The original question was:
With so much talk about Mother Nature and Mother Earth these days, what is a Christian view of the earth?
Answer by Peter Geyer
It’s easy for us to adopt the language the world uses when we come to speak about environmental matters today, but we should resist the temptation to do so. Nowhere in the Bible will you find the earth referred to as our mother! Jesus taught us that we relate to the God who created both us and the universe in which we live, as our Father, and our Father in heaven certainly didn’t need a wife in order to bring all things into existence. God alone is our Father, and the earth we live on certainly isn’t our mother!
The fact that people speak of ‘mother earth’ and ‘mother nature’ panders to the evolutionary idea that everything originated by natural processes from the earth over billions of years. This thinking has been popularized in recent times by the Gaia hypothesis which notes the connectedness and inter-dependence of all living organisms with their environment. The idea is that all organisms and their inorganic surroundings are so closely integrated as to form a single self-regulating complex system that maintains life on earth. Also, the idea of ‘mother nature’, comes from pagan belief that the earth itself is a god. Perhaps you remember the film Avatar, where all life on the planet was an expression of the goddess Eywa. According to the film, all life came from Eywa and returned to Eywa, and continues on in a spiritual realm.
As Christians, we know that the earth is as much a creation of God as we are ourselves. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness therefore” (Psalm 24:1), and it was intended for man’s use to God’s glory. Genesis 1:26 states that God gave mankind dominion over the earth. That doesn’t mean the right to exploit and pollute the earth, but to exercise the same caring dominion over the earth that parents have over their children. Genesis 2:15 shows how Adam exercised this dominion in the Garden of Eden, “…to work it and take care of it”.
The earth is God’s gift to human beings. The wonders, beauties, and intricacies of creation declare the qualities of God who put a little of himself into his creation (Romans 1:20). “The heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech” (Psalm 19:1). But the basic point is a simple one; the earth is God’s creation, much like the Mona Lisa is the creation of Leonardo DaVinci. It has no personality as to be referred to as our mother, sister, brother or any other such thing. The earth provides food and resources for us much the same way as a cow provides us with milk, and a sheep with meat, and we would hardly refer to a cow as our mother, or a sheep as our sister! The evolutionist may wish to claim the pig as his cousin, but the Christian knows that man alone was created in the image of God unique and unrelated to any other creature.
Even speaking of the creation as ‘the realm of nature’ and ‘the natural environment’, can be misleading. There’s no such thing as ‘the natural environment’, since we know that nothing came about by itself ‘naturally’, but that everything was the special and intentional creation of God. Perhaps in place of using terms like ‘the natural environment’ and ‘the realm of nature’, it might be more appropriate for Christians to refer to the earth and all that is in it simply as God’s creation. It’s too easy to adopt secular terms when we could use language that witnesses to Christ as Creator.
Enjoy the creation and give praise to God and God alone!
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