Zeitschrift Für Evangelische Ethik 52 (2):104-118 (2008)

This paper seeks to distil the underlying tensions between naturalness and artificiality in the field of agriculture. In this context, the concept of naturalness is often understood and employed in a normative sense. Yet while biotechnological agriculture is often seen as artificial and organic farming is perceived as natural, both practices can lead to ethically questionable consequences: naturalness is not in itself morally good. Instead, agricultural use should be judged according to the extent to which the spatiotemporal order of nature is disturbed in ways beneficial to mankind. In order to establish sustainable agriculture as a desirable goal in this sense, one may refer to God’s biblical instruction in the Book of Genesis: God, who determines the framework for the use of nature created by Him, did not give the reign of the earth into the hands of man so that he may subdue by exploiting it, but in order for him to preserve and guard it.
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DOI 10.14315/zee-2008-0205
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