There’s a new age philosophy called “pantheism.” Pantheism asserts that nature is god; that the observable universe and god are identical. God is thought to be the generic life force that permeates all things. There is no real matter, for all things are manifestations of “spirit.” Disney gave us a spectacular illustration of pantheism in the animated movie, Pocahontas. The young Indian maiden is depicted as the wiser, enlightened Native American contrasted with the savage, western antagonist who has no respect for nature or mankind.
Nature itself is portrayed as the living, pulsing, perfect center of innate life and wisdom. The film promises that if we only connect, listen and learn, nature will be our god and teach us all truth. You could know what the squirrel and the bald eagle know if you’d only be quiet and listen. They know far more than you do, it is asserted. It’s a seemingly self-denying, paradoxical piety, but it isn’t true.
God does create and constantly sustain all of his creation, but he is SO much more than that. His ongoing animation of what he has created is merely an effect of him, not the sum of him. He’s clear with us in scripture that he is more than creation. He is separate from it and rules over it. He has personality and emotion. He responds to his creation… enjoying it, correcting it, managing it. It might seem profound and respectful to see nature as “god,” but it is a blatant over-estimation to think that the rock or the eagle is god. And it is an insult to the real God who won’t be diminished or mistaken for a leaf.