From Genesis to Revelations, biblical verses talk about how creation is declaring the glory of God, singing choirs of praise. There is a spiritual connection to nature inherent to all humanity that is clearly acknowledged in the Bible.
But when we talk about loving nature, it sometimes makes religious fundamentalists nervous. They say, ‘That’s worshipping the Earth.’ They imagine a return to some kind of paganism. I believe that loving what God called good is really the heart of faithful and wise stewardship. God made a good Earth, and it’s worthy of our concern and our love. And our sacrifice, for that matter.
Fundamentalists should worry about consumerism and the love of money, because the Bible talks a lot about that. That’s the idol Western society pays homage to—way more than worshipping groves of trees.
Humanity is unique in its ability to impact nature. Some would say this is free will; some would say we were given dominion. But I would respond by saying the conundrum of Christianity is this concept of the strong serving the weak—and that we have power over nature, yet we are utterly dependent upon it. Therefore, we will suffer the consequences or reap the benefits of our stewardship and tenderheartedness.
The far right tends to behave as if the only life that matters is human life. There’s an alternative way to view nature, to see how we’re ultimately dependent upon the web of life. My favorite bumper sticker says, ‘If you love the Creator, take care of creation.’
—–Peter Illyn, executive director, Restoring Eden (www.restoringeden.org)