In The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods, Vincent Scully explains the symbolic relations between sacred classic Greek architecture and the natural setting:
Not only were certain landscapes indeed regarded by the Greeks as holy and as expressive of specific gods, or rather as embodiments of their presence, but also that the temples and the subsidiary buildings of their sanctuaries were so formed in themselves and so placed in relation to the landscape and to each other as to enhance, develop, complement, and sometimes even to contradict, the basic meaning that was felt in the land.
The symbolic significance of each religious sanctuary differed from place to place, according to the specific relations between the attributes of each god and the symbolic aspects of the topography. Thus the relations between landscape and architecture were fully reciprocal in both meaning and form: the gods existed as determinate, localized entities, and the site-specihc articulation of nature and artifice were central to the theological experience. But these relations obtained in the classic Greek era, before the retreat of the gods, before the final, ironic, ontotheological, neoclassic dissimulation of God. In the classic epoch, the gods were everywhere manifested in a profoundly symbolic landscape. In the neoclassic epoch, as Pascal recounts, God surpasses the very limits of the imagination, as well as the topography of the surrounding world, resulting in the total disproportion of man. For Pascal, the visible world is but a speck within a nature that is “an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. The ubiquity of infinity, the omnipresence of God in geometric symbolization, renders all theological personification and all symbolic landscapes obsolete.
Allen S. Weiss, Unnatural Horizons. Paradox and Contradiction in Landscape Architecture (1998)