Coming Back to Earth: From gods, to God, to Gaia

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The mainline churches in the Western world are declining, concludes Lloyd Geering, because they are “all out of step” with the modern secular world. This is not so much a result of the supposed renegade behavior of the secular world as the failure of the church to take the next steps in its path of faith. Abraham left his idols behind to go out into the unknown. In contrast, the churches reveal a lack of faith by insisting on an infallible Bible and a set of unchangeable doctrines tailored to an obsolete worldview.

In Coming Back to Earth, Geering calls upon us to complete the work of the Second Axial Age by bringing the sacred—banished to an imaginary heavenly realm in the wake of the First Axial Age—back to earth.

According to Lloyd Geering the doctrines of Incarnation and Trinity, which began as attempts to reflect the indwelling of God in human beings, were soon distorted to proclaim the reality of a sacred realm in the heavens. But the collapse of supernaturalism, he says, has produced a new and different pattern of reality: the self-creating universe, the self-evolving human species, and the emerging global consciousness. In light of these changes, he asks, Is Christianity going anywhere ? His answer, simply put, is that Christianity will not survive unless it can be harmonized with the secular global world. He further observes that all religious traditions must incorporate a concern for the present ecological crisis, And, he insists, any credible faith tradition must embrace a secular or humanist spirituality.

Geering concludes that the most credible scenario for Christianity s future depends on accepting the Gaia concept as a powerful modern myth that will sustain individual humans spiritually, and our planetary home ecologically.

“Coming Back to Earth is a very fine, very important book, and I hope it is read widely. You have outlined, in a quite convincing way, the kind of transformation Christian faith must make today in face of the ecological crisis—the most important problem humans have ever had to face.” —Gordon Kaufman, Mallinckrodt Professor of Divinity, Emeritus, Harvard University

“Geering writes in simple and compelling language, conveying a complicated set of ideas in the most accessible way.” Sofia

Click here for a free, online study guide.

Watch a documentary about Lloyd Geering on YouTube.

For a list of other Polebridge books by Lloyd Geering, click here.

Read Lloyd Geering’s article on How Did Jesus Become God and Why which appeared in Westar’s membership magazine The Fourth R in 1998.

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