Everybody agrees that taking care of the planet is vital, however the “Gaia” exhibition touring UK church buildings crosses a line into pagan idolatry.
I’ve by no means met a Christian who objects to the concept that a part of our duty below God is to take care of the earth he created as God’s undermanagers (Genesis 1:28). Though express biblical assist for the significance of taking care of the non-human elements of God’s creation is slight (e.g. Genesis 2:15; Leviticus 25:2-5) in contrast with how we’re to deal with human beings made in God’s picture (e.g. Genesis 6:9; Exodus 23:7; Proverbs 6:17; James 5:6), it chimes with the biblical ideas of humility, gratitude, knowledge, and consideration of others that we must always steward the earth with moderation and selflessness.
However a lot of the spirit and messaging of the “Local weather Emergency” narrative that we at the moment are listening to from many quarters – together with the Church – may be very totally different from this biblical thought of stewardship, and we’re in peril of being swept right into a deeply unchristian mind-set and residing if we do not understand what’s pagan and resolve to face towards it.
Christians want to grasp that most of the frequent components of this narrative are in actual fact incompatible with biblical Christianity and are dangerous.
Within the case of the “Gaia” exhibition at the moment being hosted in St Peter Mancroft church, what we’re speaking about is nothing wanting pagan earth-worship.
“Gaia”, named after the Greek mother-of-all goddess of the earth, options a big globe hanging within the air and “provides us the chance to expertise the fragility of our planet in a brand new gentle”.
Permit me to spell out why that is something however innocuous:
1) “Gaia” is not only a random identify
It is vital to not quarrel about phrases (2 Timothy 2:14). The names of our days of the week have pagan roots (Thor, Saturn…). However what we’re speaking about right here is way over mere etymology.
The artist Luke Jerram consciously and intentionally selected this identify due to the id of the Greek goddess, and she or he was referenced uncritically in a speech made in St Peter Mancroft by the Lord Mayor on the exhibition’s opening: the set up “named after the Mom of All in Greek Mythology hung within the church ‘like a mom patiently ready'”.
The idol can also be talked about in among the textual content accompanying the exhibition contained in the church constructing.
The constellation of the pagan identify, the personification of the earth, the sense that our survival is determined by it (see under), the willingness to take drastic sacrificial motion to maintain it completely satisfied – along with the abandonment, even denial, of key biblical views (see under) – all begins to look so much like pagan earth-worship.
Certainly, if this is not sufficient for it to qualify as idolatry, what would be?
On the very least we’ve got to see that that is misguided, complicated, unhelpful.
Can we think about Paul bringing a statue of Artemis (a virgin goddess) right into a first-century Christian assembly to show about chastity??
2) The earth is being considered from a God-less perspective
The exhibition portrays our “planet house” as “fragile” and alone, “hanging in a void”, and insists that it’s as much as us to alter its future via drastic motion to make sure its survival and ours.
Notable for his or her absence are the next biblical truths:
i) Removed from being alone in a void, “the earth is the Lord’s” (Psalm 24:1) and he sustains it “by his highly effective phrase” (Hebrews 1:3). “He is bought the entire world in his palms,” because the outdated African-American non secular goes. While in fact this does not imply that it would not matter how we steward the earth, it does imply that its future is just not in our palms. There’s a huge distinction between the biblical idea of obedience to a loving God, trusting him with the longer term, and the pagan idea of attempting to control nature via human exercise to manage future outcomes. Gaia falls very a lot into the latter class.
ii) We all know that earth will likely be destroyed when God decides (2 Peter 3:10), so the thought of constructing its indefinite survival in any respect prices a prime precedence for the Church is misguided. (Once more, not an excuse for wanton abuse of the earth.) Our prime precedence certainly must be to arrange individuals for what occurs after the inevitable destruction of the earth or of their earthly our bodies – whichever comes first.
iii) While our “planet house” has its significance, there may be nothing right here concerning the everlasting house (John 14:3) that Jesus has gone forward to arrange for many who put their belief in him, nor concerning the “eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46) that awaits those that reject Christ, after this transient “planet house” life is over. Granted that this earth is in a way “fragile”: why not use this as a possibility to level individuals to a hope that’s actually safe?
iv) Gaia presents no biblical interpretation of why “the entire creation has been groaning…proper as much as the current time” (Romans 8:22). Biblically, it’s clear that it’s as a result of human beings, from Genesis 3, have sinned towards God, worshipping created issues. However the Gaia exhibition would have it that we’ve got merely mistreated Mom Earth immediately, nothing extra. There isn’t a point out of sinning towards a holy God.
v) Consequently, there isn’t any name for biblical repentance “from idols to serve the residing and true God, and to attend for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the useless – Jesus, who rescues us from the approaching wrath” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). Satirically, in making an attempt to deal with one of many signs (earth pains) in isolation, Gaia truly aggravates the foundation trigger (self-reliance and God-forsaking idol-worship), and this may increasingly nicely end in even worse signs!
3) We’re merely following the methods of the nations
To declare the local weather an “emergency” and “the defining problem of our time and the best menace to our well-being, globally and regionally” is to observe the zeitgeist, not the Bible or the information.
How can it’s maintained that local weather change (predicted by the World Well being Organisation to trigger a further 250,000 deaths per 12 months between 2030 and 2050) poses a better menace than the worldwide child genocide (already taking 73 million lives a 12 months, in line with the identical World Well being Organisation)? And the way can it’s argued biblically that 2°C grieves the guts of God greater than mass scale little one sacrifice?
Prioritising local weather change above points similar to “abortion” – or deeper points similar to idolatry – betrays the extent to which the Church has adopted the methods (and invisible gods) of our tradition, reasonably than taking the lead; has grow to be a thermometer reasonably than a thermostat.
“…they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshipped their idols, which turned a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods. They shed harmless blood, the blood of their little kids, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood…
Subsequently the Lord was indignant along with his individuals and abhorred his inheritance…”
We can’t “save the planet”. We can’t even save ourselves.
However by God’s grace we may be saved, via Jesus – if we repent of nugatory idols and put our belief in him.
Dave Brennan is director of Brephos, the place this article was first published.