The Divinization of the Earth: A “Religion” Without a “God” | Fr. James V. Schall, SJ | CWR
The direct connection between theories of earth primacy and brutal control of human beings through abortion, sterilization, and euthanasia simply cannot be avoided
"With cries that pierce me to the heart, / my enemies revile me, / saying to me all the day long: / ‘Where is your God?’” — Psalm 42.
"In paganism, the Divine is that to which sacrifices must be offered. This is almost a definition. In this recent movement, Man is something that should be sacrificed on behalf of the Earth. The divinization of the Earth is an extremely consequential move, since it is supposed to be higher than Man.” — Rêmi Brague, “Are There as Many Gods as Religions?” (Modern Age, Summer 2015)
With so much current discussion in panic mode of “earth warming” and “environmental” issues, along with the selling of fetal parts and massive abortions, we need to ask ourselves: “What is going on here?” The popular view is that man, by his very presence on it, is “abusing” the earth. Earth is said to be “greater” than man. In the context of so many billion human beings, each life is insignificant and can be replaced. Thus, morality starts, not with man, but with the earth. Man is second, not first. This human “earth-exploitation” thesis seems to be in conflict with the biblical view that man has “dominion” over the goods of the earth. Those goods are there for man’s use to achieve his purposes, which are not primarily “earth” centered, even though they take place on this planet.
The earth itself, however, has no inner consciousness of itself. It does not behold itself. Unlike man, it has no possibility of being other than it is. There are those who want to hold both sides of this issue. That is, they do not want to “abuse” the earth, whatever that means, but they also want to use the goods available for human needs. This usage seems to be what they are for (that same approach seems also to be Aristotle’s position). But this view brings up the controverted issue: “Just what cohort of mankind are these given resources designed to support?” The current one? All those of past and future? The future but not the present? The entire human race is constantly replicating itself; this steady reproducing of itself is how mankind stays in existence on this planet. One way, no doubt unpopular, to stop human “pollution” would simply be to stop reproducing—a kind of universal vow of chastity. This is not a widely heard view!
The human race has already lived on this planet for thousands upon thousands of years. Man himself appears on the earth as a late-comer but still as both properly belonging to it and yet, because of his intelligence, transcendent to it. If we assume that some ninety to a hundred billion human beings have already lived on the earth, we see that they have been “sustained” more or less well by the earth’s abundance. Contrary to expectations, individual members of the species are generally much better off the later they appear on the planet, at least as far as their physical conditions. Few past eons realized how richly the earth was endowed from its beginning by whatever caused it to be rather than not be. And even today this abundance cannot be understood and used except by insightful human intelligence.
Thus, it is increasingly realized that what is available to man is itself a function of man’s knowledge and craft. When we piously talk of “preserving” resources for “future” generations, we encounter something of an enigma.