How should Christians view nature?  Not the way many environmentalists do.  We are stewards of creation, nature is not our sovereign.  G.K Chesterton writes what a Christian’s perspective of nature should be:

The essence of all pantheism, evolutionism, and modern cosmic religion is really in this proposition: that Nature is our mother.  Unfortunately, if you regard Nature as a mother, you discover that she is a step-mother.  The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister.  We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father, but she as no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.  The gives to the typically Christian pleasure in this earth a strange touch of lightness that is almost frivolity.  Nature was a solemn mother to the worshippers of Isis and Cybele.  Nature was a solemn mother to Wordsworth or to Emerson.  But Nature is not solemn to Francis of Assisi or to George Herbert.  To St. Francis Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister: a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved, (Orthodoxy, pg. 168-169)

7 comments
  1. Wow, that’s a really great perspective! Truly, I’ve never thought of it that way, and I’m still a little perplexed at considering nature a “younger” sister. Even on the most literal reading of Genesis, nature is clearly older than man. However, the point hits home, a really great, profound quotation Shane! I am starting to like this Chesterton guy.
    .-= Guy Incognito´s last blog ..All The Best =-.

    1. @Guy Incognito, I’m thinking he uses the term “younger sister” because of our relationship with nature as being stewards of it, not vice versa… or perhaps because we are created in God’s image and nature is not.

      I could be totally wrong about that though :).

  2. I love Chesterton. He speaks what many of us know to be true with a profound eloquence and clarity. Orthodoxy is well worth the effort and deeply impacting each time I read it.

  3. I had never thought of nature in these terms before – but I find this explanation of the role of nature and how we should relate to it to be very accurate. After all, both we and the natural world have the same Maker.
    .-= Vanessa´s last blog ..Gleanings & Tidbits # 17 =-.

  4. Since I disagree with you so often, I think it is only fair to point out where I do agree with you, and this is certainly one of those times. Then again, this post is pretty much just a quotation from one of my literary heroes…

    Hopefully someday you’ll get a chance to read his works where he talks about why he converted to Catholicism. They’re in Volume 3 of the Collected Works published by Ignatius Press. Even if you’re not convinced by it, at least you’ll know why.

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