Posted in theology

Light is the cause of beauty

By Elizabeth Prata

In the beginning…what was the first thing recorded that God ‘saw’?


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the watersAnd God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.(Genesis 1:1-3).

What was the first thing recorded that God said?


In my Spurgeon morning devotional, Spurgeon wrote that “Light is the cause of beauty.” Isn’t it funny when a seemingly simple phrase sends you off on a direction of deep pondering.

Light and beauty are companions. Beauty might exist, but it cannot be seen and appreciated until there is light.

God didn’t have to make the world beautiful, but He did. But if it was dark, we would never know.

In photography, there is the Golden Hour. It’s when the sun has slid down the sky to an angle where its rays that touch all things turn them gold. It happens the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. The light is special then, bathing the world in a gentle blanket of golden light.

During the Renaissance the artists discovered ways to play with light, shadow, and dark. It’s called chiaroscuro (clear-dark).

Chiaroscuro in art, is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition. The underlying principle is that solidity of form is best achieved by the light falling against it. Artists known for developing the technique include Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio and Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Goya. It is a mainstay of black and white and low-key photography. (Wikipedia)

The Renaissance painter Caravaggio is known for his mastery of the play of dark against light. Here is his Annunciation (1608):

We all know we can’t really have beauty if there is no light, but I had not thought about how light is the cause of beauty, as Spurgeon wrote.

The root of all this is of course Jesus. He IS the Light. (John 8:12). We cannot have anything, including beauty, unless it was made by Him, and for Him, and through Him. (1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16).

If we say “Light is the cause of beauty” then we might as well say “Jesus is the cause of beauty”, then we might as well say “Jesus IS beauty”. Since He is the root of all things, the cause of all things, and the sustainer of all things, He is light and beauty itself.

His Light will soon, on that blessed day, be the only Light.

And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5).

Imagine a world where it’s is always the Golden Hour, everything is always beautiful, and we can always gaze upon the root and cause of it all: Jesus.

Light is the cause of beauty.


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.