- Religion and Philosophy
"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!
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.
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?
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.
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 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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
'Double Alaskan Rainbow' photographed by by Eric Rolph
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
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
- The Bible - Its Own Best Defense
- Those Troubling Scriptures
- Those "Disgusting" Scriptures
- The God who Makes us Suffer "on a Whim"?
- Did God Foresee this
- The Problem of Suffering
- Monotheism and the Problem of Suffering
My Related 'Hubs'
- The Execution of the Wood-Gatherer in Numbers 15 (Bible Old Testament / Hebrew Scriptures)
- The Destruction of the Babies and Children of Amalek ~ The Slaughter of the Amalekites
- 'God is Love' by Percy Dearmer ~ Analysis of a Popular Hymn
- Genghis (Chingis) Khan ~ and The Bible
- Lucifer - Devil, or King, or Morning Star, or Something Else?
- 'The Jesus Dynasty' by James D Tabor