and thinner and people forget – Deuteronomy talks a lot about people forgetting – you get what happened with Stalin and the Kulaks. Do you want to recount some of that? Because I think … Marxism doesn’t work. Socialism doesn’t work. It’s destructive and it creates revolution. It destroys capital – not only physical capital but it destroys intellectual capital as well. What happened in the Ukraine? Wasn’t that the bread basket of the world until the socialists got a hold of it?

Mark: And in order to establish their political control they had to kill millions and they destroyed the productivity of what had, for generations, been the bread basket of Europe. Russia was – my grandparents went through Russia on their way out of Armenia to this country. He said that comparing Russia and the United States, and this was in 1915 – he said that Russia was very similar to the United States, maybe 10 or 15 years behind the United States technologically. But then the Russian revolution, the communist revolution took over and they stagnated or even went backward. It’s hard to imagine what our world would be like if we had not had communism in Russia, if they had had freedom, if they had had free enterprise, if they had been able to develop themselves and their capital had been expended not on military or space programs but on productivity and technology. Where would China be if they had been able to advance without the spread of communism? Communism’s been one of the most destructive forces in modern history.

Bill: Would you consider – a lot of times, Mark, when I’m thinking about this, I look at it and I take – for one, I take and I try to encourage my family to take the curses and blessings in Deuteronomy 28, especially, very seriously. Do you think there’s any sense that we can consider the recent rise of socialist ideas a curse on the land?

Mark: Well, I think it all works. When you jump off of a cliff, God doesn’t have to point his finger down and say “you’re going to suffer for that.” It’s built into his creation. I think the economics of what the Communists did in Russia or China, the consequences were built into what they did. They destroyed their economy and they destroyed lives and they set their cultures back many, many years. I think a lot of what we’re seeing today is the consequences of, directly or indirectly, of what we have done. Because we are a socialist people too. It didn’t start with Obama. We’ve been a socialistic people for many years and progressively we are destroying our economy, we’re regulating our economy. It’s becoming more and more difficult for people to do the simplest things. We’re putting a stranglehold on people. Government can be one of the most destructive forces in the world and I think that’s really what we’re living through. We’re now living through what other cultures have lived through in the 20th Century with our government. I think one good thing about our current economic situation is – I think we’re approaching the end of this area of statism because the government is destroying their ability. They’ve been able to play with paper money for so long. Now that they’re destroying that paper money and they’re now much less ambitious than they were. They’re still talking big, but the fact is what they’re talking about and even Obamacare – they’re not going to be able to fund it. They’re going to have to renege on these promises. A lot of this is, at this point, now blowing smokescreens because the system is imploding on itself and they cannot fund what they’ve already promised and nobody seems to want to say that the emperor has no clothes.

Bill: You said it well, Mark. We’re going to take a little break. The emperor definitely has no clothes and not just the emperor of this administration but the emperor of socialistic thought in general, however that lends itself, right down to the average person on the street. As you said, Mark, we all have a little bit of that bent. We are talking today with Mark Rushdoony and we will be right back after this break.

[0:35:46 – 0:39:02 break]

Bill: We are back. It’s Bill Heid today, again talking with Mark Rushdoony about what man does to destroy his environment, what man does to mess with the land, the earth … and how socialism in general is destructive. Mark, your father – I wrote a quote down – your father said “socialism is really man’s developing the implications of the curse.” I wonder if you want to make a comment about that a little bit.

Mark: I think socialism is one aspect in which men rebel against God. Of course, I think the most obvious way it’s a rebellion against God is God says “thou shalt not steal,” and socialism is a form of theft orchestrated and enforced by government – the redistribution of wealth. When man sinned he rebelled against God. In man’s sin, man develops his tendencies along sinful lines. For instance, God told man to have dominion over the earth. Yet, an evil dominion is a terrible thing. There’s a godly dominion and there’s an evil dominion. If we’re following God’s rules for how we should treat one another, how we should conduct our families and our businesses, then that’s going to look very different than if we’re developing the implications of our sin and actually having an evil type of dominion. But statism – socialism – is a form of developing that sinful nature of man and really it’s an organized form of rebellion against God and God’s moral ethic – thou shalt not steal. As is, I would say, our fiat money. Paper money is a form of theft as well. It’s the same thing as counterfeiting. So there are any number of ways in which man exercises his sin through his power over others. This is one reason why the Puritans very much emphasized in early America and had influence on the Constitution that we have to limit government because man is a sinner. I believe it was Cotton Mather who said “give no more power to a man than you would have him use, because use it he will.” The problem with that is man is a sinner. That’s why man’s authority over other men needs to be limited.

Bill: Mark, that’s a brilliant – said brilliantly. Let’s talk about how sin and the land has affected the land where dominion takes that nasty turn that you were making mention of. Your family’s had a lot of go rounds with Turkey. Let’s talk a little bit about what the Turks did to the land. I remember reading a few places that the Turks started taxing trees. What were the unintended consequences when trees got taxed? This is something like our administration or the next administration that’s coming along would think about doing. They would say “we need money so we’re going to do ‘x’.” The Turks did that and Turks started taxing trees and – what happened Mark?

Mark: Well, obviously if you tax trees you’re basically – you tax what you don’t want because you discourage them, so people would cut down trees. It resulted in deforestation because people couldn’t afford to own the trees anymore. Another similar thing, if you look in sometimes in those very, very old communities of the Middle East you’ll see buildings with windows that are bricked up because at one time – sometimes they would tax windows, because obviously only the wealthy could afford windows. So windows were then bricked up. Rather than creating prosperity, it really just set people back. Because whatever people create really becomes a form of capital for the nation as a whole. This is, unfortunately, something that statists don’t really understand, that it’s good if my neighbor becomes wealthy, because that wealth has to be used in some way. He doesn’t really hide it under his mattress. He uses it and he invests it. Of course this is the nature of free enterprise. It’s good that people make a profit. They need to do it honestly but it’s good that people make a profit and government never sees that.

Bill: And Marx especially didn’t see that, did he? Marx thought that when your neighbor made some money that that’s money that somehow you couldn’t make. That’s the – what Gary North called the Age of Envy or the idea of envy being involved in politics. It’s very much the case today. It’s going to grow. There’s going to be more envy, more jealousy with respect to who has what. Boy, anything that you don’t have tied down is probably going to be taken to you in the next few years. But Mark, let’s turn a little bit – we’ve got a few minutes left – I wanted to touch on the laws of diverse kinds because, again, that’s something that your dad has written about and I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of not mingling kinds. Today we’ve got milk cows that – your dad didn’t live to see this – but we’ve got milk cows that are delivering, ostensibly, human milk. That has to be an abomination on some level, in God’s eyes.

Mark: The law of diverse kinds forbid basically what we would call sterile hybrids. It wasn’t against developing a particular animal or plant to its best characteristics, but was mixing things until they were actually sterile. It also involved mingling and growing more than one crop in a field. God doesn’t always give us the reasons why – for some of his laws. It’s sometimes dangerous to speculate. But I think part of the lesson that we learned of that is that we’re not to be abusive of the land. We’re not trying to maximize what we can take out of the land. For conservation of the land and respect for the land and really development of the land so it can become more productive is something that we need to think about.

Bill: Mark, let me stop you right there because I want you to develop something else while you’re on that point. What happens when we go into debt to buy land? We become existentialists and we don’t think about that multi-generational idea of land being passed down through the family for years. If you borrow money and you needed to make payments, you’re going to treat the land – that banker’s an existentialist too – he needs that monthly payment. You’re going to do things to the land that you wouldn’t do if you knew your great grandson was going to be inheriting that. Is that not correct?

