Nature is not a God-person, but she is like a Queen, or force. She transcends man and creates, as it were, a sense of order and governance, but without consciousness. We are in her control; she must be respected and attended to, or else she will send storms or dry up our crops. Nature is good. Leftist environmentalists usually fall in this category.
Nature is a group of so many interacting forces. These forces are blind and controllable. If we can understand how they work, we can subdue them and use them to bring about human perfection. Man is more than serf, more than King, but God over Nature. She is nothing except a resource. Nature is neutral. This is the view often held by progressives.
Nature does not exist. We made it up. There are no borders or boundaries, distinctions or discriminations, save what the mind invents in order to function. Anything in Nature that we could call good or evil, great or small, is not actually so—we just think it is. Nature, life, is just an illusion. For this reason, Nature is evil and can only cause suffering. This is the view held by Buddhists.
Nature is a person. She is a thinking, feeling entity. All truth, goodness, justice, and beauty is sourced in her, and should not be looked for anywhere else. We would call people on this end of the spectrum pantheists, those who believe that Nature is God. It’s not that nature is good or evil; it’s that there is no good save Nature.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT VIEWS OF NATURE?
Drag the scrubber to each marker below to learn more.
Nature does not transcend man, but neither does man transcend Nature. God alone transcends Nature. Man is appointed to govern and beautify her, and since he is a part of her, the same call has him govern and beautify himself. The realm of Nature is distinct from the spiritual realm, in that she is still spiritual, only not purely so—as angels are. However, Nature is good, because she is something like a beginning phase orienting us toward the Divine, though she cannot ultimately bring us to Him. This is the view held historically by Christians.