Let the earth bless the Lord, praise and exalt God above all forever!
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord,
Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord,
You springs, bless the Lord,
Seas and rivers, bless the Lord,
You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord,
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord,
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord, praise and exalt God above all forever (Daniel 3:74-81)
Apparently Daniel is saying that dolphins, springs, and mountains are doing God’s will and giving God glory quite well, they are “blessing” God, and have been for millions and billions of years before we even showed up and long before we wrote the Bible. Was God not glorified until humans came along? Was God not in love until we arrived? If so, God had nothing to do for at least 14 billion years. Love always needs an object, and God has been in love for quite a long time.
Acknowledging the intrinsic value and beauty of creation, elements, plants, and animals, is a major paradigm shift for most Western and cultural Christians. In fact, we have often dismissed it as animism or paganism. We limited God’s love and salvation to our own human species, and even then we did not have enough love left to cover all of humanity! God ended up looking quite miserly and inept, to be honest.
Listen instead to the Book of Wisdom (a canonical book in the Catholic Bible):
How dull are all people who, from the things-that-are, have not been able to discover God-Who-Is, or by studying the good works have failed to recognize the Artist…. Through the grandeur and beauty of the creatures, we may by analogy, contemplate their Author (Wisdom 13:1, 5)
In other words, matter is the outer lovely form, but Spirit is the inner source, coherence, and energy for everything that we know and see. Today quantum physics, astronomers, and molecular biologists seem to be discovering and celebrating this same thing. How lucky we are to be able to fully join in this celebration today–as humans both educated in the sciences and transformed by grace! We have the best of both worlds.
Adapted from “Is ‘Green’ a Christian Position?” Radical Grace by Richard Rohr