REV. PHILIP MEYER, PASTOR EMERITUS
Mankind must always have a god. Some have tried to call it “the god gene,” but Scripture tells us that it is conscience. Man knows that he has sinned and feels guilt because of it. Throughout the millennia mankind has sought out gods of his or her own making.
Gaianism is taken from Greek mythology, the word Gaia for the earth goddess. I think it applies to every form we find that worships the earth rather than the Creator. The earth has never been our “mother.” God is our Father but there is no sexual counterpart to the Father. Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament confess such a god as Gaia. Christians should never really speak of Mother Nature. There is no such person! She cannot be our mother! God the Father Almighty is our Creator. No earthly mother involved.
From the beginning Satan has masqueraded in order to deceive people and pull them away from the true God, the One who has revealed himself in Holy Scripture. Israel continually fell into idolatry by worshiping animals and demons as well as idols. Many of these idols were part of the ancient pagan fertility cults. Baal was the god of fertility and the ancients believed that if they imitated the sexual practices of the gods and goddesses their crops would have ample rain and be successful. Ashtoreth was the patroness of nature and fertility.
Artemis of the Ephesians might be better known by us because of the riot the Apostles caused in Ephesus. Demetrius was a silver smith who made his living making shrines of Artemis. Paul proclaimed that gods made with hands were not gods at all. Demetrius’ livelihood went south. Acts 19.21-41. According to Harper’s Dictionary of the Bible, Artemis is described this way:
The goddess is portrayed with numerous breasts (eggs?) as symbols of fertility, a turret crown, and a long skirt with bands of animals and birds in relief. She is often accompanied by dogs or stags on either side, probably due to the syncretism with the original Greek Artemis. [Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible Dictionary (1st ed., p. 66). San Francisco: Harper & Row.]
We can easily summarize all of these ancient gods and goddesses by quoting the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. [The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 1:18–23). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.]
Recently more strident voices from Climate Change spokespeople have revealed a deep relationship with Gaianism, or earth worship. While we may not see idols made by hands, there are idols nonetheless. And there is a full-blown religion that accompanies it. Neopagan religion is alive and gaining adherents daily. The list of examples is much too long to detail, but a few examples from the past couple of weeks should suffice.
NBC’s website recently added a way for people to confess their climate change sins.
“Tell us: Where do you fall short in preventing climate change? Do you blast the A/C? Throw out half your lunch? Grill a steak every week? Share your anonymous confession with NBC News.” Then it has a link: “Submit your confession.” Sins are broken down into subgroups which include “plastics, meat, energy, transportation, paper, and food waste.”
This is cultic activity of the first rank. Sins, confession. Yet nowhere is an absolution spoken. One must simply do better. That sounds like the religion of works. Think of monks in the Middle Ages flagellating themselves for their sins! Perhaps sacrifice to Mother Nature, Gaia. There are those who use this term proudly!
Perhaps the most disturbing example was noted on 20 September at Union Theological Seminary in New York. According to reports students prayed to a collection of plants in the chapel. A Tweet read:
“Today in chapel, we confessed to plants. Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor. What do you confess to the plants in your life?”
One Tweeter responded, “Your Seminary is a cemetery.” Another Tweeter wanted to know what kind penance the plants gave the students to perform.
This is Pantheism, the belief that God is in inanimate objects as well as living things. It is nothing more than the ancient pagan idolatry dressed up in pseudo-scientific language, yet it passes for concern for the earth. It is not just unbelief in the true God, the Holy Trinity, it is unbelieving arrogance, just as St. Paul wrote in Romans 1.22-23. These “wise” people deceive themselves and make themselves fools who will receive the wrath of God.
What is equally as bad is the connection of the people who want to save the earth from climate change with some of the voices being heard from the far left fringe. Even some presidential candidates are on board with telling you what to eat in order to save the planet. The Washington Post had a headline not long ago: “Eating bugs can help the environment.” And not to be outdone the New York Times [a “newspaper” with other troubling things!] asked, “Why aren’t we eating more insects?” Perhaps they just haven’t been eating at the restaurants which get gigged by the health department for unsanitary conditions! Reading some of this is entertaining, but it underscores a far more serious problem. That’s the lack of any serious perspective. One can and likely will encounter dirty hypodermic needles, rats, and human feces on the sidewalks of some major cities, but one may not use a plastic straw. There is no perspective whatsoever.
Eat less meat, we are told, because it’s good for the planet, yet a Swedish researcher named Magnus Soderlund has a plan to fight climate change. It’s been called “Eco Cannibalism.” He says that it isn’t enough to eat insects, we must also practice cannibalism, eco-cannibalism. There, using the prefix “eco” just made it acceptable. Soderlund suggests we start by eating our own pets. Then when we get used to this practice we can move on to our family members. I’m thinking that old people are probably safe because, who wants to eat a tough old bird? Most would prefer younger, more tender meat, say children. Perhaps we will pay closer attention to punctuation in our sentences, such as “Let’s eat Grandma,” as opposed to “Let’s eat, Grandma.”
But that is pretty near what was going on with Israel’s neighbors. While the name Molech is epithet of a deity, it probably refers to the names of the gods Adrammelech and Anammelech (2 Kings 17:31) to whom the Sepharvites offered their children by fire contain the element melech and may show more specifically what divinities were intended by Molech. [Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible dictionary (1st ed., p. 646). San Francisco: Harper & Row.]
There was a clear prohibition against this as is recorded in Lev. 20.2:
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Say to the people of Israel, Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. [The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Le 20:1–2). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.]
The Psalmist writes these sad words of the people of Israel along with their other idolatries:
37 They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to the demons;
38 they poured out innocent blood,
the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
and the land was polluted with blood.
39 Thus they became unclean by their acts,
and played the whore in their deeds. [The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 106:37–39). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.]
Yet our nation has sacrificed millions of children on the altar of the goddess of abortion. Are we more moral than those who sacrificed their children to Molech?
It all seems to come together. As Solomon said, “And there is nothing new under the sun” [Ecclesiastes 1.9]. The ancient paganism has been revived and has many adherents who do not see real sin. They do not see rebellion against the Creator of heaven and earth. So, the Psalmist:
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein. [The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 24:1). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.]
And the Apostle Paul writes:
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” [Colossians 2.8]
The Psalmist also writes:
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” [The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 2:4–6). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.]
Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty and he will come to judge the living and the dead. He is Lord of all. These usurpers fool only themselves. Yet they want to compel us to not only agree with them but to do as they say. As for me, I’ll fire up the grill and throw on a nice juicy steak or other good meat, keep my A/C on until the weather cools off, and kill some barley for my favorite adult beverages. But, no, I won’t drink those through a straw. Sorry.