When Was Nature Good?


When Was Nature Good?

I may be incorrect, I'm stepping out of my melieu. T.S. O'Rama seems to suggest that fallen nature is no longer good.

Let's take a look at nature herself - astonishingly beautiful, right? And good, indeed good - but good before the Fall, right? Nature can be pretty ruthless, amoral, in the whole sense of prey or be preyed upon. Natural selection isn't pretty. Can't art be beautiful but deadly, like some gorgeous but poisonous coral?

I would argue rather that fallen nature, just as with fallen man, is still good, but it is (pardon the pun) fatally flawed. The apparent amorality of nature, so wonderfully portrayed in Frost's "Design" is not suggestive of a lack of goodness, but perhaps a lack of understanding on our part. Yes, a coral snake is deadly, but not unless you go chasing after it. Most snakes (not all) would prefer no entanglement with humans. The getting and consuming of food has its unpleasant side--but is it either amoral or immoral? I think not.

Another weakness here is the argument by analogy. Can art be beautiful and deadly? Well, Satan can appear as an Angel of Light, so much is true. But I think an intrinsic quality of earthly beauty is goodness. I guess I would almost argue that it is a tautology. If the thing is not good, not matter how appealing its exterior, it is not beautiful. By not being good it breaks the platonic triad. Now, that, of course, assumes that Plato was correct, and I don't know that to be the case at all. But I know that my moral sensibility usually reacts violently to things said to be beautiful (some of the writing of the Marquis de Sade, for example) which carry their own poison. Naturally this all depends on definitions. If one includes in the definition of beautiful the necessity of good, then the question vanishes. Of course it is far easier to argue specific cases.

I will have to work up a more cogent discussion of all the issues, but I'm not sure it is entirely feasible because it may involve the acceptance of certain postulates a priori which make the whole argument unnecessary. What I will say is that God can use any created thing for good. And to quote from Pollyanna (or perhaps its inverse) "When you look for the bad in people, expecting to find it, you surely will."

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 13, 2002 7:12 PM.

A Pertinent Reminder From Shakespeare, was the previous entry in this blog.

Some Reflections on the Nativity is the next entry in this blog.

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