A tablespoon of soil contains more organisms than there are people on the planet. That’s over 6 billion for those who haven’t been counting. The amount of fungi in the top 4-6 inches of soil weighs up to 4,000 lbs per acre. That’s 2 tons of fungus!! There is a world under our feet that we ignore most of the time.
Compost and soil biology is something I’ve become fascinated with since living and learning at the farm. I still can’t quite wrap my mind around this invisible world underground, but just acknowledging it has opened up new worlds of thought.
As in most aspects of ecosystems and nature, there is an intricate dance of interconnectedness going on in the subterranean jungle. Fungi make nutrients accessible to plants that would otherwise be unavailable. Microorganisms eat organic matter and other organisms which makes nitrogen available to plants and retained in the soil.
Colossians 1:15-17 says, “[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers– all things have been created for him and by him. He himself is before all things and in him all things hold together.”
I don’t know that the parallel should be taken too literally. However, we are dependent on the unseen world of soil biology that provides life to the plants that give us food. In many ways the soil biology is what helps “all things hold together.” Just as the world underground is an interconnected web of relationships, we are part of that web. We are connected to living things both above and below ground, on land, in the air and in bodies of water.
I believe that the purpose of the gospel, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, is to restore the right relationship of people to each other and people to the earth. Understanding the microscopic universe thriving right underneath us is part of recognizing God’s purpose in the world and intention for creation.