Bible Q&A: Is It Idolatrous To Speak Of Mother Nature?

Is it idolatrous to speak of Mother Nature?

When the Israelites made their golden calf, they purposefully worshiped it and purposefully attributed to it the title and power of deity (Ex. 32:1-4).  Historically, the pagan worship of various attributes of nature such as the sun or the moon was purposefully done by the ones committing the idolatry.  Idolatry isn’t inherently committed simply by speaking of something that has the potential to be idolatrously worshiped.  Paul spoke of false gods without committing idolatry, as did Elijah and other prophets (Acts 17; 1 Cor. 8; 1 Kings 18).

With that in mind, most people who use the term “Mother Nature” do so intending to speak of “nature” in general in a non-idolatrous fashion.  The concept of “Mother Nature” being an actual deity in whom they believe and whom they serve instead of Jehovah does not enter their minds at all.  It’s similar to how all of us say the days of the week.  “Thursday,” centuries ago, was literally “Thor’s Day,” the day set aside to honor the Viking god Thor.  By saying “Thursday,” are we inherently practicing idolatry?  Of course not.  Thus, using the term “Mother Nature” does not inherently mean that we think of nature as a deity worthy of our worship and service.

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