lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And ye
I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of
these" (Matt. 6:28-29)
which may be known of God is manifest…For the invisible things of Him from the
creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are
made, even His eternal power and Godhead" (Rom. 1:19-20)
We usually use nature’s gifts to satisfy our daily needs. At
the same time, we must sometimes defend ourselves against the forces of nature,
and even fight them sometimes. Science applies its full force to the study of
nature. This analysis is almost entirely dedicated to the application of
nature’s powers and resources in a practical, utilitarian manner. The aesthetic
rearing of plants is also motivated by a selfish desire to decorate our
surroundings. The study of animal life looks non-profit in most cases, with its
scientific observations and tests, but it usually stems from a materialistic worldview
and approach. This utilitarian and earthly character of assessing nature in its
sum total is regarded today as complete, intelligent, and rational.
But, of course, many people do not agree with this
one-sided, narrow, and egoistic view, nor with its
unhealthy influence on the human soul. If humanity as a whole declares:
"Everything is ours," then individual morality makes its own
conclusion: "Everything in front of me is for me," — and this is a
reason already for a violation of social laws and crimes. This is a simple and
We, on the contrary, live by Christian notions
that are independent of this practical rhetoric. Nature in its greatness and
fullness stands before our intellect. It is full of unsolved mysteries. It is
full of reason, which is most likely inaccessible totally for the human mind.
To the present day, unknown forces are revealed in nature’s most common events.
The entire universe, as well as its parts, has its own direction, coordination,
and purpose. It is full of reason.
It only remains for us to admit that the universe
does not need humans to care for it. Even more so, our activity is often a
violation of its rights. On the vast expanses of the earth dead plots or
lifeless construction has replaced the places of living vegetation.
But the greatness of God’s creative hand, seen in
nature, is not diminished by this. "The heavens declare the glory of
God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork" (Ps. 18:1) For this
reason the mentors, fathers and teachers of the Church, from ancient times to
the more recent, often direct our attention to nature — a preacher of God’s
power, goodness, and greatness. Thus St. Basil the Great in his work "Six
Days" described the birth of the universe in all its diversity, according
to the description in Genesis. His brother, St. Gregory, the Bishop of Nyssa,
followed up on the same subject, somewhat supplementing and clarifying Basil’s
words, and partly paying special attention to the origin of humanity. The
Venerable John Damascene in his dogmatic work "The Exposition of Orthodox
Faith" even included a chapter about the movements of the heavenly bodies
and their general formation, in accordance to the scientific ideas of that
time. And the righteous St. John of Kronstadt not only called to see God in
nature in his diary "My Life in Christ," but also said a long series
of sermons to his parishioners about life in nature, according to the
description of the six days of creation in the Bible.
We will now cite, by way of example, several
passages about the life of plants and the human organism from the work of St.
Gregory of Nyssa "About the Human System."
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