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The Terrain Is Everything | Soil, Soul, Spirit, & Body
When We Finally "Get It"
“The terrain is everything”, a quote from Robert Koch, who promoted the germ theory early in his career, but later admitted that the terrain theory was more likely. The terrain is everything—he was right. But by that point, it was too late. Science had already embraced the inaccurate science that he had projected into society. His germ theory caused us to attack and kill bacteria, instead of learning to work with it. And this is why, today, we have super bugs and resistant bacteria in humans and livestock.
But “the terrain” really is everything, in every way.
As I learn more about the livestock that I have, my garden, and my pasture health…the terrain starts with literally, the terrain. The soil (or lack thereof) that you walk on everyday. As an herbalist I did not fully understand or appreciate the terrain until I dove more into gardening and livestock.
Koch referred to the human body as the “terrain”, and it is. But the body terrain begins even long before the bacteria enters the body. What is the terrain of your soil, or the soil where your meat and produce are grown? What is the terrain of your pastures? Are they deficient in vitamins and minerals? Are they full of toxic fertilizers?
An example—modern fertilizers inhibit copper in the soil. Copper deficiency causes Johne’s disease in livestock. Do you see where the terrain of food is just as important (or even more important) as the terrain of the animal’s body? How much more important is it to the human body?
Did you know that Crohn’s disease is the human equivalent of Johne’s disease in livestock? The produce and meat you eat are important, whether you grow it yourself or buy it. It’s about the terrain—soil, pasture, body (human and livestock). It’s always been about the terrain. It’s time that science recognizes this, and farmers and Christians, too.
Sit down with a nice cup of coffee or tea…this is going to be a long one.
Let’s go over the terrains of the earth, food and humans, and the spirit and soul.
The Terrain of the Earth—Good Stewards
When we consider how old (and how young) the earth is, we realize just how much damage we’ve done to it. As a Christian, I know the earth is more towards the age of 8,000 years old, rather than billions of years old. We look at the timeline of creation, true science, and the understanding of how the environment works. You understand this more when you’re in nature everyday.
Soil health, however, wasn’t something big on my radar until I became a homesteader. And really, not until I had a property that was great, but not as great as it could be.
Yet, it should be a top priority as a steward of the earth. We forget this, as Christians, that we were called to be good stewards in every way—the earth, our bodies, and our spirit and soul. We’ll get to more of that last part in a second.
God created nature to work together. Bacteria, in general, aren’t bad. But when we begin trying to kill all of the bacteria, without rhyme or reason, things tend to get out of sorts. Likewise, when we rape the land of minerals, production, and cover, we find that the soil becomes undesirable.
Man has always gotten it wrong since at least the 1800s. We think the earth will do better with our synthetic creations than by the intentional, purposeful work that creation is already doing.
But that’s how it goes—we’ve always thought we knew better than God. Isn’t that, after all, what got Lucifer kicked out of the most beautiful place you could imagine?
It’s time for homesteaders and farmers to get back to stewarding their land well, no matter what that land currently looks like. Live on a 1/4-acre? Great, you can steward it well. Live on 1,000-acres? Likewise, you can steward it well. Mid-west or east coast, Australia or Puerto-Rico…it doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that how you steward may not look the same way someone else stewards. That’s the interesting (and beautiful) thing about creation—every location is different.
“Some of the finest pasture country in the world was and still is to be found in Virginia.”
How We’re Stewarding Our Soil
For us, stewarding this land looks like adding more animal and organic matter to the property, starting with chickens. It is commonly said that cows and ruminants are the quickest way to build up soil, but I believe that it’s more manageable for a small homestead to use chickens and turkeys in moveable tractors.
Placing chickens and turkeys in a chicken tractor, and moving those tractors along your property twice a day, puts immediate nutrients back into the soil. Don’t tell the chickens, but I prefer turkey litter over chicken any day. The ground absorbs it better. Turkey’s forage better, creating a better excrement onto the ground. And it doesn’t smell quite as bad.
