Summary: Is our culture today worshiping "Mother Nature" instead of the Creator? Jesus went out into God's Creation to hear from God, to pray, to be refreshed and recharged for ministry. Shouldn't we be doing the same?
One hundred years before the birth of Jesus a Roman Philosopher, Cicero, wrote, “Nature herself makes the wise man rich.” The poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “Nature never hurries. Atom by atom, little by little she achieves her work.” Antoinette Brown Blackwell wrote “Nature is just enough; but men and women must understand and accept her suggestions.” A well known writer of children’s books, E.B. White, said, “I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spend less time proving that he could outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.” Jane Goodall, the chimpanzee lady, said, “My mission is to create a world where we can live in harmony with nature.”
Nature is defined as our natural world – our environment. The material world that exists independent of human activities. Nature is the physical earth and the plants, animals, sky, trees, mountains, rivers, the oceans. As I read those quotes you may have noticed that Number one: We all love nature. Number two: Nature is referred to as a “her” or a “she”. Why is that?
From the very earliest of time, people focused on the life-giving and nurturing aspects of nature by embodying it in the form of a mother. Images of earth goddesses were worshiped by pagan cultures from the very beginning. These female deities had deep roots in pagan beliefs and were worshiped for their ability to bring abundant harvests to the land.
Every culture worshiped the earth goddesses and 1,300 years BEFORE the birth of Jesus we find the first written reference in Greek to the goddess “Mother Gaia” or mother earth. This is where we get the terms “Mother Nature” or “Mother Earth” that we use today and since I’m a Christian, I’m wondering if I really want to continue to do that. When we lovingly refer to “Mother Nature” we are referring to a specific pagan deity who has been worshiped for the past 4000 years. Mother Galia – who we call Mother Nature – is the main pagan goddess worshiped by the wiccians.
During the enlightenment, a new and rational mindset centered not on mythical beliefs of pagan deities but on reason and logic. And logic told them that if they could not understand God, then they couldn’t accept that nature was created by Him. So to make sense of the material world, they separated out nature from anything that had to do with God. And they continued the tradition of feminizing it as did the early cultures. So today the humanistic mindset teaches us to appreciate the beauty of a godless environment that we call “nature”. And the devil must delight in the fact that we have continued to attribute God’s Creation to the pagan goddess that we call “Mother Nature.”
If you were to do an on-line search for quotes on nature, you’ll find thousands. It is apparent from reading them that we love nature. We worship nature. Famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright said, “I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.” And I think the church response would be that, “We believe in Nature, only we spell it G.o.d.”
That’s why I’ve decided that for myself personally I no longer want to have anything to do with nature. The world can admire and appreciate nature. I want to admire and appreciate God’s Creation. THAT’S where I want to walk, work and play.
And some of us need to step outside more often than we do. And walking across the lot from the car to the grocery store entrance doesn’t count. Some of us spend too much time indoors. A recent survey of school age children in America showed that the majority of their time away from school is spent using a computer, watching TV, or playing video games. In the survey only about 10 percent say they are spending time outdoors every day. Did you get that? Only about 10 percent of our nation’s children are spending time outdoors every day. For 90 percent, the closest thing they will come to appreciating God’s Creation is a photograph on their computer or something on tv. When asked why they didn’t want to go outside, 80% of the school age children said it was uncomfortable to be outdoors due to things like bugs and heat.
Many adults are no different. I was reading book written by a pastor who watches a Nature DVD called “Sunrise Earth” on his laptop as he prays in the morning. I guess that could work. I’ve known people who turn on their tv in the morning to channels that show nature scenes while they pray. You COULD do that. Or... here’s a thought... if you are physically able, you could open the door and actually step OUTSIDE into God’s Creation.