Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reflections on Beauty and God

Oh yes! God gives Goodness and Beauty; our land responds with Bounty and Blessing. Ps 85:12

Beauty is intended to be a foretaste of Heaven.  It is meant to be a sign of hope to mankind, a promise of something better ahead.  This is why we are captivated by beautiful people, spellbound by the glory of nature, and awestruck by the work of a master artist. We want to reach out and touch things of beauty, to be a part of it, and to be surrounded by it. Heaven is written into our hearts, and beauty reminds us of that truth.

It is also why we are so disappointed when the beauty we see is deceptive.  We cannot help but be caught off guard by beautiful people who are cruel or vicious, crude or vulgar; people whose outside lies to us about what can be expected on the inside.  We are disturbed by nature when her beauty turns deadly, when her goodness proves poisonous or harmful to us. We are downcast when we find the work of art to be flawed or faked. We know instinctively that beauty ought to be something we can trust, that it should be representative of something that is both good and true.

We mourn the loss of beauty because we know in the depths of our soul that beauty isn't meant to fade, it is meant to be eternal.  This is why we strive so hard to restore beauty to the people, places, and things in our lives. We hate to look at ugliness of any kind because we know that isn't how it's supposed to be.  Things should be beautiful, and the ugliness is a reminder of what has been lost.

Beauty is a good thing, and we should strive to surround ourselves with beauty, but not to the extent that the quest for beauty surpasses our quest for the One who is Beauty.  Beautiful things are good, but they are only temporary reminders of Heaven.  They can never replace it, nor should they.  Physical beauty is not bad, but it is better to strive for a beauty and perfection of the soul which will never be lost or worn or fade.  Art is good, but only to the degree that it reminds us of the truth of who we are and where, ultimately, we are headed.  Nature's beauty is only meant to be a starting point in our journey toward the source of her beauty and power, not a replacement for Him.

Popular Posts