Birds in tractors also allow you to focus on certain areas of a property, which is what we’re doing right now. Farm birds don’t have as high of a demand as larger livestock, especially ruminants. So the ruminants get to graze and fertilize the better pasture/soil, and the farm birds get to graze and fertilize the pasture areas that need some care (such as moss, bare patches, unwanted grasses, etc.)
Within a week, the first patch the chickens started in will become green and fertile once again. In fact, you could place the chickens back on that spot within two weeks, and you’d never know there were chickens there just two weeks before. This continual movement of the soil environment creates a space of fertility much quicker than roaming ruminants.
The soil becomes healthy. The pasture becomes healthy. The animals eat what’s produced by the soil, therefore the animal becomes healthier. And so on—you’ve created and stewarded a modern day “Eden”. Well, as much as possible in a world full of chemicals and overspray, but I digress.
The Terrain of the Body—Food & Environment
Our bodies were created to work harmoniously in synchronized precision. The common man knows nothing about the human body. He knows that his body feels good some days and not so great other days. But as to why? Well, he has no idea.
This wasn’t always the case. It has only been the case in the last 120-years or so. There were still some families that lived in rural places that still believed they were smart enough to tend to their own health and not take quick handouts and shortcuts.
The human body was created in such a good way—crafted to work intricately whenever a need arises. Consider that your body is working in harmonious union and synchronization every millisecond, without you even thinking or knowing about it. Every system works together to maintain wholeness. Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. It brings a whole new meaning to “fearfully and wonderfully”, doesn’t it? Genesis 1:31 says, “then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” The beasts of the land and birds of the air, the herbs for food and healing, the man and woman for reproduction, stewardship, and companionship—it was all good. Not just one part of them, but all of them. And every single intricate part of each of those separate bodies.
The issue is unhealthy bodies. When we eat animals and plants that have grown in poor terrain. When we eat animals and plants that have been sprayed with synthetic fertilizer and pesticides. When we eat animals and plants that have been hybridized and are no longer scripturally sound. Looking at you, seedless produce.
The war on life has always been about seed. The corruptible seed. The incorruptible seed. Good seed, bad seed, or no seed at all.
“Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.’” [Genesis 1:29]
When It All Really Went Downhill…
The Industrial Revolution, which began in the 1700s, really killed the farming family. The family unit where husband and wife work side-by-side all day long. Where children are taught how to live a good life from their God-fearing parents because they’re with them constantly.
The Industrial Revolution took the man out of the home and off the farm, and left the woman to do “all the things”. I bet you didn’t know that historically, men were at home with women, but they had more outside work than inside work. Yet, it still wasn’t beyond them to cook, help clean, and preserve food.
Everyone had a common goal, and they worked towards that goal. They worked as a family unit.
The Industrial Revolution was when we decided that using machinery on a commercial scale was better than what we had. New technology flourished, and with it came consequences.
“The health industry and the farming industry always, always, go hand in hand.”
But everything really started going crazy in America during the late 1800s. The health industry and farm industry suddenly had new “discoveries” and methods that were created. The health industry and the farming industry always, always, go hand in hand. They are literally in business together. Don’t believe me? Consider this…
In the 1860s, pasteurization was created, and by the 1880s, it was becoming more widespread.
In the 1880s, Koch created his postulates for bacteria, and then tried to apply it to prove “viruses” existed. The war on bacteria officially began, even though bacteria really aren’t the culprit.
In the 1880s, synthetic fertilizer was created, and the marketing campaigns began. Apparently natural, free fertilizer from farming wasn’t good enough.
Thirty years later, people really started seeing the issues of these things in the early 1900s because they were getting sick more frequently. Enter stage-left, the creation of antibiotics in the 1930s. Then it really, really goes downhill.
These are just a few examples, but why are they so important and poignant?
For starters, Koch’s postulates made it so that viruses could be assumed real but never could really prove their existence. Because his postulates were created to prove bacteria existed (which they do, in the Bible), but not that viruses exist (which they don’t, in the Bible).
Synthetic fertilizer causes cancer, not just killing the wildlife, but the people who eat the produce from its terrain.
