"How could the Earth, and all Creation, be so Beautiful, without a Creator?" [Quote]

Atheism and the Beauty of Nature

A contributor to Hub Pages recently (Summer 2011) wrote an interesting article on atheism.

Unsurprisingly, he received a number of comments about this item ~ some were more supportive of his stance than others.

One of the comments went like this:

"How can the earth and all creation be not just so complex, but BEAUTIFUL as well?!
How can order and beauty come from disorder?
How can this happen without a Creator who planned it all?"

I hope that 'Chatpilot' will not mind me referring to his hub, and that 'Avory Shell' will not mind me quoting her words ~ words, which inspired me to write this hub.

I have linked to their work, below.

I am not going to look into complexity, or order and disorder, specifically, but, rather, I am going to consider the beauty of it all.

"How can the earth and all creation be ... so ... BEAUTIFUL ... without a Creator?"

Let us look at the beauty of nature and the nature of beauty!

Mallow - Copyright Tricia Mason
Mallow - Copyright Tricia Mason

Copyright and Disclaimer

Copyright Tricia Mason. All Rights Reserved.

Quotes have been credited.

This article provides my thoughts and responses to a comment made elsewhere on this site and is not intended to upset or offend, but merely to give an alternative point of view.

Daffodils - Copyright Tricia Mason
Daffodils - Copyright Tricia Mason

Beautiful Creation?

If we ask "How can the earth and all creation be ... so ... BEAUTIFUL ... without a Creator?" then that pre-supposes that the Earth and all Creation are, indeed, beautiful.

'Beauty' certainly seems to be emphasised.

But is it true that 'the Earth and all Creation' are, indeed, beautiful?

Montbretia - Copyright Tricia Mason
Montbretia - Copyright Tricia Mason

The Beauties of the Earth and the Universe

"How could the Earth, and all Creation, be so Beautiful, without a Creator?" or, in other words, How is the world so beautiful, if there is no God?

There is absolutely no doubt about it, there are many beauties in and beyond our Earth.

We need only think of a young couple in love; a glowing mum-to-be; a newborn baby; the laughter of a child; the joy when a family comes together for special events.

Pandas, penguins, blue whales, spring lambs, a peacock's tail, a butterfly's wings, the patterning of a tiger.

Colourful flowers and tall trees!

What about sunsets and rainbows? Or the blue of the sea? The myriad stars in the night sky? Mountains and lakes. There is so much around is, which is beautiful, that we could not possibly mention them all.

The Alps From A Plane - Copyright Tricia Mason
The Alps From A Plane - Copyright Tricia Mason

Beauty and a Creator

Given that there is so much beauty ~ perfection even ~ isn't it logical to consider that there must be an intelligent creator behind it?

But let us remember the full question:

"How can the earth and all creation be not just so complex, but BEAUTIFUL as well?!" Another quote follows this assertion: "the Bible is true and ... there is most certainly a Creator".

So we are not to simply acknowledge that there is much beauty in the universe, but to accept that 'all creation' is beautiful.

Is that true?

Is the whole of 'creation' beautiful?

The Mediterranean, near the French-Spanish border - Copyright Tricia Mason
The Mediterranean, near the French-Spanish border - Copyright Tricia Mason

The Not-So-Beautiful 'Creation'

In the world of insurance, there is phrase, which describes events, resulting from natural destructive forces.

That phrase is 'Act of God'. It may refer to floods, or lightening strikes, or avalanches, or any other naturally destructive disaster.

These Acts of God can be lethal: tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions ~ all can be devastating and deadly.

They can be considered beautiful, too, if viewed from a distance, but they are not so beautiful for the victims. The same can be said of hurricanes, typhoons, etc.

Nature can be savage!

And if you believe in the Creator God ~ and specifically God as described in the Bible ~ then these are his works.

Yes, the natural world can be savage.

Think of the damage that a shark or a tiger can do to another creature. Imagine the distress that must be felt, when a lamb or a rabbit is being torn limb from limb by a fox; or when a zebra is being ripped apart by a lion.

What about the would-be parents, who cannot have children; the women who miscarry or give birth to still-born babies; the families who suffer cot death; the babies born severely ill ~ while cruel families may have several healthy children, who are neglected? Consider the distress of a child, who is not loved by his parents, and who suffers abuse of various kinds ~ sometimes in the name of religion.

There are many beauties in the world, but there is much that is distressing, cruel and ugly, too.

Roses - Copyright Tricia Mason
Roses - Copyright Tricia Mason

How Could a Creator Allow This To Happen?

If there is a loving creator father God, then why does he allow terrible things to happen?

Why does there have to be horror and ugliness?

While one can say that evil perpetrated by humans is a result of free will, this argument tends to disappear, when we consider those people born with no capacity to understand right and wrong. It also disappears when we consider that most paedophiles are simply born that way. We could say, then, that certain criminals, who perform particularly loathesome acts, are nature's errors ~ or 'Acts of God'.

Anyone who believes in a personal creator God has to accept that God made the murderers, rapists and torturers, who would destroy people's lives, just as he made the lions, tigers, sharks, foxes, wolves, birds of prey, and various other creatures, who rip their weaker prey apart.

They must also accept that he is responsible for deadly earthquakes, avalanches, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, other floods, droughts, famines, lightening strikes, hurricanes, etc. etc. etc.

He must also be responsible for disfiguring and killer diseases.

It is all very well admitting the beauty, but the ugliness has to be acknowledged,. too.

Setting Sun - Copyright Tricia Mason
Setting Sun - Copyright Tricia Mason

Beauty and Ugliness

"How can the earth and all creation be not just so complex, but BEAUTIFUL as well?!"
"How can order and beauty come from disorder?"
"How can this happen without a Creator who planned it all?"
"IT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!"

