THEORIES ON THE ORIGIN OF RELIGION


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Q2: Animism and “The Book of Nature”
We often think of Animism as “primitive” worship of stones and trees. We forget that great Christian theologians and poets have found God’s presence permeating nature: the spirit of the Creator in creation. One of the first great theologians of the Church, St. John Chrysostum wrote: “God has revealed the divine Word in two books: the book of scripture and the book of nature.” In 12th Century France, St. Bernard told his monks, “You will find more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you what you can never learn from schoolmasters.” In the greatest Christian poem of all time (Paradise Lost, 1647), Milton wrote the lines below. Using these examples (Chrysostum, Bernard, and Milton) answer the question: Is there a healthy form of animism in Christianity?



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