But then, the food…
Pasteurization was created by Louis Pasteur because a few people got a stomach ache, and one died, from drinking milk from an unclean farming situation. In fact, “listeria” is the cause of the illness, and the reason for pasteurization. Yet, most of the world was drinking raw milk without any issue. It was the norm. Yet here we are, outlawing raw milk, a super food.
Throughout America, many states have now made raw milk from dairy animals illegal. They state that the bacteria is the culprit, but is it? What is the basis? Not much. Certainly cows and other dairy animals can have the overproduction of the bacteria, Listeria, in their milk. Listeria is a zoonotic bacteria that can be passed to humans. But the reality is that the presence of listeria in raw milk in the 1800s made a few people sick, and made some people who were already unhealthy, even more sick. So the governing authorities decided that listeria was a bad bacteria and must be eradicated.
Listeria, in fact, is the hero in most cases. Whenever listeria is present in the raw milk of a dairy animal, it typically means that the animal has come into contact with something toxic. Maybe they’ve eaten moldy feed or trash. In the 1800s, they discovered the farmers living in poverty were feeding them sawdust and cardboard.
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The listeria bacteria, already present in the body, then attacks the toxin to break it down and get rid of it. This means that the listeria bacteria must replicate to efficiently eradicate the toxin from the body. The bacteria then must be excreted somehow, and the most efficient way for the body to get rid of the extra bacteria is through the excretion of feces and milk (if the animal is currently in milk).
It’s the same concept for nursing mothers. If a nursing mother came into contact with a toxin, the bacteria in her body would attack and break down that toxin, and then excrete it through her breast milk. Yet, we aren’t pulling babies from mothers when they get sick or eat an unhealthy chemical filled burger from a big-named fast food restaurant.
The issue now is not that a healthy person drinks raw milk with an overproduction of listeria in the milk and may have a slightly upset stomach (worse case for a healthy person). The issue is when an unhealthy person, or an unhealthy pregnant woman or elderly person, drinks the milk. They can then have symptoms like fever, severe stomach cramping and diarrhea, stiff neck, convulsions, and even death (very rare).
Listeria isn’t just present in raw milk, though, which is why it has never made much sense as to why raw milk is illegal in so many states. This is why you should question everyone when it comes to food and health freedom—they go hand-in-hand. Generally, raw milk is a powerhouse food product. In fact, the Bible refers to the promised land as the land flowing with milk and honey over and over again. Raw milk is packed full of vital nutrients, minerals, vitamins, fats, and protein. Studies have shown it can help the mucus membranes regenerate in the human body, and more.
Other products like deli meat, soft cheese, hot dogs, raw or smoked fish, raw or processed fruits and vegetables, and even ice cream can have listeria present. Afterall, listeria is a bacteria that can grow anywhere, because bacteria don’t need a host, and their main job is to “break down” things.
Bacteria are not always bad, in fact, they are most often good, unless they have become hybridized or adulterated, like modern antibiotic resistant bacteria. Antimicrobial resistance happens when bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the pharmaceuticals (antibiotics) that are designed to kill them. You see, they are extremely intelligent creations, those bacteria. They were created to break down things that don’t “belong”, such as decaying bodies of animals and humans, and all of the cells in the body that are unnecessary or poisoned. This is why God called them “good”.
When we learn how to work with bacteria, why we have bacteria, and how to help bacteria, we have an extreme “ah-ha” moment. Of course, there are moments when bacteria overload happens in the body and we need to bring it back into balance.
The terrain of the animal is just as important as the terrain of the human. The environment in which the animal and the human are living is just as important. We can see clearly through this example that the terrain, in every way, is important.
The Terrain of the Spirit & Soul—Rebirth
It has taken me several days to even get to the point of writing this section of this post, because I knew it would be so heavy. I often tell my husband that whenever I pour myself into something or someone, once it’s all poured out, I feel the need to rejuvenate. And that means, getting in a quiet place, and being in the presence of God.
We’ve gone over the physical aspects of terrain, and they are extremely important. Remember, what happens in the physical is often happening in the spiritual.