Many Christians feel this way.

But, if we acknowledge that beauty is a sign of God; then we have to acknowledge that ugliness is a sign of God, too.

If beauty only makes sense as an illustration of God's planning, then so must ugliness ~ which leads back to my question: 'How could a Creator allow this 'ugliness' to happen?'

Why should these evils happen, if everything is planned by a perfect, loving Creator God?

But I am making an assumption, here, that I should not make. I have added the word 'loving'.

The assumption is that the word 'loving' should be there, to describe a Creator God, who has produced so much that is perfect and beautiful, but, if we are talking about God, as described in the Bible, then is he really so perfect, loving and good?


Snow Scene - Copyright Tricia Mason
Snow Scene - Copyright Tricia Mason

A Beautiful World From A Perfect Loving God?

According to the Bible, God killed off most of mankind in a flood.

He destroyed Sodom and Gomorah in a salty disaster.

He had Saul destroy the Amalekites ~ including the suckling babies.

He had King David's wives raped, and caused his baby son to die.

He agreed to let Satan kill the whole family of the loyal and devout Job.

*

There are many such stories in the Bible ~ I have described some in other hubs.

So, should we expect only beauty, from a God described in such a manner?

Perhaps, if this really is our Creator, then we should expect the bad along with the good.

But Christians needs to acknowledge this, rather than just pointing out the beauties around us.

Cloudy Sky - Copyright Tricia Mason
Cloudy Sky - Copyright Tricia Mason

Starving

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Starved_child.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Starved_child.jpg

Some Conclusions - Beauty and Ugliness

In my opinion, our world really is a place of almost miraculous beauty.

Images of our galaxy, and others beyond, are out of this world.

The deep seas provide incredibly beautiful images.

Looking out across the ocean and watching the waves wash against the shore is one of life's little delights.

Seeing snow on a mountain top, glistening in the sunshine, is amazing.

Watching natures animals ~ wild ones, or pets ~ is very rewarding

Rainbows and sunsets are unbelievable delights.

Producing new life and watching our children grow is one of nature's priceless gifts.

But with the good, there is also the bad.

Not everyone has enough water to drink or food to eat. Natural disasters, famine and dearth are everyday life for many. Some people don't get the chance to watch the galaxies ~ and it would not be a priority for them, anyway, because their children are dying of thirst and malnutrition. They don't always get to watch them grow.

White Cliffs of Dover - Copyright Tricia Mason
White Cliffs of Dover - Copyright Tricia Mason

Some Conclusions - Reactions to 'God'

If we are going to praise God for the beauties, then should we also blame him for the ills?

If we are going to say that only a creator God could produce such perfect beauty, then shouldn't we ask why he has also caused so much despair?

Indeed, though, should we recognise any of this as the work of God at all?

Why should it only make sense for beauty to exist, if God made it?

Furthermore, if God exists, then why does he have to be as described in the Bible?

If God exists, then God could be some abstract power, or set of logical rules. Certainly, the universe seems to follow a set of rules. And those rules often lead to apparent beauty and perfection ~ but not always.

There is some logic to disaster ~ whether it is people being wiped out by a tsumami, or lambs being eaten by wolves.

Wolves have to eat to survive and lambs or rabbits serve the food purpose.

Some areas of the Earth are overpopulated ~ natural disasters, famines for example ~ reduce the population.

Logic ~ but not beauty.

Death and destruction are not beautiful.

Ruin after the Tsunami

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_050102-N-9593M-031_A_village_near_the_coast_of_Sumatra_lays_in_ruin_after_the_Tsunami_that_struck_South_East_Asia.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_050102-N-9593M-031_A_village_near_the_coast_of_Sumatra_lays_in_ruin_after_the_Tsunami_that_struck_South_East_Asia.jpg
Evening Sky - Copyright Tricia Mason
Evening Sky - Copyright Tricia Mason

Some Conclusions - Delights and Ills

I think that it is unlikely that a Creator God would toy with his 'children' in the way that some Christians believe that he would ~ either in Bible stories, or in the real world of natural disasters.

I feel that, while natures beauties are indeed a delight; the ills of nature balance them out. Thus, while a sunset might make one want to believe that it is a reflection of God's glory, viewing a lion eat an impala alive would not.

God may or may not exist, but, if God deliberately drowns his creation ~ whether in the days of Noah's Ark, or as a result of recent Tsunamis ~ then I cannot consider these acts to be in any way 'beautiful'. Hence, I cannot equate this version of God only, or specifically, with beauty.

Indeed, for God to behave like this does not make sense.

Either God does not behave like this, in which case why and how do the 'evils' occur; or he does behave like this, and it isn't beautiful at all; or there is no God; or God exists but not in the way that Christians perceive him.

Lions Eat Their Prey - A Buffalo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lions_taking_down_cape_buffalo.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lions_taking_down_cape_buffalo.jpg

'Double Alaskan Rainbow' photographed by by Eric Rolph

Photo adapted by Tricia Mason. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Double-alaskan-rainbow.jpg
Photo adapted by Tricia Mason. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Double-alaskan-rainbow.jpg | Source

Evolution

If Christians believe that God could simply have come into existence, then why can they not accept that life, the universe and everything simply came into existence?

Certainly, life's origins are still something of a mystery, but evolution easily explains the rest of the conundrum of life on Earth, and evolutionary theory is far more logical than any creation stories from religion and mythology ~ including the ones in the Bible.

