I was recently re-reading the autobiography of one of my spiritual inspirations, John Trevor, the founder of the Labour Church, titled My Quest for God. I came across this excerpt from a sermon by Trevor, delivered in 1888. The similarity to the theology of Earthseed is remarkable. (I’ve replaced the gendered language.)
We hear much of the unity of Christendom. This conception of being fellow workers with God raises us to a height from which even the unity of Christendom appears a petty, sectarian thing. It is no more than the unity of one regiment of the mighty army fighting for right against wrong—the mighty army of God. We must rise far higher than that if we would grasp this conception aright. . . .
“There was a time, not long ago, when humankind did not understand our right relationship with Nature. We feared her, trembled before her, and saw in her mysterious forces of evil which did not exist. Now humankind regards ourselves as comrades of the great Nature Forces. We even employ them in our service. We have
learned to master Nature by knowledge and obedience, and so to conquer more and more the physical conditions of our life.
“In some such way must humankind learn to revise our notions of God. As we have risen to regard ourselves as a Nature Power, so must we rise to the conception that we are a God Power, holding our own place in the Universe, and yet allied by closest
affinities with both Nature and God. In both the physical and the spiritual world we will learn that the power and freedom of our human nature lie in the mastery of obedience. As we already stand and labour side by side with Nature, so must we learn to stand and labour side by side with God. . . . This, I believe, will be the highest reward for the work to which we go forth— that in it we shall find a field of action whereon God and humankind meet.”
Trevor describes the relationship between humankind and God as paralleling the relationship between humankind and nature, which he describes as a kind of partnership–an important Earthseed concept.
“Partner God. Only in
partnership can we thrive, grow,
Change. Only in partnership can we
— Book of the Living, v. 50
Trevor speaks laboring side by side with God, just as we labor side by side with Nature. Trevor’s notion that we are a “God Power” parallels Butler’s notion that we a Shapers of God.
“A victim of God may,
Through learning and adaption,
Become a partner of God,
A victim of God may,
Through forethought and planning,
Become a shaper of God.”
— Book of the Living, v. 7