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Entries in Environmentalism (1)


Society under Siege: Neo-Pagan Green Movement

Genesis 1:27-28; 2:15; Mark 2:23-28.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on October 9, 2016. 

Our modern era is often presented as a very scientific, technologically advanced, and non-religious.  However, what is often missed is that there are many streams of spirituality that are thriving within this society besides Christianity.  A few of which are: Wiccans, Neo-Pagans, the New Age Movement, mediums and channelers, many Hindu/Buddhism influenced groups, Extraterrestrial groups.  Many of them have a view of history that sees a spiritual evolutionary leap coming ahead for mankind.  What is interesting about these groups is that they are tied in to a common view of the spiritual realm, which is the same view as the ancient pagan religions, and that is an All-Is-One spirituality.  Today, I am using the term Neo-Pagan in a very broad description to cover this resurgence of the old spiritual world view.

Our society is not getting less spiritual and becoming atheistic.  On the contrary society is only pushing certain spiritual ideas aside and grabbing onto others.  In this environment, the Christian world view has been put in the bull’s-eye of many of these groups.  Sometimes this is seen in an open clash of ideas.  But, other times it is hidden in the background slowly chipping away at the foundations of our society that are built upon a Christian world view.  We see this in the rise of environmentalist groups that have a neo-pagan world view.  They are actually a mixture of some very good ideas with a very bad world view.  These groups see the earth as a quasi-sentient consciousness that we need to be in harmony with along with the rest of the cosmos.  This should concern Christians because God reveals to us in the Bible that mankind is not headed towards a scientific atheism.  Rather, we are actually headed to a society that will worship a particular man as a god and surrender the control of the nations to him.

Man Should Care for the Earth

In Genesis 1:27-28 and 2:15 we find that God put mankind on the earth with a purpose, and part of that purpose was for mankind to care for the earth.  Let’s look at the descriptions that God uses in telling Adam what this purpose was.  At first He tells us to be fruitful.  At first look that could just be a metaphor for “multiplying.”  However, in light of what the rest of Scripture says about fruitfulness (especially Jesus), we should recognize that this fruitfulness goes beyond the population of humanity.  God made mankind to be fruitful in other ways as well: mentally, occupationally, and spiritually.  Man should express and live out the life-giving image of God.

God also tells mankind to fill the earth.  Thus the Garden of Eden was not just a fabulous prison.  God’s plan was for mankind to fill the whole earth.  That doesn’t mean we have to keep going until there is 1 person for every square foot of land.  But, neither does it support the idea that mankind shouldn’t touch most of the earth and the population should remain under 500 million, which is what many of the elites of the earth believe.

Another term that is used is that mankind should “subdue” the earth and “rule/take dominion” over the all of its creatures.  The term subdue is the idea of bringing something under your control.  Of course this has a negative connotation if you are talking about subduing a person.  But in this case we are talking about a planet that is in a wild condition.  The whole earth was not a paradise, only a portion.  God creates the earth in a wild state that has all the raw materials for mankind’s purpose, but would need to be brought under control.  In its wild state it would not be fully useful.  The Garden would then be a kind of template for mankind to expand as they multiplied.

We are not told to subdue the animals, but rather to rule over them.  Again, ruling itself can seem negative.  But the truth is that the real problem lies in how one rules and not that they do at all.  Our rule of the creatures should reflect the image of God and respect that they ultimately belong to Him.  Thus we should be good stewards of the earth and its creatures, just as God is good.

Lastly Adam is told to work and tend the Garden.  This fixed up area would be expanded and the fruitfulness was to be good for both man and creatures.  The work would then involve watching over the threats against the garden’s fruitfulness and the eventual expansion of it.  Notice that the Bible does not present the Earth as some kind of sacred space that mankind should not touch.  Yet, neither does it present the Earth as man’s to do with as he wishes without any accountability to the Creator.  We are to care for the earth and make it fruitful.