Young Lamb by Peter Shanks

Edited version of commons image: 'Lamb first steps', by Peter Shanks from Lithgow, Australia. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lamb_first_steps_%28edited%29.jpg.
Edited version of commons image: 'Lamb first steps', by Peter Shanks from Lithgow, Australia. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lamb_first_steps_%28edited%29.jpg. | Source

Does it Make Sense?

To paraphrase the original questioner:

If there is / was a Creator, who planned and made the earth, and all creation, with all of its beauties and complexities, then why did he also make the bad things?

Why does he allow gentle animals to be torn apart by stronger ones?

Why does he send famine and drought and hurricanes and floods?

Why does he allow so much suffering, in his beautiful world?

How can such disorder and distress exist alongside order and beauty?

How can this happen, if a Creator planned it all?"

Why would a Creator want, or allow, such horrors to be experienced by his creation?

It just does not make any sense!

Perhaps it is more logical to question whether there is any Creator at all ~ or, at least, to question the existence of a personal God.

There is no proof that God exists, but, if the beauties of the Universe are to be seen as evidence for his existence, then the evils of the Universe should also be viewed as evidence for his existence. If that is the case, then what does this all tell us about the being, whom Christians consider to be our Creator?

Is he supposed to be a reflection of beauty, or ugliness, or both?

What is the solution?

NGC 4414 - Galaxy in Coma Berenices

public domain. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NGC_4414_%28NASA-med%29.jpg . http://nix.larc.nasa.gov/info;jsessionid=1sl2so6lc9mab?id=GPN-2000-000933&orgid=12 Author  NASA Headquarters - Greatest Images of NASA (NASA-HQ-GRIN)
public domain. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NGC_4414_%28NASA-med%29.jpg . http://nix.larc.nasa.gov/info;jsessionid=1sl2so6lc9mab?id=GPN-2000-000933&orgid=12 Author NASA Headquarters - Greatest Images of NASA (NASA-HQ-GRIN) | Source

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Comments 51 comments

AntonOfTheNorth profile image

AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago from The Land Up Over

Hi Trish,

This is an excellent hub. I like the flow, the thought and the emotion attached to it.

"or God exists but not in the way that Christians perceive him."

I would go further and say 'if god exists it CANNOT be the way humans perceive him (her,it)'

But now, an attempt to take you further down the rabbit hole :)

I think there's another hub on 'what is beauty?' to be had.

If we are alive, it is because something has died. Life is always at something's expense. Death is as important to life as anything else.

Death is, therefore, not evil. It is essential. It is inevitable.

The fact that living beauty exists at all is a direct result of something dying.

Few animals die without pain. And if there is a way for an animal to eat another animal without tearing it apart, I have yet to come across it. (except swallowing it whole, but i'm pretty sure the dark, suffocating acid bath is less pleasant than the much quicker death afforded to the wildebeast)

Destruction of something is necessary to build anything else, since we are unable to create something from nothing. (I'm not convinced that the creator can do that either, but that's another hub) ;)

The beauty is not in the destruction, the beauty is that out of destruction comes something else. Something ordered, rational, functional and perhaps to us, beautiful. Out of death comes more life.

Dying does not make us less, it makes us more.

(Now, this is only true if there is a part of us that is beyond the normal life cycle.)

The 'glowing mum' you mention is only possible if mum eats. Everything she eats of any value to her and her child was alive once. Even if she is vegetarian, those plants fed on something alive before them, and back on into time.

The order, the beauty in the universe is that no matter what was thrown at life, life has still found a way.

A natural disaster is only a disaster if we mourn the loss of life or property, or the loss of our order. (the tsunamis, the hurricanes). Otherwise, the patterns of force in either can be awe-inspiring and quite beautiful. (If I'm in it, however, I'm pretty certain I wouldn't notice that)

The incredibly destructive conversion of hydrogen that is the sun is absolutely essential to our life on earth. No one mourns the conversion of inanimate matter.

And the farther away the disaster, the less we care about it as such. Its just the stellar process that created the building blocks that we are made of.

But isn't it beautiful that a stellar catastrophe led to the beginning of life on earth?

And if the big bang was true, don't you think that might have been a sight to witness, if we could have survived it? (Maybe we did)

Emotion is the primary human teacher. Go back in memory to any lesson you value and I'm willing to bet you remember its emotional impact as well or better than the intellectual one.

If I'm a creator, and I want to teach the sentient beings in my creation about good and bad, I don't write a book. I create good and bad and give them the wherewithall to understand it and affect it.

I don't shield them from the consequences.

And remember, we are talking (if we are talking as the christians do) about sentient beings with a soul that survives life, possibly forever. Life in that context is barely an eyeblink. So while the suffering is real, it is brief to the soul that survives it.

And if we knew all that, if we could be certain that we would survive life, we wouldn't value it as much. We wouldn't make every effort to stay in it and experience it.

The good is here to keep us interested and to make us strive for more. Good is addictive to a life form. So much so that most societies consider 'good' to be normal and everything else to be an aberration.

The bad is here to teach us what to avoid. What to take action against, what to strive to prevent.

The leading cause of death is life. If we wish to eliminate death, we will also eliminate life.

But the fact that the great recycling vat that we come from exists and functions. . . that seems to me to be more than random.

Some say the order is illusory. It is not rational, but imposed by us. They might be right.

Does that make the ordered process in the brain that allows the rationalist to make that statement illusory too? If this cosmic order is illusory, what about the order of neural processes that makes rational thought possible?

If that order is subjective, then so is reason.

If it is not, then objective order really does exist.

Both positions have little to do with the bible.

Thanks for writing. Please keep doing so.

cheers


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello AntonOfTheNorth :)

Interesting ~ but not satisfying, as far as I am concerned, I'm afraid.

