Theology of nature

Some theological thoughts on nature for what they're worth...

I quite like the imagery of 'mother nature'. Seriously. There's a certain feminine spiritual energy to nature that seems... right.

I also think that, when you make nature into a god(dess), it can be problematic.

When I see nature as my god, it can seem indestructible. This can be great if I have respect for this goddess. But then again, I can easily slip into thinking that this goddess can take whatever we give her. Which is not accurate.

In my particular faith tradition, we see nature as a sibling. A fragile creature just like we are. We are amazed by nature’s beauty, but we don’t see it as... god (or goddess). This is not to say that we see God as a male and nature as a subservient female under ‘his’ power. No. We’re anthropomorphizing things way too much there.

God (not God-as-deity, but God-as-trinitarian-relationship like Jesus revealed) created (yes, evolution can be a means that the trinitarian God uses to create) the natural world (birds, trees, lakes, mountains, dirt, etc.) and humans along with it.

Nature and humanity are part of a sacred kinship. We are interdependent of each other.

The Bible does not give humans the go-ahead to dominate nature. Rather, it says that we are given ‘dominion’ (Gen 1:28) over nature. This means that we are designed to be good stewards of nature. God calls us to take care of nature. This is what good siblings do.

Nature is not our god. Yes, nature is beautiful. Spectacular. But it’s also brutal. Anyone who has been in the wake of a hurricane or who has had their home burned by forest fire knows this. Thank God that nature is not my god. If I’m swept away in a riptide, I won’t pray to nature to save me. I’ll pray to God to save me from nature.

It works the other way too. We’re brutish creatures who’ve abused the land
for a very
long
time.

We are not nature’s god.
Nature is not our god.
We are both
in an interdependent trinitarian relationship
of self-giving love.

This is where we find God.