Although the Christian has a strong foundation for being staunchly concerned with the environment and keeping it fruitful, we arrive at it from a very different world view than these Neo-pagan, green groups.  To them mankind must make a spiritual connection to the Earth and the spiritual forces of the cosmos.  Although they would look at many things as evil, that is only a remnant of Christian thinking.  In truth, the Neo-pagan world view doesn’t believe in evil, only imbalance of actions.  Thus mankind is out of balance and needs to be brought back into balance.  If that takes actions that Christians would describe as evil, then so be it.  They would deny any existence of fallen spiritual beings that are deceiving mankind and even promote a seductive desire to connect with the enlightened spirits who have gone before us.  It is here that we see the insidious twisting of biblical truth.  Movies like Avatar use a false dichotomy to promote this new spiritualism.  So your two choices are a capitalistic, greedy company that destroys everything in order to get a rare, non-earth metal called Unobtainum on the one hand and an indigenous culture that lives in harmony with the planet and its creatures by plugging into them with a kind of mental, spiritual connection on the other hand.  Believing in right and wrong, that will be ultimately judged by the personal Creator who is both within and beyond that creation, is anathema to these groups.  Now let’s finish this study by looking at a passage in the Gospel of Mark concerning the Sabbath day.

Everything Needs Rest

In Mark 2:23-28 the word Sabbath literally means rest.  The most well known application of this was the one day of the week that Israel was supposed to refrain from working.  On that day they would enjoy rest and worship God.  Now, I am not preparing to teach that we should be following the Law of Moses.  However, we can gain wisdom from God’s commands in the past.  In this passage Jesus deals with a legalistic view of the Sabbath that existed in Israel at the time.  They had developed many nit picking laws of what you could or couldn’t do.  So the Pharisees accused the disciples of Jesus of  “harvesting” when they were simply walking through some fields and picked some heads off of the grain to eat.

Notice that Jesus does not quibble with their expanded definition of harvesting.  Rather he points out the true intention of the Sabbath Law or the spirit of the law.  The Pharisees had turned the day into a dictatorial overlord that the people had to satisfy at any cost.  It was man who must always yield and not the law regardless of the consequences.  Jesus points to the reality that God gave the law of Rest for the benefit of the people.  It was created in order to help us not put restrictions on us.  Thus we can learn the wisdom that it is not good for man to drive himself 24/7/365.  Physically he would breakdown, and spiritually he would see himself as his own source and go down a bad path.

Now this was also true for the land that they used to grow crops.  It needed a break as well.  Thus they were told to not work the land one year out of every seven.  They were to let the land rest.  If they would do this then God would bless them and their land would continue to be fruitful.  Thus God qualifies man’s subduing of the earth in order to make it fruitful, by also teaching us that it needs rest as we do.  When you couple this with man’s other purpose to image God in how he fulfills his purpose, you have two powerful restraints that God gives to the greed and wickedness that can infect that purpose.  In fact, isn’t this the sense of the modern business world?  There is practically no concept of rest and “this is enough.”  This driven, ungodly desire to keep squeezing more out of everything is not how we were designed to thrive.  This is partly why many turn back to the ancient pagan ideas of spirituality.  They know that there has to be something better than this perversion that we see today.  We were created to be in relationship with our Creator, and when we aren’t a vacuum is created in our hearts that haunts us until we try to fill it with something.

So what should we do?  In some ways technology and our increase in knowledge can either destroy us or help us.  We can do powerful things, more quickly than ever before.  However, it should be done in a way that honors God as the Creator and the Earth as His creation.  The leaders of the world today do not and will not honor the Creator.  Thus they will only use these tools to honor themselves, and the spiritual power that many of them are connecting to through the occult, and other spiritualistic means.  The baseline of this tragic choice is that the ancient pagan world view devalued mankind.  Christianity teaches that God has given mankind a great value and we must seek His help to fully realize it.  However, Neo-paganism devalues mankind to a place as just one of many animals that is causing the world to be out of balance.  This is why a baby seal garners more compassion than a baby in the womb.  The idea that the Earth would be better off if humans were eradicated, or at least subdued by the enlightened ones, comes from this world view.  We are in the middle of falling into the greatest slavery that mankind has ever known. How about you?  Have you found the rest that God has designed for you to have?  Are you growing to be like Him?  Are you fruitful in every way?  Turn back to the Creator and learn to rest in Him so that we can truly enjoy all that God has given to us to enjoy.

neo-pagan Audio