COMMENTARY: Making love to the ocean

by James Wanliss, |
Joni B. Hannigan/file photo

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (Christian Examiner) —A few weeks ago I mentioned the fleeting notoriety of Caitlyn Jenner, writing that he is "so yesterday." To be clear, Jenner is a precious human being for whom I feel pity. And respect. It takes, after all, a certain fortitude to face up to his undeniable manliness, and to voluntarily undertake what amounts to public castration. In other nations castration is considered punishment for vile crimes.

Pandora's box changes so fast one's head spins. Last year it was homosexual marriage and transgenderism. A few weeks ago it was species dysphoria and trans-speciesism—a woman who believes she is a cat and a man who married a tree.

James Wanliss, Ph.D., is Professor of Physics at Presbyterian College, Clinton, South Carolina.

This is bad news since none of it reflects the reality of the way the world actually works. If we refuse to recognize the reality of our nature, the human search for meaning becomes full of miserable, often dangerous, contradictions. Which is why Jenner is currently said to be wrestling with the question of whether to cut, or not cut.

The Western world has, with a vengeance, turned its back on God. We have been taught to believe we can have our cake and eat it too. But God will not be mocked. There is always a judgement day. A day to face the knife. A vacuum is not gentle. It may be temporarily restrained by great power. Remove it and in rushes a great, roaring vortex of chaos.

When a people reject God and His commandments the problem is not that they believe in nothing. The problem is that they will believe anything. Nature abhors a vacuum. We have cast out God and seven demons have returned to take His place. This is why we see so much desolation in the world. Up is down, right is wrong, left is right.

Each person, being his own god, does what is right in his own eyes. And since our personal human preferences are notoriously fickle, value becomes a moving target, and then what happens to the idea of humanity, poor thing? Even manly men like Bruce Jenner, when they choose to believe they are women trapped in a man's body, must still deal with painful reality. So, too, a society that once knew, but then rejects, Christian orthodoxy can only hold back the night so long before the protective cultural veneer of Christian orthodoxy wears away.

This brings me to the latest in the cutting edge of the Green movement. Environmentalism is the new civic religion. But Nature religion cannot itself keep up with the rate at which the culture is spawning new gods to worship each of which, like Cronus, feasts on its children.

Elizabeth Stephens, an art professor at tax-funded UC Santa Cruz, thinks she is something new in the Green pantheon because she has taken students to have sex with the ocean. Not with each other, but with the other.

In 2008 Granny Stephens says she married the earth and in 2009 she married the sea. By 2016, noting the sucking sounds of the cultural vacuum, she took her students to the ocean to see if they would find in the ocean an ecosexual lover. If they, like she, would say that as they plunged in "it felt as if the ocean was licking me over and over, again and again with her big frothy tongue." The students were specifically instructed to think of their marriage to the ocean as one involving sex, and received encouragement to "consummate" the marriage and "make love to the water" by penetrating it with their bodies.

None of this is brave or particularly novel. It is narcissistic, childish, and inherently destructive. Stephens lives as she pleases and justifies it all in terms of sex and environmentalism.

She thinks of herself as a pioneer, but her scholarly works consist of pornography, stripping, and marrying the planet. While she is aware of the pagan convergence of sex and environmentalism she seems ignorant—she gives no acknowledgement—of ecofeminists who laid the groundwork for such things as her Dirty Sexecology seminars.

Quite some time ago feminist eco-theologian Sallie McFague referred to our planet as "The Body of God" in the title of her book. In Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology, Sister Marilyn Rudy of Earth Harmonyin California says, "I realize we are all one piece. I become one with the earth, I am at peace, and know the soil." Sister Marilyn is a nun who does not take the metaphor of oneness as literally as Professor Stephens. But she expresses in words an ideology that Stephens is acting out.

Christianity profoundly changed the pagan world. Some think for the better. Today we are seeing the revival of a new paganism that self-consciously attempts to erase all the distinctions God created. Christian sexual morality created Western civilization, but pagan morality asserts that all is one, which is why distinctions between male and female are under attack. The Bible says God has made other distinctions in the cosmos, notably the Creator-creature distinction, but environmentalists worship Mother Earth. Marriage and sex with the ocean are merely another way of pressing the same culture war forward, by erasing the distinction between creatures made in God's image and those that are not.

James Wanliss, Ph.D., is Professor of Physics at Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC. He is a Policy Advisor to the Heartland Institute, and Senior Fellow and Contributing Writer for The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, and author of Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion, Not Death. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed physics articles, has held the NSF CAREER award, and does research in space science and nonlinear dynamical systems under grants from NASA and NSF.