One of the principles taught by Abdu’l-Baha is that science and religion are one; that they are both representations of the one truth. Jean-Marc Lepain, in his Archeology of the Kingdom of God, page 177, has an interesting way of explaining this principle.
He begins with the statement that Nature can be looked at from two perspectives. It can be viewed from a scientific perspective. This is what we know as science. It can also be looked at from a spiritual perspective. From this perspective, we say things like the Sun of Reality is the Manifestation of God. It is the source of light for all creation, and gives life to all things. Along similar lines, Baha’u’llah says “Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise.” (Tablet of Wisdom, in Tablets of Baha’ullah, www.bahai.org/r/131365079).
What you have then, is this phenomenon, thing or being, we call Nature and, if we look at it from the right-hand side, we see it with our senses and we analyse it with our rationality and we participate in science. But if we look at it from the left-hand side, we see its form, elements, creatures and beauty from a spiritual point of view. Here, Nature becomes a sacred thing that is continuously reflecting the names and attributes of God. It becomes a world of symbols that point to divine mysteries. It becomes seas of meaning, oceans of grandeur, suns of wisdom, breezes carrying fragrances, nightingales of holiness, and so on.
So you see, Nature plays two roles, not one. If you see Nature only from the scientific perspective, then the world loses its sacredness. Life loses its transcendent dimension, because the reality we see around us on a daily basis becomes just three dimensional, which means it becomes a prison we can never be freed from except through death. On the other hand, if we look at Nature only from the spiritual point of view, we become lost in superstition. We lose a hold of reason and of the outcomes of our shared empirical reality. A person will speak from their subjective point of view about their interpretation of Nature, but never convince another of the veracity of their experience.
Humanity needs both perspectives to function and stay on the straight path. Human beings exist in both the material world and the spiritual world. Nature plays different roles in each world and its elements are viewed in different ways – empirical and symbolic.