Nature worship can take on many forms; there's the everyday "beach-lover", or maybe your thing is watching National Geographic's live safari's and enjoying all of the unique animals there are in the wild, or maybe it's that walk in the park or forest each day that you helps you get "tuned back up".
Nature is definitely a blessing and is not at all wrong to admire and enjoy but many people
today have replaced the God of the Bible with nature and as the Bible
clearly states in Romans 1:20 - 25 (see below) this is idolatry. People in Old Testament times used to
carve idols of the animals they worshipped, but you don't have to bow down to an image to hold it in higher regard than Jesus Christ, it can happen on a subconscious level or maybe take over subtley and you don't even know you are worshipping nature.
(Please note: National Geographic will never talk about God, they always reference evolution, please see evolution page of my website to see how it plays into nature worship as well.)
Romans 1:20-25 - King James Version (KJV)
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Nature worship has it's roots in Paganism. A good definition of and overview of Paganism is: the ancestral religion of the whole of humanity. This ancient religious outlook remains active throughout much of the world today, both in complex civilizations such as Japan and India, and in less complex tribal societies world-wide. It was the outlook of the European religions of classical antiquity – Persia, Egypt, Greece and Rome – as well as of their “barbarian” neighbors on the northern fringes, and its European form is re-emerging into explicit awareness in the modern West as the articulation of urgent contemporary religious priorities.
The Pagan outlook can be seen as threefold. Its adherents venerate Nature and worship many deities, both goddesses and gods.
(This was taken from http://www.paganfederation.org/what-is-paganism/ which is a website fully enthralled with paganism so I don't recommend it other than to learn what they believe.)
all heard the term "Mother Earth" on nature shows or the
weather broadcast but do you know where that term comes from and what
it really means? Most don't and think it is harmless but let's
take a look at some information about Mother Earth:
This is from the website I don't recommend except it explains what pagans believe: http://www.paganfederation.org/what-is-paganism/ :
"The spirit of place is recognized in Pagan religion, whether as a personified natural feature such as a mountain, lake or spring, or as a fully articulated guardian divinity such as, for example, Athena, the goddess of Athens. The cycle of the natural year, with the different emphasis brought by its different seasons, is seen by most Pagans as a model of spiritual growth and renewal, and as a sequence marked by festivals which offer access to different divinities according to their affinity with different times of year. Many Pagans see the Earth itself as sacred: in ancient Greece the Earth was always offered the first libation of wine, although She had no priesthood and no temple."
Wikipedia has a few definitions that may shine more light on the "spiritual meaning of Mother Earth:
Gaia (mythology), the Greek goddess personifying the earth
Mother Earth, a Slavic deity
Mother goddess, counterpart of the Sky Father
Mother Nature, a common metaphorical expression for the Earth and its biosphere as the giver and sustainer of life
Parvati, the Hindu goddess personifying the earth or land
Terra (mythology), the Roman goddess personifying the earth or land
This is from a website I do not recommend either called Spiritlife.com but it will tell you how this seemingly innocent term leads into the New Age:
Mother Earth is the sentience or soul of our planet. A sentience is that which is conscious or aware of itself and its purpose. A sentience is more like an emotional response and less like an intellectual process. Gaia sentience (or Mother Earth) animates the planet, gives it purpose and makes life on Earth possible. Our past is deeply rooted in the earth and our future depends upon our ability to recreate a relationship with our sentient planet. We hope that you will accept Mother Earth's invitation to open your heart and change the world by honoring all moments with respect, partnership and peace.
I read a very good book called
Muddy Waters, An Insider's View of North American Spirituality by
Nanci Des Gerlaise which I bought on lighthousetrails.com.
"The most devastating thing about this earth-based (Mother Earth) spirituality is that it is the very antithesis of an earth or world fashioned, created, and spoken into existence by a loving Creator. Earth, a finite ball of dirt, gases and inert elements and minerals can never love us, nurture us, and redeem us. Yet God, the Creator of all things, can do all of these things for us and satisfy our souls, if we allow Him into our hearts."
Occasionally, modern Pagans, particularly in the United States, include aspects of Native American spirituality in their practice and belief. This is for a variety of reasons - some people are descended from the many tribes that are indigenous to North America, and so are paying homage to the beliefs of their ancestors. Others, with no discernible genetic link whatsoever, find themselves drawn to Native American beliefs simply because those practices and stories happen to resonate with them on a spiritual level.
