Permaculture is not a religious term and it has no religious connotation or affiliation. Yet, as I grow in my understanding of nature and all that it entails, I find it impossible to separate regenerative agriculture from my foundation of faith.
There are SO many spiritual lessons that can be gained from the natural world and learning how to correctly cooperate with the systems around us. Especially as springtime is wafting into the air and permeating the earth, I am more clearly aware of the way spring speaks of our Creator and Savior.
So far, this spring, we have started our garden seeds, our apple orchard/food forest , and our chicken coop. In completing the various tasks required to implement these new projects, I have found myself pausing in thoughtful contemplation. The childlike excitement I experience when, what started as a tiny seed emerges from the soil; or the story that grips my attention when a young twig-like apple tree blossoms, after a cold and harsh winter; or the way a brand new chick rests in my hand trusting an unknown heartbeat with its life; these are moments that speak of mystifying artistic design. There are miracles happening all around us.
Ellen White, one of my favorite authors from the 19th century, penned these words,
“Nature and revelation alike testify of God’s love. Our Father in heaven is the source of life, of wisdom, and of joy. Look at the wonderful and beautiful things of nature. Think of their marvelous adaptation to the needs and happiness, not only of man, but of all living creatures. The sunshine and the rain, that gladden and refresh the earth, the hills and seas and plains, all speak to us of the Creator’s love.” Ellen G. White
I identify with these thoughts, because I often stop to admire the sunset or the color of the changing seasons. I find expanding enjoyment in the variety of flowers and the assortment of different birds. These moments make me wonder if they are a result of random chance and basic survival, or if they were designed to provide some sort of joy, in their very existence. Sometimes, I look at my dog to see if he is relishing in the same natural beauty that I am, but he never is. I mean, he may sit and cuddle with me in the grass, and find satisfaction watching the squirrels, but I have no proof that he experiences or respects the intricacies of our natural world, like I do. Which leads me to realize, as far as I know, humans are the only species that can look at nature and consider its beginning, its meaning, and exceptional purpose. Now, I am not saying that other animals don’t appreciate nature. Cats love the sunshine, dolphins love the water, and many animals are content in their natural setting. However, we have no scientific or observable evidence that they have a mind to take in and contemplate the way a seed can bring forth life or the way a sunset casts various colors across the sky.
Albert Einstein once said, “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible”.
This is the magic I find in nature. It makes sense. We are capable of studying it, understanding it, and even manipulating it, for our good. If we look at the way nature is designed and follow the blueprint, we can have great success in nourishing ourselves, our communities, and the earth. I believe that this concept speaks to a Designer; a Creator. And it is this concept which disallows me the ability to sever permaculture from faith.
We may not have the same religious beliefs. You may not see the healing power of Christ in the way comfrey’s intensely strong root permeates the soil and helps other plants get nourishment. You may not see the Christian experience in a tiny tomato seed that needs water, sunlight, and healthy soil to produce great (seriously great) fruit. You may not see the love of the Father in a dark April thunderstorm that gives life to the vegetation around us. But I see God and His brilliance in all of these things and more! As this springtime season is expanding my fascination with my Creator and Father, I felt compelled to explain why God will always be a part of our permaculture journey.
So how can this idea add value to your life? Well, if you are a believer, then I urge you to consider and be aware of the way God is working in the natural world around you. Praise Him for His amazing work!
If you are not a believer, I am impressed by your consideration and for making it this far through this blog!! Those who sincerely hear the thoughts and beliefs of others, even when they don’t agree, are a special sort! I encourage you to keep that amazing teachable spirit and continue to seek truth.
“‘God is love’ is written upon every opening bud, upon every spire of springing grass. The lovely birds making the air vocal with their happy songs, the delicately tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air, the lofty trees of the forest with their rich foliage of living green — all testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God and to His desire to make His children happy.” -Ellen G. White
Happy spring to you!