I love being amidst nature… walking fern-filled valleys beneath tall eucalyptus trees; steep mountain climbs with the reward of breathtaking views from exposed peaks; wild, rugged coastline with jagged cliff tops and waves crashing below; wide empty beaches with pounding surf.
The awesome beauty of these places touches my spirit in a way that nothing else does… I am alone, but never lonely. My spirit cries out “Yes!” and I feel that I am home.
Sometimes when I describe my experience of nature to others they challenge me with rhetorical questions designed to lead me into their own personal belief framework…
“If these places have such amazing beauty who do you think is the Artist?”
“If creation is so amazing surely there must be a Creator?”
I’m sure they ask these questions with good intentions but I find them frustrating; perhaps even a little insulting. Do they think I have never considered these questions before? perhaps in greater depth than they have themselves? Why is it so difficult for them to accept and respect that I have reached a different conclusion?
For decades I believed without doubt, and without honest questioning, that God existed and was the Creator of all these things. But then my experience of life and my integrity got the better of me. It demanded I seriously question the beliefs scripted into my thinking during childhood, which I then maintained as an adult.
A case in point: If God created all the magnificent natural beauty around us did He also create the cyclone that has just devastated the people of Vanuatu? Both are examples of nature at work in its awesome way, but you are unlikely to hear someone citing the latter as evidence for a Creator God who loves the people He has created.
These days I am no longer sure that a Creator God exists, and I am far more content not being sure than when I “knew the Truth”. I feel much greater freedom not having to maintain beliefs that are not necessarily supported by the evidence before me.
Tragically it was fear of God’s disapproval, rejection and possible damnation that locked me into these beliefs for so long.
I no longer feel compelled to have an answer as to who, if anyone, is responsible for nature’s awesome beauty.
For me it is a far more authentic to just allow the question to “be”, to appreciate nature for what it is, and to wonder at the mystery of it all.