We speak of nature and cosmos and all within them as “words of God,” Logos or “other Christs.” This is the consciousness of creation spirituality.
Meister Eckhart says simply, “every creature is a word of God and a book about God.” Thus to study creatures is to study God and interact with divinity. Surely this is where human awe derives from, being struck by something so much bigger than ourselves, something sacred therefore, which is nature with all its elements and all its beings and birthings, humanity included. Any part of it can strike us with awe. And reverence. And gratitude.
There is nothing neutral about nature or the cosmos. Yes, we have to have a certain amount of objectivity if we are putting nature’s pieces under a microscope or measuring distances of stars and supernovas and the rest, that effort at objectivity is what feeds scientific explorations after all.
But objectivity is not the bottom line, it is far from the whole story. This is why Genesis one, which is after all, a creation story entirely about cosmology and how certain people of old told the story of creation to their children, is not just about facts. It is about wonder and the goodness that creation bathes in.
The term “God saw that it was good” is repeated all along the way as each story relates the unfolding of new dimensions to creation beginning with “the waters and dry land, the “earth” and the “seas.” This goodness extends to “vegetation, seed-bearing plants, and fruit trees bearing fruit with the seed inside.” And the “two great lights, “one to govern the day, the smaller light to govern the night and the stars.” And the waters “teeming with living creatures” and “birds flying within the vault of heaven,” and the great creatures of the sea. And the earth that produced “every kind of living creature—cattle, reptiles and wild beasts.”
And, after humans came along, “God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good.” (1: 31) All the parts are good, but the whole is very good.
Creation does not just exist. It teems with goodness in all its corners and places. It evokes awe and wonder and gratitude therefore. And joy. For love and joy are our response to goodness and beauty.
This is what not only the first chapter of the Bible tells us, the J source. It is also what the mystics are singing about. It is Julian of Norwich saying:
“God is “unending goodness” and an “endless goodness.”
“God is the same thing as nature” and God is “the very essence of nature.”
“The goodness in nature is God.”
“The first good thing is the goodness of nature.”
We are all born into a “birthright of never-ending joy.”
All we encounter in creation is “everything that God loves” also.
“To behold God in all things is to live in complete joy.”
A “reverent awe is the proper response to the supreme beauty of the divine.”
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, p. 101.
And Matthew Fox, Meditations with Meister Eckhart, pp. 12-14.
Banner Image: Herd of elephants on the African savannah. Photo by Will Shirley on Unsplash
Have you tasted the “goodness” and “very goodness” of creation? Has religion assisted that experience for you? Or been an obstacle along the way?
Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond
Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.” –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.
Meditations with Meister Eckhart: A Centering Book
A centering book by Matthew Fox. This book of simple but rich meditations exemplifies the deep yet playful creation-centered spirituality of Meister Eckhart, Meister Eckhart was a 13th-century Dominican preacher who was a mystic, prophet, feminist, activist, defender of the poor, and advocate of creation-centered spirituality, who was condemned shortly after he died.
“These quiet presentations of spirituality are remarkable for their immediacy and clarity.” –Publishers Weekly.
Join Matthew Fox for a free, thought-provoking hour and Find Inspiration & Healing in the Radical Teachings of St. Hildegard: Discover the Uncommon Life of This 12th-Century Mystic to Reconnect to Nature & the Divine, Tuesday, June 1, at 3:00 pm Eastern(GMT/UTC-4). Register HERE.