It’s impossible to write a summary of Native American spirituality that encompasses all the aspects of the belief systems - after all, there were hundreds of tribes, from all over North America, and their beliefs and practices were as varied as they were. A tribe in a southeastern mountainous area had very different elements to their beliefs than, say, a tribe from the plains of South Dakota. Environment, climate, and the natural world around them all had an impact on how these beliefs evolved.
Native American religions often honor a vast array of deities. Some of these are creator gods, others are tricksters, deities of the hunt, and gods and goddesses of healing. The term “Great Spirit” is applied often in Native American spirituality, to refer to the concept of an all-encompassing power. Some Native tribes refer to this instead as the Great Mystery. In many tribes, this entity or power has a specific name.
There are a number of spirits that also take their place among the Native American belief systems. Animals, in particular, are known to have spirits that interact with mankind, often to guide people or offer their wisdom and other gifts.
In agreement with the author of Muddy Waters I want to post this story from something I watched on television. I was watching The Smithsonian channel one day when they were singing the praises of a "great man" who left behind "a great legacy". I cannot remember the man's name but I found the story interesting and think it's worth telling here. This great man, as a little boy was raised in a strict Christian home on the east coast of the United States. His home was so strict in fact that from the details they described I know it should've actually been termed "abusive". The boy's father was a hell and brimstone type Christian and he made the young boy memorize the whole Bible and recite it after dinner and he got into trouble if he didn't do it right. My opinion is that father was bound up in religion rather than being born again in Christ Jesus and that he will have to answer for God for what he did to his son because the Bible says in Matthew 18:6 (KJV) "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Well anyway, the boy's father destroyed any chance of the little boy learning about a loving God because he was so harsh and mean to his son and when the son got old enough to move away he left and moved to the west coast. He lived in Colorado and lived out in nature learning as much as he could about it. He was responsible for helping others move out to the west coast and settle out there as well. The narrator of the show continuously praised this man throughout the show and said "he left behind the harsh, cruel God of his father and found his God out there in nature". Well while none of us would blame the young man for forgetting his father's God, it is sad that he forgot the God of the Bible and replaced Him with nature. Sure, he could've still held onto his Christian beliefs some but if that was the message this man was spreading, I guarantee you this secular show would not have been praising this man to the hilt! No, he had left the Biblical faith of telling mankind that because we are all sinners we need a Savior, and he had taken up "nature worship". He said he found God there but that is just a trick of the devil because if you feel good out there in nature that is just your senses being lifted up, not your spirit being fed by the Lord. God feeds us with His written Word, the Bible. The Holy Spirit communicates God's thoughts to us through His Word and we communicate back with prayer. Now a person can certainly pray to God while out in nature but if you don't have a born-again relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, your prayers are going up into the skies and not into the ears of God. You might feel better after praying and you may even get some of the things you are praying for but it does not mean you will got to heaven when you die. The Bible is very clear that there is one way to God the Father and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ. And a person who is born again will want to read their Bible and be in fellowship with other Christians and this "great man" featured on this show did none of that. Just an interesting example of how mankind can get confused sometimes and one I appreciated the illustration. I hope it paints a clear picture for you on the difference of nature worship versus Jesus Christ worship.
If you want to get born again in Christ Jesus, please take this time now to talk to God. You can say something like this: God I know I am a sinner and I need a Savior and I believe Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah. I believe Jesus Christ was born of a virgin mother, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and that He lived a sinless life because He was God in the flesh, and that He was crucified as the once for all sacrifice for mankind's sins. I believe he was buried and rose from the grave and was witnessed alive before ascending to heaven where He now sits on the throne as King of Kings. I repent of my sins and accept Jesus' gift of salvation today and I ask Him to be my Savior and Lord. I ask the Holy Spirit to come and make a dwelling in my heart and to lead me into all righteousness. Thank you God for hearing my prayer and for sending your Son to save me by dying in my place at the Cross so I can be in the family of God. And Father, I understand that while I am saved by my confession of faith, it is also Your will for me to get water baptized to show my private confession in a public way, and so I ask you to lead me to the church or baptismal situation you have for me so I can get baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen!