" Mountains and hills, bless the Lord.
"Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord.
"Seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
"You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord.
"All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord." (Daniel 3:74-81)
The prophet Daniel is saying that all of Nature is doing God's Will and giving God glory, and why not? The Universe has been in existence for millions and billions of years before we human beings even appeared. God, Who is Love, created our Universe as an act of love - and Nature, God's Footprint, glorifies and blesses God in return.
We humans can learn much about God's Wisdom, Beauty, Power, and Love, by contemplating Nature. God tells Job to learn about God from observing the Nature that surrounds Job:
"If you would learn more, ask the cattle,
Seek information from the birds of the air.
The creeping things of earth will give you lessons,
And the fishes of the sea will tell you all.
There is not a single creature that does not know
That everything is of God's making.
God holds in power the soul of every living thing,
And the breath of every human body." (Book of Job 12:7-10)
"God holds in power the soul of every living thing!" Fr. Richard Rohr says "Others think that to grant any conception of 'soul' to creation itself, to animals, or anything beyond human beings, is to lessen our own eternal soul. Yet our very words 'animate object' might reveal a deeper intuition: animate comes from the Latin 'anima,' breath, or soul." If the Holy Spirit was the Wind sweeping over the original waters of creation, we can envision the Breath of the Spirit animating and ensouling all.
God is Transcendent - Above All, and Immanent - Within All. Yet somehow we Christians have concentrated so much on God's love and salvation offered to human beings, that we forgot God's love for the rest of His creation, and the tremendous promise to "Make all Things New in Christ." Mystics like St. Francis spoke of Brother Sun and Sister Moon, but often enough the Native religions in our own country, for example, have understood our connection and interdependency with nature more than we Christians have, and have given Nature a deeper, instinctive respect.
The Plains Indians, when hunting, thank both the Creator and the spirit of the animal they kill for food and hides because they believe they are related to it in as much as the Creator created all living things for a purpose.
The Iroquois Indians' Prayer for Thanksgiving gives thanks to the Great Spirit "in whom is embodied all goodness, and who directs all things for the good of His children." But first, thanksgiving is offered to Nature: "We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us. We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with water. We return thanks for all herbs, which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases. We return thanks to the corn, and her sisters, the bean and squash, which give us life....etc."
God, all Love, is in love with ALL His creation, not just us. His Spirit animates all. In this time of all times, when humanity lies at a crossroads, when we have to make informed choices about how to save and conserve the earth's environment and species, we would do well to remember that ALL creation was created by a loving God to give God praise. Then our choices can give proper care, respect, and thanks to Mother Earth who sustains us.