But the spiritual aspect is probably the most important for the believer.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
For years I didn’t understand the way the spiritual aspect of the body was compartmentalized. You are a spirit (belongs to God), you have a soul (belongs to you), and you live in a body (returns to the earth). The Holy Spirit dwells within you. This is why our bodies are called a temple of the Lord, because our bodies literally mirror the Old Testament temple of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 say, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
The temple, as we know, was destroyed, because it is an earthly thing. But now, the earthly temple is the believer’s body. God is still with us, but now, within us. And He has set our bodies up, from the beginning of time, to be exactly this.
In order for us to understand the imagery and accuracy, let’s understand how the temple of the Lord was set up in the Old Testament.
The Gentile Court
This court was very generic. The gentile court was a place where anyone could come. It was a place frequented by the sick and poor who were looking for help and healing—Jew or Gentile. You could think of this as not even being a part of the temple, because it really wasn’t. It was the outside areas of the temple.
The Outer Court
The outer court (through the gates) were for the Jews, especially women. I say women because women were more commonly seen as unclean due to their monthly cycle.
This area was set up in a certain way, and sometimes allowed to have markets and exchanges. Much like the human body, this is a place where daily interaction can happen. It is a place of constant “busy”.
The human body is the equivalent of the gentile court and outer court. We have a state of external consciousness. What’s happening around us affects us physically. This is our most vulnerable place. Which means it’s the easiest place to attack.
The Inner Courts
The inner court is where the Jewish people waited for their sacrifices to be offered. Further into the inner court was where the offerings actually took place by the priests.
The inner courts are the equivalent of the human soul. It belongs to us. We make sacrifices here. We accept the ultimate Sacrifice here. Our soul is our personality, it’s who we are. Our soul has consciousness. It is the mediator between our spirit and our body. Our soul experiences and chooses things like emotions and decision making, but in connection with the body, because the body is a physical indicator.
Matthew 16:24-26 says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?’”
The Holy Places
These places were the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies. The Holy Place is were incense was burned and bread offered, and it was right outside of the Holy of Holies.
The Holy of Holies is where the Lord dwelled with the Ark of the Covenant.
The Holy Places are the equivalent of our spirit, and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. It is the place where we communicate with God. Where our spirit intercedes with His. Where He talks to us and comforts us.
John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Notice that when referring to God, we use a capital ‘S’. But when referring to our spirit, we use a lowercase ‘s’. We must worship Him in spirit and in truth. He is truth. He is Spirit. We are also spirit, and we know the truth. In fact, the Truth dwells within us.
John 3:5-6 says, “Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, “You must be born again.” The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’”
Romans 8:5-11 says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
The quickest breakdown is the following. Our spirit is where God dwells, and it belongs to Him. Our soul is where we dwell, and it belongs to us. This is where we fully decide to follow Him. Our body (flesh) is everything else. It is simply a vessel for the spirit and soul. But it is also where we experience life. It’s how we get around on this earth. This is why it’s easy to understand how we can come under spiritual and physical attack. Our body is literally the very first wall of defense to this temple we dwell within.
But also, how humiliating of us to know this about ourselves, and yet we still allow our flesh to rule so much of our lives?
Our body has gateways and entries in the spiritual realm. Guard your heart, guard your eyes, guard your mouth.
Matthew 6:22-23 says, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”
Genesis 4:7 says, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”
You can see how the terrain of spirit and soul are so essential. Because if these two things are not in sync with God, with the Holy Spirit, then everything else is completely out of place. We are vulnerable—spiritually and physically. In fact, we are destined for death, spiritually and physically, if our spirit does not belong to God. And if our soul does not rejoice and choose Him daily.
We cannot harbor unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred (including self-hatred), anger, impatience, harshness, and other sins within ourselves and expect our bodies to be healthy.
When we can begin to realize that what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, “everything in this world is meaningless”, is true, then we begin to get serious about all of it. Every terrain. But especially, the terrain of the human soul and spirit.
And when we become serious about the terrain of the human soul and spirit, we become serious about the terrain of the soil, the beasts of the field, the human body, and everything that sits in the outer courts.
Conveniently, however, when we get serious about the terrain of the soil, the beasts, the food, the body, and the outer courts…we begin to get serious about everything that sits in the holy places.