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Nature as God’s Cathedral or God’s Wrath?

When man fell in the Garden of Eden, he took nature down with him. In spite of this some of nature has retained its former glory, and many have seen God’s hand: “How many poets have claimed to observe him in a vermillion sunset or a blooming rose, in a bird’s song or a ripple on the surface of a stream?”

The famous American naturalist John Muir wrote in 1839 hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains: “Another inspiring morning, nothing better in any world can be conceived. No description of Heaven that I have ever heard or read of seems half so fine.”

In 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt visiting Yosemite wrote: “The majestic trunks, beautiful in color and in symmetry, rose round us like the pillars of a mightier cathedral than ever was conceived even by the fervor of the Middle Ages.”

On the other hand, the fall and savagery of nature is all too apparent, as some observers have written, nature is also “full of danger and malice, chaos and murder, uncertainty and terror … We have to become humble in front of this overwhelming misery, overwhelming growth, and overwhelming lack of order. ... Masked beneath the beauty of nature’s world is one simple and ugly truth: life must take life in the interest of life itself …”

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