It was my late father, who said to me, when I was a child, that one reason for not believing in a loving father creator God, was the animals ripping each other apart. Suffering should not be a necessity, if a loving creator God exists.

And the God described, in the hub I reference, is God as described in the Bible ~ a cruel and vengeful figure, if ever there was one.

I agree that 'A natural disaster is only a disaster if we mourn the loss of life or property, or the loss of our order. (the tsunamis, the hurricanes). Otherwise, the patterns of force in either can be awe-inspiring and quite beautiful'. Indeed, I said something very similar in my article.

However, it is not beautiful for those who suffer.

Suffering may be necessary ~ but it is not beautiful, and it is all part of 'creation'.


AntonOfTheNorth profile image

AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago from The Land Up Over

Hi again,

"Suffering should not be a necessity, if a loving creator God exists."

How then do we learn the nature of suffering? It appears to be important to our personal well being that we are able to take the measure of suffering. (I'm being too light here. Another hub perhaps)

We warn each other (most especially our children) about the consequences of our actions, but few children believe they can be hurt until they are. Mostly we don't learn to avoid the fire until it burns us.

My father ignored all the warnings about cigarettes until he was dying of lung cancer at the end of his life. Then he understood.

We only learn about suffering when engaged in it. (or joy, or happiness)

All I am offering is that unless we know the purpose of a creator, we can't really hold how one thing or another is unnecessary.

Definitely suffering is part of creation. And your hub makes that point very well. Anyone who believes in a creator has to accept that suffering is part of it.

I believe however that the fact that suffering exists does not rule out a creator, though it does lead us into a real discussion about the nature of one. Like you, I don't think we can restrict our conversation to the bible in this discussion.

Beauty is, as you quote, in the eye of the beholder. I submit you can find some entity that finds the result of any destruction beautiful. (That same lion who looks at her cub that is healthy because of the dead wildebeast would be a case in point.)

I envision a creator who is bound by natural laws, not above them, so magically removing suffering does not feel to me to be viable, and still have life as it is now.

But of course, that can also be the reason NOT to accept or believe in a creator. . . :)

cheers


chatpilot profile image

chatpilot 5 years ago from Bronx, NY

Trish this was a well written hub I could not have done a better job myself. I especially like this quote: "If Christians believe that God could simply have come into existence, then why can they not accept that life, the universe and everything simply came into existence?"

Christians love to play a little game called question begging. They state that nothing that exist could exist without a first cause or prime mover. They state that something cannot come out of nothing. All that is good and well and makes sense, but when you turn this argument back to them regarding their God you get their silly reply.

God is the first cause of everything, he is the Alpha and the Omega the beginning and the end of all things. But all this does is raise a further difficulty if God created all things than where did God come from? There is not a Christian in the world that can answer this question in a satisfactory manner.

Regarding the rest of the topic I have always believed that it makes much more sense to believe in a natural world without God. The randomness of nature explains natural disasters naturally, adding a God just complicates matters more. We know what causes tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, etc. without the wrath of God.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Chatpilot :)

Yes, certainly, we know the 'causes of tornadoes, earthquakes', etc, as you say, 'without the wrath of God' and, indeed, 'adding a God' does 'complicates matters' ~ for various reasons.

One reason is that we would then have to accept that he has deliberately made many members of his creation suffer enormously and for no good reason.

Why make a loving couple suffer a cot death, for example, yet give healthy innocent children to paedophile abusers?

Hi AntonOfTheNorth :)

Yes, maybe suffering is good for the soul, but an omnipotent God could have created his world differently. He didn't have to make wolves rip lambs apart for food.

And, if we look at his supposed behaviour in the Bible, he didn't have to engage in a wager with Satan, resulting in all Job's suffering.

You say: "I envision a creator who is bound by natural laws, not above them, so magically removing suffering does not feel to me to be viable, and still have life as it is now".

Fair enough, but, I would suggest that, for most Believers, God is, actually, all about magic, though they would never use that term.

When God is answering prayers and Jesus is performing miracles etc, etc ~ that is all about 'magic' and disobeying the laws of nature.

*

My comments on this subject may seem a little disjointed. This is because I am looking at God, both as a general super-being, who may or may not exist and who may or may not have created life, and also as the specific super-being, described in the Bible. This is because 'Avory Shell' was talking about God of the Bible, and this hub is my response to her comments.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi AntonOfTheNorth :)

Thank you for commenting on this hub. Your contributions are much appreciated :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Chatpilot ~ Thank you for your kind and interesting comments. :)


AntonOfTheNorth profile image

AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago from The Land Up Over

Hey Trish,

exactly why I admire the hub. The notion that god is only responsible for the beauty but somehow humans are reponsible for the pain is flawed. If, as the christian's believe, god made everything except god, there is responsibility there as well for all of it.

cheers


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Anton ~ yes, true!


writeronline 5 years ago

Jeez, trish, you are so cerebral!

I had to read this twice, and even then I don’t understand it.

Actually, that’s not quite true. If I take your question, (which to me, is the essence of the piece, because all related debate flows from it): “If Christians believe that God could simply have come into existence, then why can they not accept that life, the universe and everything simply came into existence?”, then I do have a clear point of view, though not a direct answer. But it’s not mystical, nor magical, and certainly not cerebral. (Bear with me, this is pretty straightforward...so it’ll never fly, I know)

To me, it all boils down to one simple Human Need. (A need that animals don’t have, which is why they behave so badly). Just humans. And that’s the need for, Comfort.

