Sunday, April 22, 2018
The Earth Bible
I was watching a PBS series on high-achieving women. One of them, who pilots jets, said she can't understand people who don't believe in God, because just look at the magnificence of His Creation.
That is totally circular thinking, but it made me wonder: Why don't people see the earth itself as a creator instead of a creation?
The earth is sacred and divine because it is a manifestation of life, a macrocosm of the universe, ever unfolding, branching, collapsing, rebirthing, reforming in a billion shapes and expressions, so wondrous, so natural.
When is natural supernatural? Perhaps when a human can't fathom or explain it. That we think of the earth as natural does not dismiss or take away its mystery, it allows us to recognize its true wondrousness and that it created and unfolded itself.
If we allow the earth its own divinity, apart from human thought and beliefs, then we are granting it personhood, independent of any belief in god or religion. If we think of every animal, tree, mountain as a person, then surely it follows that the earth has personhood, too.
What is earthly is divine. That means, all earthly life is divine. We are divine, the animal and green persons are divine also. We are all immortal in that our death supports new life. We are all resurrected into the earth, the waters, into the plants, into the insects and birds. That is my take on reincarnation. We don't stop being part of everything when we die.
What are the common beliefs I may share with this woman? A sense of original instructions, of ethical guidelines, of helping not harming. Only her instructions are from the bible and mine are natural law. Why, I wonder, does the bible bear little similarity to the original instructions of Native peoples? It seems unpeopled by our wild relatives, the earth and its endless bounty, except through the single channel of God.
Where in it is our direct relationship to the Earth itself, the true source of all that is life-giving? What would the Earth Bible look like?
On this Earth Day, I'm thinking the Earth Bible is part user manual, part love letter, part wonder tale. It has one real commandment: That which sustains life, and the sustainability of life, is good. That which does not is bad. That's the morality of The Earth Bible.
If humans abandoned belief systems (whatever form they take) that have taken us so far astray—beliefs that allow them to continue destroying every creature up to and including humanity—then maybe they could once again follow the teachings of The Book of Earth. And we would halt our unbounded hubris and foolishness, and rather honor and tend to the health of our home every day. So mote it be, for all of us who love this earth with all our being, and those of us who have lost their way.