Genesis 1.28: And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Lately, I have been increasingly keen about adopting a more agrarian life. And this verse, which is usually used as a proof-text for having lots and lots of children, actually confirms that in my mind.

How? Because you are not subduing anything from within a concrete jungle. If anything, you have only subdued yourself by separating from creation — a piece of earth may be conquered with a patch of asphalt, but there is no dominion being exercised in infertile ground.

Even though I disagree with loads of their theology, that’s why I appreciate what folks at the intentional community The Simple Way in Philadelphia, Pa., do when they grow rooftop vegetable gardens and — in the greatest reverse irony of man subduing himself — flower beds in old televisions.

Personally, I have tried to start an herb garden this year. So far I have only tilled up the soil in a small patch of ground and transplanted some dill from a nearby garden, but I hope to do more in the coming week. (The dill was quickly eaten down to its base by the peacocks who share our yard, so I’m going to have to put up some kind of fence before I put any more plants in the ground.)

Until then, I borrow the words of Folliot Pierpoint:

For the beauty of the earth

For the glory of the skies,

For the love which from our birth

Over and around us lies.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,

This our hymn of grateful praise.

For each perfect gift of Thine,

To our race so freely given,

Graces human and divine,

Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,

This our hymn of grateful praise.

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