I was hiking/camping the other day and also attended a church where one of the people speaking shared about his love for the outdoors. I can relate to that. I love being outside and seeing God's creation. I feel like many Christians share this passion. It makes sense, especially when you consider the various places in scripture where God is praised for his creation (e.g. Ps 8, 19, 104). There is even some sense in which creation reveals who God is (Rom. 1:19-20).
In many cases this love for the outdoors and seeing God's glory in creation is viewed over against something like a city. There we see buildings, cars, computers etc. but not the beauty of a mountain. As I was thinking about this I started to wonder why we make this distinction.
It's probably because we see the earth (the "natural" parts of it) as created by God and buildings as created by man. However I don't know how significant this distinction is. Everything that exists exists because God willed it to exist. God then brings about His desired ends through the use of means. In creating what we see today and call beautiful (for instance, a mountain) it seems God used the means of erosion, weather, soil science, etc. This is what makes science intelligible.
Now what about a skyscraper in New York? Well, God must have willed its existence or else it wouldn't be there. This time the means he used were people. The difference here is that people are ethical agents, and sometimes their motives for building can be wrong, whereas erosion doesn't have a motive. So there are buildings that God doesn't like (e.g. tower of Bable, cf. Gen. 11), but on the other hand I think we should see beautiful buildings as a product of God's will and should still be able to look at it and see that it too sings of God's glory (Ps. 19:1-2). I think a skyscraper shows God's creativity and power as well as a mountain, for if God were not creative where would man (created in God's image) have gotten the capacity to make such a thing?
A few questions still remain in my mind. 1. Did God really use means when he created the world? In Genesis 1 it seems He just spoke and things were. It seems creation was miraculous in that sense, whereas buildings are not. But if God did not use means then seeing mountains as a result of erosion etc. doesn't make sense, yet that's what science tells us. I may be wading into deeper water here (e.g. evolution, age of the earth, etc.)
I'd love any comments on this one.