By Elizabeth Prata
What is beauty? Where does it come from? Why do we enjoy it? Is beauty dispensable, i.e., can we live without it?
It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I believe that all human eyes know beauty when they see it and all human eyes know ugliness when they see it. It’s an indefinable quality, but it’s a universal one.
I believe we enjoy beauty because God made beauty. I further think that since His eternity is in our hearts, we respond to His creation’s beauty. See how the two concepts are linked…eternity and beauty:
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Can we live without beauty? God did not think so. He made the world beautiful. In addition, when he used man to create His tabernacle, He caused the tabernacle to be beautiful also. He could have made a wooden square building with wooden table and lampstands. But not only did He cause us to use precious metals in His tabernacle and His temple, but included scrollwork and design into it.
The breathtaking beauty of His created world is endlessly gorgeous. So many of the structures in flora and fauna are at once delicate and functional, beautiful, colorful, and intricate.
‘He has made everything beautiful in its time’. Babies, like babies. If you ever gazed on a sleeping baby you have seen beauty in its time. Flowers. Shells. A Dragonfly wing. Llama herd running across an Andean mountaintop. Waves. A soaring bird. Grasslands waving in the wind.
‘He has set eternity in our hearts’, and if you are saved by grace and faith in Jesus, then you will experience eternity with Him, in joy. If you have not accepted Jesus as your savior then respond to that eternity in your heart, you know you’re yearning, asking, seeking. ‘No one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end’. No, I can’t, and that is the beauty of it, the eternity of it. A mysterious, omnipotent God who is unfathomable yet places Himself in our hearts and makes everything beautiful. Jesus Christ is beauty itself.
Here is RC Sproul on Beauty. Did you know that the very first person ‘filled with the Spirit’ in the Bible was “for beauty”? (Exodus 28:2-3).
In this podcast, Sproul explains that there is primary beauty, God’s intrinsic beauty as an attribute in and of Himself. There is secondary beauty, the beautiful things He has made in creation that witness to His intrinsic beauty. There are more great nuggets in this wonderful lecture. The Spirit in Creative Expression
Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder? RC Sproul (Podcast)
Art and the Bible Schaeffer, Francis A. (Book)
Art for God’s Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts by Philip Graham Ryken (Book)
BreakPoint: Beauty and Faith- Chuck Colson on Art, Worship, and the Bible (Essay)