Christians are able to endure, through the Comfort that God provides them, all that is terrible during life here on Earth. And to enjoy, the Comfort of knowing that He will be there, in life after death. Whatever happens is God’s will. Whether it’s good, or whether it’s bad, it’s all God’s will. Christian belief in God is also the insurance policy to end all insurance policies, so why challenge it? Better to believe, be seen to believe, and be in to win the afterlife lottery. The premium payable for this ‘Life and Beyond’ insurance cover is simply a willingness to replace logic, rationality and science, with Faith. Which of course, has no need of proof. In fact, to even question, (as you have done) is to blaspheme. Hallelujah, pass me another altar boy. (sorry, that last may be an unfairly generalised comment... :)

For the rationalists among us, a willingness to instead accept the random violent acts of nature, and the awesome uncertainty of the universe, coupled with the conscious choice to not believe in God, removes the particular element of Comfort that Christians enjoy. But it also removes the need for explanation of all things that happen, whether beautiful or ugly, (as expressed in your article). Nature doesn’t distinguish, the universe doesn’t care, and because we haven’t imbued nature or the universe with god-like qualities (which are in fact, simply reflections of human emotions), we waste no time analysing or interpreting these events.

Us atheists are perfectly Comfortable in our own belief that: Life happens. Good happens. Shit happens. Death happens.

The End.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Writeronline :)

Thank you for taking the trouble to read and comment.

Yes, I think that many Christians do gain a lot of comfort from their faith ~ and that, as you say, this acceptance of however God / Jesus / the Bible is presented does remove the need for explanation of all things that happen, whether beautiful or ugly'.

In the case of many Christians, though ~ including the lady I quoted ~ nothing is ugly and bad; everything is beautiful ~ and this is proof of God's existence.

I agree that the world is a beautiful and miraculous place, but I know that there is, amongst the beauty, much that is ugly. So the ugliness must be as much a reflection of God ~ if God exists ~ as is the beauty.

Once the Bible is brought into the equation, we can choose from a plethora of ugliness that is attributed to God.

I call myself agnostic, because I cannot possibly know whether or not something intelligent, miraculous, creative, Godly and beyond my imagination exists ~ but there certainly are still some unexplained mysteries that appear to be 'supernatural', so I just don't know.

I do not think that any potential God would be as described in the Bible, though. I certainly hope not!

Though agnostic, I do share many opinions with some atheists. :)

Life is at is is. There may or may not be a power, force or entity which could be called 'God', but I certainly don't think that there has to be ~ that the world and life could not otherwise exist.


stessily 5 years ago

Trish_M: I am so glad that this hub has reappeared. I received the notification, as your appreciative follower (!) of its release, but several days passed before I could read it. Imagine the downcast, puzzled expressions on my face when I clicked on the link yesterday evening only to receive the message that the hub did not exist! I stewed and castigated myself, reminding myself of other delays in which I thought something would be there for me only to be disappointed that when I was ready, that something had disappeared (I'm thinking specifically of hubs by Kevin Schofield, which I put off smugly for the right moments only to discover that he's no longer on hubpages). Imagine my happiness today in half-heartedly clicking on the link, not knowing why I did it, and discovering that miracles do exist, that wishes can come true!

At any rate, whatever happened, I am so glad that this hub is available. Please keep it available. Something I really admire about your hubs is your intelligent compassion and your understanding that tackling the unpleasant problem of suffering must be considered in any sincere attempts to glean the underlying schematics behind order and chaos, beauty and ugliness. By the way, not to detract from your own intrinsic intelligent compassion, I glimpse that outlook both in your father's prescient point referenced in this hub and in your grandmother's insight in your exceptional hub on executions in World War I.

Voted up + useful + beautiful + awesome

Kind regards, Stessily


ournote2self profile image

ournote2self 5 years ago

Great post! God is a loving and kind God and he has created all things. Thanks for the uplifting words.


AntonOfTheNorth profile image

AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago from The Land Up Over

@ writeronline

"(A need that animals don’t have, which is why they behave so badly). Just humans. And that’s the need for, Comfort."

???? Animals don't have a need for comfort? Sure they do, as I understand the word. Are you referring to spritual comfort? If so, how do you know?

cheers


AntonOfTheNorth profile image

AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago from The Land Up Over

also @ writeronline:

"the conscious choice to not believe in God. . .also removes the need for explanation of all things that happen"

This is almost precisely the theist argument in reverse, to whit: "the conscious choice to believe in god removes the need for a rational proof of his existence"

Reality won't care one way or another. What you believe doesn't make the questions go away or change the effect of their answers, its just a way for one side to ignore the point of view of another.

It's why religion is so dangerous, because all religions tend to exclude not only an atheist or agnostic view point, but other theists as well.

Both theists and atheists hold their positions because it pleases them to do so. Both seek their reasons in different ways, and the more strident of them maintain that the other side is wrong/stupid/misguided to believe what they do.

We don't know. We can't know. Anyone who tells you they do is selling something.

cheers


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Oh my goodness!

Such a lot to reply to !!! :) :) :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Stessily :)

First may I thank you for reading and for commenting so kindly :)

Much appreciated!

Yes, my late father and I used to discuss lots of very interesting subjects.

And my grandmother (it was my Mum's mum who I was referring to) often came out with little gems of wisdom.

I think that many of us could learn a lot from our elders, if we did but listen.

Second, may I apologise for accidentally clicking on 'publish', before I had even written the hub!!! :) Mea culpa :(


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello ournote2self :)

Thank you very much for commenting so positively ~ however, I am not sure that you have taken from this quite what was intended. :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi again Anton :)

Animals certainly need comfort, but not religious comfort, it seems :)

I think that believing in God does remove the need for explanations, because it supposedly provides all of the explanations that one is ever supposed to need. God is the answer.

