Leadership: Paradise from the Beginning

“God looked at the light and saw that it was good. He separated light from darkness.”
Genesis 1:4

Let’s review leadership in agrarian society. In Genesis 1:28, God instructs his first manager, Adam, to have “dominion over the Earth.” God further instructs Adam on his agrarian duties in Genesis 2:15 to “dress and keep it.” However, it appears this agrarian lifestyle was not enough. Adam’s failure to comply with senior instruction received a negative reward (Genesis 3:19).

Let’s explore this biblical path. Before the Industrial Revolution, life centered on land and labor. God gave man his divine “agrarian calling.” Transitioning from an agrarian to an industrial society, leaders lacked a process to motivate this unskilled, agrarian workforce. This created new advances and new problems. During the American Revolution, over 90% of Americans lived rurally. In the 1800s, farmers were considered heroes because of their values such as hard work and independence. Farmers influenced society. Between 1870 and1900, rural areas doubled and urban areas tripled. Farmers were cautious about these changes.

Industrial managers faced challenges such as generating new efficiencies while expanding operations. Chaos theory was in effect because those managers couldn’t control these organizational changes (both inside and outside). Industrial Revolution changed agrarian society, primarily due to market economy and technology. Farmers were less self-sufficient and became “economic market” slaves. This created conflict because farmers and industrial society had different values. Farming became more productive, but fewer farmers were needed. As a result of these advances, farmers lost their independence, family focus, and societal influence on moral conduct. For example, some managers found workers breaking equipment. Leaders, however, instituted positive and negative rewards because conventional wisdom said the hungriest man made the best worker. Once again, mankind was moving away from his calling—the land.

Today, we consider agrarian lifestyle primitive. Agrarian values shouldn’t be forgotten, however. Biblically, we can see impending danger in being too technology- and wealth-focused. Romans 8:6 reads, “…to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life….” Do you feel the more we depend on technology, the further we drift from godly values? In society, many leaders exhibit unethical conduct, pursuing wealth. Through agrarian history, we see the consequences.

Therefore, the farther that humanity moves away from its agrarian calling (viz., information-gathering, technology-focused), the harder it will be to lead him. Leaders can draw leadership attributes from the agrarian lifestyle to become more effective. Start today!


Dandom, D. (1995). Born in the Country. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Designshare.com. (2006). Changing Patterns in Educational Facilities: Agricultural Society (1650-1849). Received on February 2, 2006 from http://www.designshare.com/Research/ChangingPatterns/ChangingPatterns2.htm

Draft, R. (1995). Organizational Theory and Design. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company.

Hayter, E. (1968). The Troubled Farmer. United States of America: North Illinois University Press.

Horwitz, E. (1980). On the Land. New York, NY: A Margaret K. McElderry Book.

Wren, D. (2005). The Evolution of Management Thought. Hooboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green