Why Christians Should Embrace the Term “Mother Earth”
In much of mainstream Christian culture, the term “Mother Earth” is often despised. It is seen as language reserved for New Age or secular world-views. Forgetting for the moment the problems with labeling and segmenting people at all (us vs. them), the reality is that “Mother Earth” is a very Scriptural concept. More than that, the label of “Mother Earth” is a great way to communicate the purpose and role of this planet is Our Father’s design for us.
The Scriptural View of Earth
The reason the term “mother” gets such a strong reaction is that it can appear to be placing Earth on the same level as God, who calls himself Our Father. This is, of course, absurd as the creation can never be on par with the Creator. However, that is not the purpose of using the term “mother” in describing Earth. The Scriptural view of Earth is that it is the incubator which both nourishes us, and struggles against us that we may grow and develop.
Painfully will you get your food from it as long as you live. It will yield you brambles and thistles, as you eat the produce of the land. By the sweat of your face will you earn your food…
” - Genesis 3:17b-19a (NJB)
We are well aware that the whole creation, until this time, has been groaning in labour pains. And not only that: we too, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we are groaning inside ourselves...
” - Romans 8:22-23a (NJB)
The Earth is Not “A Person” It is A Womb
Can you imaging the cruelty of man without the challenges of nature? Nature forces us to work together, it blesses us when we can work in unison, and it punishes us when we are separate. One farmer can barely feed his family from the harvest of his own toil, but a whole family working together can feed a town. A town working in unison can feed a region. So on and so forth. Such is way of all history. For each step of humanity healing from hate, fear, and fragmentation, so we all reap the benefits.
I am not saying we should embrace the idea that Earth is a deity, certainly not. But I am saying that using the term “Mother Earth” to paint a picture of our place here as a womb serves several purposes. First, it asserts the reality that the way things are is not the way they will always be. Second, it asserts the purpose God has for humanity to eventually grow up and become something greater than we are now.
Out of the Silent Planet
C.S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity, did a wonderful fiction series called the “Space Trilogy.” While fiction, those close to C.S. Lewis understood the concepts in the series accurately reflected his views of humanity and God’s plan for us. The idea being that humanity is cut off from a greater reality and larger universe because it just isn’t ready yet. In our current state, we would be like a cancer of hate and violence filling the Universe. (See: Ender’s Game)
Ready to Blow Your Mind? Check this out…
The story of the Tower of Babel is an often glossed over story as modern fundamental preachers have no idea what to do with it. Check out what God said about humanity before he gave us what we now call the “curse of Babel.”
‘So they are all a single people with a single language!’ said Yahweh. ‘This is only the start of their undertakings! Now nothing they plan to do will be beyond them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language there, so that they cannot understand one another
” - Genesis 11:6-7 (NJB)
There it is people, right there. We are the Children of God, created in His image, and when we work as one, nothing is impossible for us. Now, that may seem like a jerk move on God’s part, but I believe we can assured that we were not ready for such power. Genesis is full of God’s struggle with our cruelty and arrogance. However, now read this verse from Jesus which parallels it:
He answered, ‘Because you have so little faith. In truth I tell you, if your faith is the size of a mustard seed you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you.’
” - Matthew 17:20 (NJB)
When Humanity is Born, It’s Going to Be Awesome
Jesus replied: In all truth I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born through water and the Spirit; 6 what is born of human nature is human; what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be surprised when I say: You must be born from above.
” - John 3:5-7 (NJB)
You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled under people’s feet. ‘You are light for the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden.
” - Matthew 5:13-14 (NJB)
Earth has a role, a place, in our development, and so does the Church. Let’s just stop for a minute and imagine if everyone on the planet behaved toward each other as Jesus behaved toward us? Do you not think we would be capable of just about anything? Think about how much we have already done in medicine, aerospace, and education in the short time we have had growing civilization since Christ came.
Christians should not be the ones making the world feel like it is a doomed and hopeless cause. We should be the ones saying, “Hey, we can be better than this!” If we believe in the incarnate Christ, then we know how important humanity is to God, Our Father. Our job is to work to show the world what a “born” humanity looks like. Mother Earth is the womb in which God has placed us and, someday, we will come to term.
Now go "binge watch" Star Trek on Netflix...
I believe in humanity. We are an incredible species. We're still just a child creature, we're still being nasty to each other. And all children go through those phases. We're growing up, we're moving into adolescence now. When we grow up -- man, we're going to be something!