Mark: I think that’s true of debt in general. Debt always gives us this immediate need for cash because we have to make payments. There’s always a past-bound aspect of what we’re doing whenever we’re in debt. The scripture spoke very negatively of debt. In fact, debt was limited to six years and in the seventh year the debt was to be cancelled, which means if you were coming up on the Sabbath year when debts would be cancelled and it was only a couple of years away, you’d be rather careful about how much you loaned to somebody. It required that people be very provident. It meant that you operated on capital and you sought to accumulate capital. Of course, one of the unfortunate aspects of debt that we’ve seen is that real estate became a guaranteed way of beating inflation. So between our debt-based money – fiat money – and our going into debt to try to beat inflation, it became a vicious cycle. So people think “I have to go into debt because this is the only way I can beat this vicious inflation cycle,” until that debt became such a bubble it burst and now it’s not likely to come back any time soon as another bubble. We create all these scenarios through our own rebellion against God. The limitation on debt alone would have given people a very, very different attitude towards land. And it would have created a very different situation in the economy. Remember, we’re supposed to be a capitalist economy. A capitalist economy – according to the textbooks – is something based upon savings. In reality, what we’ve become is a very debt-oriented. We’re now talking about raising the debt limit because we have to keep pumping more money into the economy to keep it going because they’re even admitting “if we start pumping new money into the economy to keep it going, the whole thing will fall apart.” It’s a very artificial economy that we’ve created because we’ve been rebelling against God in one area after another. We’ve created a vicious cycle. And everybody’s afraid to try to fix it because they know the consequences are going to be so drastic.

Bill: Mark, we’re running out of time. Before we go, I sat down – just in reading “Systematic Theology,” which by the way is available by RJ Rushdoony on chalcedon.edu – it’s a great book to read for some practical ideas about how do we get back. But Mark, I sketched a couple of things out really quickly and we’ve only got a couple of minutes. I thought – we’ve always got to give some practical advice on what do we do. We’re talking about not mingling plants, so we’re saying basically hybrids – sterile hybrids – are a bad idea and getting back to what we think God would honor. Resting the land one year in seven has some amazing microbial aspects to it. Do you want to comment quickly on that before we close it out?

Mark: I’m not really a farmer so I can’t speak with any expertise on that, but the idea is that you’re resting the land and you’re actually allowing the land to regenerate. The idea of cover crops and such that would – actually meant to restore the land and improve the soil and its fertility is very much in view there. It’s creating productivity in the land and respecting the land long term.

Bill: I think that there’s some degree – you know, I’ve played around with some of that myself. I’m not a farmer in the sense of being a farmer, I’m a gardener, and I think there’s some amazing things that happen there. I also know that, with respect to the mingling of vegetable seeds in crops – I think your dad has made comments before about planting tomatoes in vineyards – tomatoes are nitrogen hogs so if you plant tomatoes by anything, they’re going to grab everything that’s in the soil and take it out. I think there’s a lot of wisdom to this. I think we need to get back and pay some attention to just what the Bible does say about how we’re supposed to treat the land. Mark, do you have any final comments before we close here down today?

Mark: Here in California – regarding what you said – I read an article a couple of years ago on how grapevines have become much healthier and much stronger over a period of time if you wait until at least three years out before you pick the fruit. In scripture you’re actually supposed to wait before you pick the fruit and there’s a real temptation to pick the fruit early but it actually decreases the vitality of the vines and their overall healthiness. So there are many ways that we don’t even understand how obeying God actually has benefits. But if God is the creator of the world and he commands us to do certain things, I think we do well to obey and try to figure out some of the scientific reasons why later.

Bill: There’s a lot of work that needs to be done yet, Mark. Mark, I want to say thank you for joining us. The Bible is full of great information with respect to how to treat your family, how to treat your church, how to treat your land. Basically, it’s something we need to get back going again. You can find more information, again, about what Mark’s doing and Mark’s doing great work over at Chalcedon.edu. That’s chalcedon.edu. Thanks again, Mark, for joining us.

Mark: Thank you, Bill.

[0:52:29]