The Gaia hypothesis, proposed in the 1970s by the British scientist, author, and environmentalist James Lovelock (1919-2022), suggests the Earth, itself, is a self-regulating entity geared toward sustaining life.
Lovelock says Gaia is
a complex entity involving the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet.¹
This view is both accepted and challenged by different scientific researchers and is sometimes mistaken for Lewis Thomas‘ speculation that the Earth viewed from space looks like a single cell, an idea made popular in the book The Lives of a Cell (1974).
The Gaia hypothesis is also taken out of context by some New Age enthusiasts who uphold it as support for the pantheistic idea that God and the natural, observable world are one and the same. This view is sometimes called “scientific pantheism” or “naturalistic pantheism” and is quite different from a “wholly-other” understanding of God.
But those with a simplistic, worldly view of God probably won’t appreciate the difference.
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