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 2:9)
Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities; his eternal power and divine nature; have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
Beauty in this world is an echo of Eden. Our very souls in their innermost parts know God is in the center of the beautiful. No? Then why do we sigh when the sun dips below a beautiful sunset? Why do we ache for the sweep of the tide and the undulations of the ocean? Why do we thirst for moonrise, settle into the sway of the pine tree? God is beauty. We long for the open spaces of our soul to be filled with His empyrean substance as expressed through nature.
Is it true that a person can come to know about God through nature? Yes. The scriptures say so, and that is the ultimate authority. It is how I came to know God. It is how I was so perplexed about how the world came into being was confused and why we humans existed upon it.
As I traveled, each time I saw an amazing natural event I’d think: “this could not have all come about by chance.” I’d think, “I do believe God is behind all this. It is too beautiful otherwise. Too complex.”
Satan, created the most beautiful of all angels, perfect in beauty (Ezekiel 28:12, 17), likely could not get humans to dispense entirely with the planet’s beauty, so the environmental movement is about being utilitarian. We don’t say ‘save the environment because it is beautiful!’ we say ‘save the environment because we can get stuff out of it!’ The environment is just someplace we extract energy rather than experience beauty and perhaps, contemplate God. God shines in His glory in the heavens and in His whole creation and as far as satan is concerned, the less we see it as beautiful the less chance we will see of God in it.
Second, our lives are increasingly crowded. We are over-scheduled. Our mental life is increasingly devoid of meditation time, imagination, contemplation. Every moment is utilitarian. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to reflect on the wonders in nature I was seeing during my travels. If I was too busy commuting and working and scheduling every moment I never would have pondered the larger things. And never have eventually wondered about God in them. Satan diminishes the glory of God’s creation to a utilitarian product and crowds our lives with less time to contemplate it.
It is one of satan’s methods to combat Romans 1:20, squeeze out the beauty in the world. 2 Timothy 3:3 tells us that in the end times people will be brutal;… brutality isn’t beautiful, is it?
Beauty draws you. Combat satan. Consider beauty. God is there. Praise the Creator for His wondrous works!
When we repent and come into reconciliation with Jesus, He sends the Holy Spirit into us and the Spirit begins the work of regenerating sanctification. Because we are born dead, spiritually empty and carnally minded, when the Spirit comes, He enlivens us and begins the work of shaping us like clay into the Lord’s likeness. Here are but two verses that remind us that He grows us sovereignly and perfectly:
“One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” (Acts 16:14)
“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)
The change is not instant. We go from one who is dead in the flesh to one who is bearing all the good fruit is that the Spirit nurtures in us (Galatians 5:22-26). Even the Apostle Paul battled flesh (Romans 7:15). But through constant submission, prayer, study of the word, and good works-bearing fruit, the Spirit leads us into good things, which will be completed on the day we are glorified in body at the rapture or upon our death. (Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
But sometimes it is hard to detect if we can see this change in ourselves. In growth by degrees you don’t see it at first. On our first day of school when I see the little kindergarteners I’d worked with last year, I notice that they have sprung up like weeds! I notice it because I had not seen them for 8 weeks. But do I notice growth or change in them day in and day out during the school year? Not so much.
And that’s outward, physical growth. It is even harder to detect fruit-bearing, spiritual growth in myself.
The Bible says for us to “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2). So I do. I ponder heaven, and the Spirit and Jesus and the things He has told us in the Bible.
One day I was musing along in my mind and thought of the statue of the David I’d seen in Italy. It was a beautiful piece of work, so lifelike carved out of marble! ‘It will be gone someday,’ I thought, ‘As will all man-made art.’ I shook my head. But then another thought popped into my mind. “Hey! I can go over and see the REAL David!” My mind was no longer on earthly things but realized that a greater treasure was the resurrected, glorified and perfected David that the Lord had personally set as King of Israel! I laughed out loud. The real David, how about that! I began to get a glimmer of just how beautiful the Lord’s work is in us and that there will be many more things that will be stunningly beautiful that my brain can’t even conceive of but was just getting a tiny glimpse of. Slowly and surely the Holy Spirit does His work in us, praise God.
As we grow, we let go of earthly things and trust the fact that no matter how lovely the man-made things of earth are; like soaring bridges, stately buildings, beautiful art, the LORD is preparing a place for us that will be astoundingly beautiful, the foremost beauty of which are the glorified and redeemed people populating the place through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ. And more than that, Christ Himself is the most beautiful of all!
RC Sproul used to talk of beauty from the Bible and especially how beautiful God is. He said,
Other texts also talk about God’s beauty. “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (Ps. 27:4). In Psalm 29, David calls upon us to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. In both places, the Lord (or significant aspects of His character) are called “beautiful.”
We are being grown in HIS beauty!
Do you have a moment when you came across a growth marker in yourself when you realized that your response to a thought or a situation was a direct result of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit? Let’s celebrate the Spirit’s work!!
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 waters. And 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.
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
‘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. ‘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.
