God’s Love of Beauty

How does the subject of beauty shape your view of God? Have you ever taken a day off to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation?
We rarely consider divine beauty, but beauty is a quintessential aspect of God’s character. King David was very aware of this when he wrote:

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
 (Psalm 27:4).

Divine beauty reflects God’s love of beauty and pours forth in his handiwork. As his creatures, we are stunned by the magnificence of what he has made. God paints his skies, mountains, flowers, rainbows, and the fantastic variety of his living creatures in vivid, brilliant colors, shapes, and sizes.

Arrangement, variety, structure, proportion, balance, and order are resplendent before us every time we gaze at God’s creation. The crashing waves along our coasts and the majestic mountains against brilliant blue skies take our breath away. Have you seen a sunset over the Tyrrhenian Sea? Or a sunrise over the Alps? I’ve never heard anyone who looked at the Swiss Alps for the first time exclaim, “What a disgusting sight!”

God’s creative nature is unsurpassable. Artists paint it, photographers are enthralled by it, poets praise it, architects exploit it, designers imitate it, and we delight in it. Beauty is beauty, and even when we cannot give the word a perfect definition, we know it when we see it. It’s not merely “in the eye of the beholder,” for most can differentiate between the beauty of a sun-drenched meadow or a starry sky and a rundown, urban area. If we look down any city street, we’ll find something ugly or offensive we humans have put together.

God’s creatures are spectacular. We often place our pet cat or dog higher than our friends or relatives! It’s the same all over the world regardless of language, culture, or worldview. God’s beautiful creation transcends every human boundary. As hard as you try, you won’t be able to find a single thing God made that offends the eye or seems in bad taste. (Okay, we may hate the sight of spiders or snakes, but carefully studying them will amaze us and command our respect.)

Earlier generations spent most of their day amidst the wonders of creation (and were healthier for it). Today, too many of us spend our time indoors, in offices and decaying shopping malls, driving through parking lots or stuck in endless traffic, scrolling through our smartphones, and under the neon signs of fast-food restaurants. These depressing scenes are why we go out of town to the hills, forests, and shores.

But if we can’t get away, God has so designed it that we can find joy in a fragrant bouquet, our Golden Retriever, or sitting under the cool shade of our backyard tree, gazing at a fluttering butterfly as it dazzles in the bright summer sun. Beauty in the world is everywhere and in so many forms that, even against our best efforts, it manages to break through the darkness and hopelessness of our daily life, filling the night of our lives with the hope-filled light of our Creator.

Why did God create beauty? To direct us to his essential nature and character. Divine beauty creates in us a love for beauty. It’s one way that drives us to get to know him better. We make a god out of beauty, as some do, but we keep going and discover the One who gave it to us. It’s made for us to enjoy, but its full enjoyment is experienced by those who first know the Master artisan.

And the best is that God clothes us in the beauty of Christ’s righteousness. As the prophet Isaiah praised God, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).