I also think that believing in God does remove the need for a rational proof of his existence, because with the belief goes faith. With faith, there is no need for proof. Faith is the answer.


chatpilot profile image

chatpilot 5 years ago from Bronx, NY

@Writeronline, I believe it is much more than comfort that humans seek in religious beliefs. It is also about control, no one likes to feel that he can't control or somehow influence his destiny or what lies ahead. The thought that there is a supreme, loving, and caring father figure in the heavens that watches over everything is comforting and reassuring through tough times.

Just as a child may look up to his/her dad as their protector and guide Christians look up to God. No matter how hard life may come at them they know that somewhere in all of this God is in control and has a plan that they will somehow benefit from in the end.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Yes, Chatpilot, resulting in the old adage: 'God will provide'.


AntonOfTheNorth profile image

AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago from The Land Up Over

Hey Trish,

I often wonder if dolphins wonder. Their brains are bigger than ours, they have a language which we will likely never interpret, a sense of family, of play and of individuality, all of which is well documented.

I would be interested in their point of view if they have one, and if we ever learn to understand them. . .

cheers


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Yes, Anton, I wonder about them, too. :)

The member 'Diogenes' told me about this video ~ have a look:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBYPlcSD490


Tony K. 5 years ago

Interesting debate all,

Can't help stoking the fire a bit.

It appears the main theme of discusion is the posibility of God's exsistance, that's my perception anyway.

As is often the case, people take up sides to either support or denounce a idea or set of beliefs. This creates the duality complex of right, wrong, good, bad, evolution, creationism. Yet in all this talk of God, I have yet to see anyone define what God is. Where does God end and human begin?

What makes God, godly? Is it the power to create or destroy? Must not be that because humans have the same ability. I know purists of creationism say only God has that power as proved by the fashion in which Jesus was concieved. That however would mean Mary had no part in it. I find that hard to believe. Even if it was her faith that made her a canidate out of how many other women, it still shows she played a role through how she lived her life.

So we come to Choice.

Choice creates cause, and effect. Does that mean the force that moves all the universe so named God, is the energy of choice?

Back to if God exsists or not. Instead of staying in the world of either or, which is the seed of war, purhaps consider a third possibility.

Allow God. Not as a force that limits and judges you, but as a vehicle of choice that moves the world from one moment to the next.

God is not to be cast, nor praised. God is to be enacted.

In so doing, the perception of seperation between God and man dissolves. Faith is respected and science, accepted.

I'm not saying you have to agree with me. Just thought I'd throw my two cents in. As has always been, the choice is yours.


AntonOfTheNorth profile image

AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago from The Land Up Over

Hey Trish,

Thanks! The video was awesome!

@Tony K.

If god is to be enacted, then it follows god requires us or some other entity to enact god. This is not much different from the notion the non-theists have: that god is simply an enaction of human will and has no reality beyond that.

Not that I disagree with your position. Faith and science respected and accepted is the answer to the entire debate and indeed many of the world's problems.

As long as we differentiate between faith and religion, as they are not at all the same thing.

cheers


stessily 5 years ago

Trish_M: Thank you for including the link, per Diogenes, to "Saving Valentina." I treasure that video! I love the child's comment, "She’s showing us that she’s all free." Children know!

I have always had an affinity for nature, and in my zoological oceanography days I loved dolphins but was absolutely mesmerized by whales --- their songs, their gracefulness, their mammothly sleek beauty. It is awesome that they were able to be so close to Valentina and to help her.

I have never been able to see "animals" as dumb and less intelligent. It's a different intelligence, and besides they understand our language far better than we understand theirs. This is the beautiful part of the universe, the easy part, and I thank you for reminding all of us of this awesome aspect through this video.

:) Stessily

P.S. I'm adding "interesting" to my votes on this hub.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Tony K :

Thanks for joining in.

I have often said that, if God exists, then he could be defined very differently from the way Christians, and other religious Believers, define him.

Many Christians believe in a personal God ~ a superbeing, but sort of like us, since we are made in his image, but I have suggested that God could simply be the power / force / logic behind the universe ~ something amazing but abstract; something that we might otherwise call '(Mother) Nature'.

Your theory is as good as any other :)

You say "It appears the main theme of discussion is the possibility of God's existence", and, I suppose that it is, in a way, but my hub is more about the way Christians interpret God ~ as 'beauty'. (I have done another one regarding God as 'love'.)

I agree that 'Nature' is beautiful ~ but it is also terrifying and ugly at times.

Christians worship God as 'he' is described in the Bible ~ and, in the Bible, God is responsible for some more terrifying and ugly events.

It is not enough to say "How could the Earth, and all Creation, be so Beautiful, without a Creator?" because that does not allow for all of the ugliness.

Yes, it all comes back to the existence of God ~ but more so the Christian perception of this God, who may or may not exist.

Thanks for your ideas :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Anton and Stessily :) :)

I'm glad that you liked the whale video ~ it's amazing, isn't it! ~ and very grateful that Diogenes pointed it out to me :)

I think that the more you get to know animals, the more intelligent they seem to become:)


Tony K 5 years ago

Greetings, Anton of the North,

My perception is that there are no requirements demanded upon us other then by our self. Possibilities abound to enact in a godly or demonic fashion. But they are only options considered by the third point of self. Yet, the presense of self does not wholely illiminate the existance of a greater force then what can be seen in any one moment. This lends to this force a reality greater then the passing will of the human.

I agree with the difference between faith and religion and compare it to the difference between government and politics.

