The essence of all pantheism, evolutionism, and modern cosmic religion is really
in this proposition: that Nature is our mother. Unfortunately, if you
regard Nature as a mother, you discover that she is a step-mother. The
main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother:
Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have
the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire,
but not to imitate. This gives to the typically Christian pleasure
in this earth a strange touch of lightness that is almost frivolity.
Nature was a solemn mother to the worshippers of Isis and Cybele.
Nature was a solemn mother to Wordsworth or to Emerson.
But Nature is not solemn to Francis of Assisi or to George Herbert.
To St. Francis, Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister:
a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved.
— G. K. Chesterton