I was on my weekly tour of inspection at Billingsley church, noting how the weeds were starting to sprout again on the path. Then I was stopped in my tracks by a large mushroom. I’ve no idea what it was, all I knew was that I thought it was beautiful. Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but for me, there was something wonderful about the its cracked, leathery brown top with streaks of orange beneath.
Some people see beauty in nature as evidence of a loving creator God. I’m a bit wary of pushing that too far; the coronavirus is also a product of nature; whilst as a scientist I can see beauty in the way the spike protein on its surface changes its shape, I also know that this is how it infects cells, the process that has so far killed around 800,000 people throughout the world. Mushrooms and viruses alike are the products of evolution, something that relies on random mutations. But as a Christian, I have no problem in accepting that evolution is the process that God uses to create. Because God gives creation freedom, that will sometimes produce killer viruses. But more often, it gives beauty; it gives us, humankind. And so when I look at the natural world and see wonderful processes, plants and animals, I can give thanks to the God who has chosen natural selection and given creation the freedom to give us beauty.