Cheers to you as well


Tony K. 5 years ago

Hello Trish M,

Thanks for being willing to speak your piece.

I understand a little better the point you were making regarding if God has a idenity the way many Christians see "him." I agree with you about a more abstract force, however to name the force (Mother) Nature still places an idenity tag to this force based solely on the view from a human understanding. Thus, we would be creating God in our image. I understand some of this is natural for the ease of communication.

Perhaps, the statement about us being created in his image can be viewed from a less dense structure. As we seek to free god from our sterotypes, maybe it requires us to free ourselves from the same sterotypes. We are more then the meat-suits we move about in and in our essense, likely to be just as abstract as how we see God.

Now, getting back to the statement which started this all, "How could the Earth and all Creation, be so Beautiful without a Creator?"

The question you quote can only come from a perception which states beauty can't develop from random action but must be constructed by design. That does defy logic, as the description of random means not ending up with the same result each time. Therefore, the development of all creation would contain both beauty and ugliness as a natural course of action.

If we take a step back, understanding that both beauty and ugliness are in the eye of the beholder, We can choose to see all creation as beautiful, ugly, or any combination of the two.

We could say, all creation is energy. It adapts and develops in accordance with a fluid environment. The energies that move in harmony with the surroundings remain in the density of form longer which allows for the development of greater capabilities based on experience. From these experiences, the pulp, or mud of creation can be structured by design, which makes the energy doing the design a creator.

Once again, I can see the point wherein both perceptions are not only viable, but work together to form all that is. From creator comes randomness, from randomness comes creator. Niether predates the other, but occur in the same breath.

Thanks for creating this conversation.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Tony K :)

I am not saying that we have to call any potential power, or force, 'Mother Nature', any more than that we should call it 'God'. Rather, I am saying that this is what we already call it ~ and that it suffices. By using the term 'God', so many other unspoken ideas are included. This happens less if we use the term 'Mother Nature',

However, we do not have to call it 'God', 'Mother Nature', or anything else. We can admit that we simply do not know if any such 'idea' exists ~ abstract or otherwise ~ or that, if it does exist, it would probably be beyond our knowledge and understanding. After all, there is much that is beyond the capacity of our brains, and anything that we might term a creator God would have to be, by definition, beyond all and any of it.

If we do have an 'essence' or 'soul', then, yes, I would imagine that this is ' likely to be just as abstract as how we see God'. I do not know whether or not we have a 'soul', but I do know that my mother has seen a ghost and that I seem to have received messages from beyond the grave. I cannot explain these events and I am quite skeptical, in many ways, so it is a mystery to me. It is what causes me to be agnostic, rather than atheist. It also provides a theory of God for me.

We realise that people of the past were mystified by the unexplained and that this has resulted in spiritual behaviour and beliefs. It has resulted in Gods and in religions. Thunder and lightening, disease, etc, etc, could all be explained as the work of God.

We now understand thunder and disease, but we still do not understand near death experiences, ghosts, voices from beyond death, etc, etc. I believe that these experiences have resulted in a belief in a personal God ~ a being like us, but a 'super-being', who can talk to us and answer our prayers etc. Thus we created God in our own image.

So we have a two-fold God ~ one is the unimaginable creator of everything; the other is the personal friend. The Bible and other sacred scriptures attempt to record these two abstract ideas / beliefs / experiences / whatever ~ which may or may not exist in one form or another and which none of us really understands.

As you say, the quote I gave 'can only come from a perception which states beauty can't develop from random action but must be constructed by design'. As you say, random creation would result in a creation, which contains 'both beauty and ugliness as a natural course of action'. Thank you ~ I hadn't thought of that before!

And yes, I appreciate your comment that 'We can choose to see all creation as beautiful, ugly, or any combination of the two', but I feel that Christians often simply ignore what the majority would term bad / ugly / unpleasant ~ or they explain it away. Though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, society generally condemns certain uglinesses ~ torture and abuse, for example. Child murder and abuse are 'uglinesses' that God seems to allow ~ both in the real world and in the Bible. No-one could call this 'beauty'.

I am not a scientist, but I think that it is probably correct to say that 'all creation is energy' ~ and even that the 'mud of creation COULD be structured by design, which makes the energy doing the design a creator', so that they 'work together to form all that is'. That is a possibility. It may or may not be correct, or incorrect, or partly-correct. Who knows?! :)


Highvoltagewriter profile image

Highvoltagewriter 5 years ago from Savannah GA.

Great hub Trish..well layed out and writen! To bad no body created it!!:)

Oh by the way,,you should pop by for I have finally wrote a conclusion to that last series on your old buddy Lucifer!


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago

Trish, this kind of exchange of thought and belief is, in my humble opinion, healthy...it allow us to get to see, hear, feel and understand what others think, see, hear, feel and understand. It may change us or not but if we are honest and open-minded we will listen and perhaps reflect.

I remember driving a stretch of highway in California...the mountains on one side of the highway were beautiful with color and design...I couldn't help but think about this wonderful and breathtakingly beautiful sculpture of a mountain. I stopped to take in as much as I could. "Who can deny the existance of God, I thought. In that moment my focus of energy was on the beauty and nothing else mattered--for that moment in time.

This was a wonderful hub, a great outpouring of though and, I believe, love for the words that brought your thoughts and your research to life.

I look forward to reading more.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Highvoltagewriter :)

Thanks for reading!

I'll pop over and take a look at your new 'Lucifer' hub. :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Dee / Nonna :)

Thank you for your lovely comments. :)

I agree that it is healthy to discuss beliefs and ideas ~ and I do know what you mean, about the sight of beautiful mountains, etc, making one feel spiritual, and as if one were experiencing an especially charged moment.


