Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ultimate Beauty

"You are beautiful beyond description, to marvelous for words" go the words of an old worship song. Yet even if the author of this song felt he could not express God's beauty in words, surely he had some conception of it. This brings me to a question I've pondered for a few years: how do we begin to understand God's beauty to the point where we can honestly love and worship him as beautiful? Put another way: how can we know the part of God's nature which is his beauty?

I have found several answers to this question. First, we can start to understand God's beauty by rejoicing in what he sees as beautiful. God made the world and saw that it was good. All of creation constantly proclaims a god who is not only beautiful, but delights in creating things which are beautiful. Thus the beauty we see in the natural world and in people around us can serve to teach us about God.

Secondly, we can observe and try to understand what we find as beautiful. This is helpful because, since we were made in his image, surely our understanding of beauty must bear some similarities to his. It is helpful to think of him as the perfection of all things beautiful.

Finally, I think we must clarify and enlarge our definition of beauty. Beauty is not something that is only understood with our physical senses - such as a work of art or a piece of music. A physicist will tell you that the elegance of a theory can be beautiful. Wisdom lends beauty to the old. There can be beauty in someone's actions or words. So it is, I think, with God. It is not just his physical manifestations on earth - not even primarily that- but so much of his character which makes him beautiful.

I still do not feel capable of understanding enough of God's beauty to truly express it (in fact words will alone will never be adequate!), but I can testify that it is possible to grow in the knowledge and love of God's infinite beauty.

1 comment:

  1. I like your thoughts very much, Bethany. Thanks for your faithful posting - it encourages me.