Here where I live spring is in full swing. I love the orderly change from brownish grass and leafless trees to the sudden burst of energy, color, and beauty all around. Fruit trees blossom into color, bushes, wildflowers, all showing the glory that God gave them. Birds return and sing, swoop, build, nest, and feed their babies.
God controls all of it.
‘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. Can we fathom a God who sends His Son to be crushed for our iniquities? Can we fathom the painful anguish of a Son separated from His Father? Can we fathom the love, boundless love of a God who became Man and hung on a cross for us?
A mysterious, omnipotent God who is unfathomable yet places Himself in our hearts and makes our souls beautiful. I am glad I know Him.
Not long ago an old matchbook laying on photographer Pablo Iglesias Maurer’s desk caught his eye. Or rather, it was the postcard-like picture on it, of a resort complex built in the 1960s. It got Pablo wondering how the place looked now, and the answer has led him to make an amazing photo series called Abandoned States.
I love how this series is displayed. The old postcard is shown and in that same spot the photo fades to the exact view of the scene today. It is a stark reminder to us that nothing on this earth is permanent, no matter how large, luxe, or solid it looks. The series is wistfully melancholy.
This baby elephant runs around chasing birds. He slips and falls, and what he does next is so precious. Babies are cute, whether pachyderm or human! 25-second video. Baby Elephant Chases Birds
The recent quakes and quake swarms, not to mention hurricanes, remind us that the earth is under a curse. only to be lifted by its Creator, Jesus, in His timing. Below, workers race to find survivors of the 7.1 quake at Mexico City which collapsed a school. Reuters photo.
meliI’m sensitive to too much noise, especially talking. Which is funny since I make my living talking, being an ex-teacher and now a teacher’s aide teaching students in small groups. But speaking for my work is different than talking too much. I remember one of the first vocabulary words I looked up in a book I was reading in high school, The Great Gatsby. The word was was garrulous. I loved the word and I still do, though not so much the people who embody it. Garrulous means-
excessively talkative, especially on trivial matters.
This essay discusses the sin of talking too much. It is a sin to chatter incessantly. I’d already focused on the sin of gossip last week. Now we learn why just talking too much is also a sin. That old tongue, an enemy of holiness. A fool can be be recognized by his many words (Ecclesiastes 5:3). This essay delves into the sin of the verbose.
The hard road is the application of wisdom in the restraint of the most powerful muscle in our body. That got me thinking about the dangers of talking too much. There are many and include the following
Stephen J. Melniszyn muses on the appointment of death for all of us in his essay It Is Appointed.
Two gates. Two roads. One is described as being narrow and the way hard. The other way is wide and easy, and those that enter by it are many. There are no other roads that lead to God, it is through Jesus Christ and Him alone (John 14:6). Man will do all in his sinful nature to avoid such a truth but in the end, it can not be ignored.
The problem of beauty is one that set me on the narrow road, to salvation. I traveling widely throughout my thirties, I saw the world in its most beautiful. From Everglades spoonbills roosting along the shoreline to Bahamian coral waving in azure sea to moonrise over the desert to towering mountains bouncing the sun of their glittering rough edges to wild waves of the north Atlantic, all slate grey foam and whirling ice…the obvious comes to mind. This didn’t all just happen. It isn’t all just an accident. No ‘Bang’ threw this into existence.
Here, Prof. Stuart Burgess muses on the witness of nature in its design, particularly, beauty. Evolution might be explained to the irrational mind through function. But it didn’t have to be beautiful, too.
How did all this come to be? Understanding creation isn’t just about explaining matter or the complex moving parts of living things, but “added beauty.” Experience tells us that beauty doesn’t come by accident—it offers no obvious survival benefit, and many existing natural laws promote deterioration and decay. So what created and sustains the earth’s beauty?
And here is an example of that beauty, function, delicacy, and mystery. In this exciting 2-minute excerpt from the third season of Jonathan Bird’s Blue World, Jonathan films a hermit crab changing shells and then also transferring its anemones from one shell to the other. This is extremely rare footage of a seldom-seen behavior! It is also fascinating and thrilling to see such handiwork from God!
Melissa Kruger writes A Back To School Prayer, from a mom, for her kids, … “I pray that their teachers would be wise and gentle.”
I love fire and brimstone preaching. I do some fire and brimstone writing here at The End Time. Here is the story of a congregation that called for a fire-and-brimstone preacher again, and again, and again. The first two didn’t work out, like, immediately. The third lasted thirty years. Why? What made the difference?
Without skipping a beat the man said, “You are right in saying that all three were fire and brimstone preachers, but the third was the only one who actually sounded like he didn’t want us to go there.”
With Labor Day behind us and a shorter week ahead of us, and (hopefully) cooler temperatures on the way, it’s a refreshing time of year. Autumn leaves, school buses on their routes, pumpkins. The Lord is in control of the seasons, and the progression of them is a mark of His hand upholding all. The march of seasons, the migration of the geese, the constellations changing position. He created it for His good pleasure. And it is beautiful.
You must be logged in to post a comment.