Learn Things Web profile image

Learn Things Web 5 years ago from California

Mountains are beautiful but keep in mind that they are formed through horrifying events, such as volcanoes and earthquakes.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

If you are really interested in this subject, I might suggest "The Problem of Pain" by C.S. Lewis.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Learn Things Web :)

Yes, indeed, much that is beautiful in nature also has a negative and not so beautiful side to it.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello James :)

Thanks for having a look!

I consider C.S. Lewis to be a very interesting individual.

I'll see if I can find that item. Thanks for recommending it :)


stessily 5 years ago

Trish_M: As a cradle Episcopalian with Church of England great-grandparents, I grew up with C.S. Lewis’ writings. His creativity and intelligence never cease to amaze me --- in addition to the never-ending timeliness of his writings. He was something for everyone to think about, believers, agnostics, atheists, the puzzled and bereft. My thanks to James A. Watkins for referencing him. I thought of both C.S. Lewis and William Butler Yeats' "The Two Trees" while reading this hub. Really great poets have such a talent for reducing tomes of complex thoughts to a single poem!

I would also like to suggest two hubs by parrster: “Did God Foresee This?” and “The Problem of Suffering”.

I just re-read your hub, and your sincerity and deep exploration of sensitive issues, written clearly and oftentimes poetically, are very engaging.

Kind regards, Stessily

P.S. I noticed your personal photo of mallow in this hub. A British Isle native, mallow charmed even the Roman invaders. Its common name (mallow) and genus name (Althaea) are derived from Greek words meaning “to soften” and “to cure”, respectively. Pliny the Elder extolled any and all mallows, stating that a daily swallowing of half a wine-ladle of the juice of any mallow immunizes from all diseases!


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi :)

I was introduced to C S Lewis, as a child, when I read ~ and loved ~ 'The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe'. However, it wasn't until I was an adult, and started reading a lot about J R R Tolkien, and his relationship with Lewis, and Lewis's conversion, that I learned more about his religious life. Both brilliant and fascinating men.

Stessily ~ I'll have a look at those hubs :)

And thank you for the information on the mallow. I didn't know all that, so was very pleased that you added it :)


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA

Hi Trish, just read your hub and scanned the various responses. I love your demand for consistency. You keep us Christians honest. I agree that the same God that is responsible for the beauty is ultimately responsible for the ugly. He could have prevented all the uglies but didn't. If I could explain that, I'd be God. I'm willing to live with the mystery and the unexplained, for I'm captured by His love in Christ.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Thanks for writing a hub so many have been drawn to respond to. It has been facinating to read. As someone who has a faith in God like I have green eyes and am five feet five inches tall (it is just part of who I am) I am interested in the opinions of those who think differently on the subject. There are those who say faith is a gift. I don't know why we don't all get it.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi liftandsoar ~ Good to 'see' you again.

Thanks for reading and commenting ~ even though we are on different sides of the fence :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Kathleen ~ Thanks for reading. :)

I'm glad you enjoyed it ~ it seems that, like LiftandSoar, you are also on the other side of the fence, so I appreciate your kind comments :)


TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 4 years ago

A friend of mine who is a devout Catholic and who worked in a hospital trauma center for years told me that those who claim to not believe in God always start praying when they think they're going to die! Interesting take, huh? This is probably the most well written hub I've ever read. I did find one typo..the word death somehow got an r just before the t. You really ought to make this into a book...it was fascinating reading. Voted up and awesome.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Time Traveller :)

Thank you very much for reading this, and for commenting ~ much appreciated!

What your friend said, about people praying, is very interesting. I am certain that, if there is a straw to be clutched at, then most would do so ~ and quite understandably, I would say.

However, I do not think that it is always the case. I am not aware of my father having prayed, when he was dying, for example, but it is possible.

Did you mean my use of 'dearth'? It was intentional ~ but perhaps it didn't quite fit here? I'll have to have a think about it :)


Anandkg22 profile image

Anandkg22 3 years ago

God is good and therefore all his creation is good and it is also true that when we are good in spiritual conscience we see and experience the goodness of our creator.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 3 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Anandkg22 :)

Thank you for reading.

But ...

Hmm. Is disease good? Is violent crime good? Are drought and famine good? Is it good that some animals rip others apart on order to survive?

I think that we need to see the bad in order to deal with it. And there is plenty of it.


Eddie 15 months ago

I read somewhere that, "God does not destroy Nature by the action of His Grace: He perfects it."

As a little insignificant creature floating around in space on a ball of rock circling a medium sized star, at the edge of a galaxy,( amongst billions out there), clawing his way through day to day trying to stay alive amongst and within the confines of this species called, Homo Sapiens, to conclude that I'm a part of a cosmic evolutionary perfecting process is beyond any rational attributes that may be inherent in my limited mental capacities to comprehend, considering all the destructive disarray that seems to happen on a quite regular basis throughout the Universe.

Religious explanations are that Faith and Reason(Science), are compatible realities of understanding the quest for a perfecting Nature of the Universe, with the ultimate resolution of Cosmic destiny being renewed and Heaven as the Eternal Realm of perfect spiritual existence.

Atheists go by empirical reasoning alone, and Agnostics are apparently somewhere in between.

A Native -American Chief once said, as the Europeans were usurping their lands and trying to convert them; "Religion was fine until it got into the hands of people."

I've always felt that the Native People had, and still have, a spiritual beauty and wisdom regarding the perfecting Grace of the Great Spirit.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 15 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Eddie :)

I think that spirituality is potentially a good thing; organised religion less so.

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