Posted in beauty, theology

Beauty questions

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. Continue reading “Beauty questions”

Posted in beauty, Uncategorized

Hoshino Wedding Chapel, Japan

Well, that’s beautiful.

It’s the Hoshino Wedding Chapel in Karuizawaprefect, Japan. What a beautiful blend of function and form. Solaripedia gives this description from an energy savings point of view-

[T]he sloping stone base of this wedding chapel unites the ascending concrete arches that project up and out of the natural terrain. For insulation from the cold, the self-supporting concrete arches are separated by double glass. The chapel turns in plan towards the south, affording a more uniform distribution of solar radiation from the sun that rolls westerly across the sky. The chapel is radiant heated by tubes of water in the floor. The thermal mass of rock, concrete, and marble floors make it energy effective. The doors, pulpit and pews were designed and hand-crafted from fine cherry wood on the site in a design-build process. As in Nature, the engineering of this chapel represents an integral expression of form. The number-one wedding chapel in the world, this wedding chapel provides more than 4000 weddings a year.

The New York Times says this:

There is not a single right angle in the Hoshino Wedding Chapel’s cascading concrete arches and soaring interior of inlaid stone.

Form and function, it’s a beautiful and delicate balance, especially when seen in in the animal world. a balance God achieved in just 6 days.

Spirals are beautiful and soothing. American Scientist says this about the logarithmic spiral-

Spira Mirabilis

“Of the numerous mathematical curves we encounter in art, geometry, and nature, perhaps none can match the exquisite elegance of the logarithmic spiral. This famous curve appears, with remarkable precision, in the shape of a nautilus shell, in the horns of an antelope, and in the seed arrangements of a sunflower. It is also the ornamental motif of countless artistic designs, from antiquity to modern times. It was a favorite curve of the Dutch artist M. C. Escher (1898–1972), who used it in some of his most beautiful works, such as Path of Life II.”

“The many intriguing aspects of the logarithmic spiral all derive from this single feature. For example, a straight line from the pole O to any point on the spiral intercepts it at a constant angle α. For this reason, the curve is also known as an equiangular spiral. As a consequence, any sector with given angular width Δθ is similar to any other sector with the same angular width, regardless of how large or small it is. This property is manifested beautifully in the nautilus shell ( left ). The snail residing inside the shell gradually relocates from one chamber to the next, slightly larger chamber, yet all chambers are exactly similar to one another: A single blueprint serves them all.”

Hrm, evolution didn’t cause such perfection, regularity, and beauty. The ‘single blueprint’ is God. As you go around today praise Him who made the earth and all that is in it. (Psalm 24:1). He didn’t have to make it beautiful, but He did. Man copies what is soaring and sublime, he can only copy the beauty that originates from and emanates from God.

Posted in beauty, Uncategorized

Art and beauty have a place in church

I love church. I love the music, hymns & songs connecting me to my ancestors in the faith, all the way back. I love the sermons, God’s word expositionally preached is thrilling and fascinating every moment the preacher speaks truth to his flock. I love the people, singing praises to the Lord and singing His attributes to each other. Communion is an especially sweet time with the Lord. Just the thought that I can pray to Him asking for forgiveness of sins, and He will forgive them, is humbling. Dipping the bread into the wine is an act that Jesus performed as His last supper, when He instituted the ritual. My arm picking up the bread and dipping it feels like a long line holding me to time past, and in between, and the now with a oneness with all the other believers who have done the same thing. Continue reading “Art and beauty have a place in church”

Posted in adam, beauty, curse, encouragement, jesus

If earth is this beautiful…

When Adam sinned, the Lord our God, creator of all, cursed the ground.

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
(Genesis 3:17)

I live in a rural area. Not every place on earth looks like this, I know. But I’m astounded that ANY place looks like this, after the curse.

If God’s earth is THIS beautiful after the ground has been cursed, then imagine the beauty of heaven! Look toward the reward- being in God’s family, perfected in glory, and seeing the face of Jesus, amid inexpressible sounds and sights of beauty of such scope that we cannot even imagine! (2 Corinthians 12:4)

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— (1 Corinthians 12:9)

Posted in beauty, encouragement, praise

Jesus, tempted at all points, knew no sin

Why did Jesus have to live a full-length life from babe to adulthood? Why couldn’t He have come down, taught, died and then been resurrected?

John MacArthur preached on the reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:17-21) and included the answer to this question.

