The semantics of “nature” in
the languages of our cultural area shows that it is aimed
to illustrate the coming-about of reality in general through
the metaphor either of birth and growth of animals and plants
or of the imprinting of a similar shape on different beings.
The linguistic usage becomes an ideological one when metaphors
are taken as a doctrinal ground for the enforcement of ethical
and social purposes. In Plato’s philosophy the regularity
of natural phenomena is given a distinct moral significance
as long as it was performed by the divine Demiurge in order
to be a cosmic model for the rule of reason in human life.
Since the notion of nature is absent from the Bible, Christian
dealing with the issue is largely dependent upon the Platonic
subordination of nature to providence, viz. its basic fitting
with the ethically qualified order of God’s creation.
In this framework arises the Christian distinction in man’s
sexual behaviour as to its being in accordance with or against
nature (though homosexuality was never seen as such in the
Greek culture) and the location of God outside the nature;
thence also the problem whether God’s supernatural
intervention in the world transgresses the natural laws
he himself has imposed.