He said, “I must fulfill all righteousness. He said that to John the Baptist, remember, “I must fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15). When the writer of Hebrews says He was tempted at all points like we are yet was without sin, “all points” are chronological. He was tempted the way a child was tempted. He was tempted the way a young person was tempted. He was tempted the way a young adult was tempted. He was tempted at ALL points in the chronology of human life. He lived a complete life into adulthood, tempted every way possible that a human being could be tempted…and yet without sin. Why does there have to be this complete, sinless life? Answer: so that sinless life can be credited to your account. Understand it this way- on the cross, God treats Jesus as if he lived your life so He can treat you as if you lived His.

Jesus is estimated to have lived 33 years. The Compass Point system of headings has 32 “points of the compass”. Jesus was tempted “at all points” from birth to death in adulthood and all points in between.” It’s not exact, but I like the visual.

This one’s prettier

Judy Merrill

It is amazing to think our Savior lived a full, perfect, complete life so that He could take on our sin, and we could receive His righteousness. Let this encourage you and humble you and bring you joy. Much joy. Jesus is the unique, wonderful, beautiful God-Man there could possibly ever be.

How I long for my tongue not to be limited to mere constraining words, so I can express the beauty of Jesus in more complete terms. When we are glorified, I pray that our fullness in body and mind will allow a more expansive expression of devotion to the One who is beyond superlatives. For now, here is a psalm of praise-

My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
I address my verses to the king;
my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

You are the most handsome of the sons of men;
grace is poured upon your lips;
therefore God has blessed you forever.
Psalm 45:1-2

Posted in beauty, encouragement, jesus

Light and color in the bible

Our flesh is restricted to seeing only in this dimension. Even at that, God created a world that is astounding in variety and beauty. We can view His handiworks every day, no matter where we are.

Sunset. EPrata photo

I often think about the glimpses we are given in the bible of the new dimension to come: heaven. Whose mind isn’t blown in reading Ezekiel’s description of the angels with eyes all around? (Ezekiel 10:12). On the Mount of Transfiguration, the disciples saw that when Jesus prayed,

And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.” (Matthew 17:2)

his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.” (Mark 9:3). Imagine seeing a white so bright it wasn’t even earthly!

God painted the sky with a covenant, the rainbow. (Genesis 9:13). He could have made the world monochrome and us colorblind, but He didn’t. I think of this following scene a lot. When I pray I picture it. The emerald rainbow entrances me.

At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. (Revelation 4:2-6)

What colors! What beauty! We know Jesus is beautiful and since heaven will reflect Him, heaven will be inexpressibly beautiful.

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:23)

“But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Cornflower blue. EPrata photo

We know that God cares about color because he set the world ablaze with it, and the animals. He is also very specific about color when describing how the Old Testament priests should dress. Colors mean things to God, for symbols and for beauty.

And the screen for the gate of the court was embroidered with needlework in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen.” (Exodus 38:18).

For example, blue. The color blue. Will it be the same in heaven? Will it look different? Will it be mixed with other colors we can’t even detect now because we are in this dimension and become a totally different hue? We know it will be better, everything in heaven is better. Revelation 21:19 says that the second foundation of the city walls will be sapphire.

Me taking a photo reflected in a blue yard crystal ball. EPrata photo
Variegated blue pattern on a Jay. EPrata photo

Though we live in a fallen and sinful world, cursed actually, and there is so much ugliness, there is beauty too. Much is beautiful. The colors of the planets, a sunset, the changing hues of the sky as a storm drifts in, the colors of the sea, and the fish in it … from above to below God has given us beauty by giving us color.

EPrata photo

The Great City to come, New Jerusalem will sparkle and be glorious in color.

The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” (Revelation 21:18-21)

Blue Skies above. EPrata photo

I heard Dr. MacArthur say once that he believes the city will be transparent so that God’s glory will be seen by all inhabitants and there will be nothing to inhibit it from permeating everywhere.

When you go about your day and you see vivid colors in nature and man-made, think about the coming deepening coloration of all that we see and all that we are. Maybe even new colors. Charles Spurgeon wrote in his sermon “The Lamb- The Light

Light is the cause of beauty. That is obvious to you all, Take the light away, and there is no beauty anywhere. The fairest woman charms the eye no more than a heap of ashes when the sun has departed. Your garden may be gay with many colored flowers, but when the sun goes down you cannot know them from the grass which borders them. You look upon the trees, all fair with the verdure of summer, but when the sun goes down they are all hung in black. Without light no radiance flashes from the sapphire, no peaceful ray proceedeth from the pearl. There is naught of beauty left when light is gone. Light is the mother of beauty.

And Jesus is the Light (John 8:12). The source of all beauty is Jesus because He is the source of light, without Light, there is no beauty.