Because of Beauty


Recently, I was asked to give a reason for the faith that I have. Many of the ideas I have about why I believe – that God exists, that He is sovereign, and that He demonstrates His love for me in the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus – did not originate with me, but one of them is supremely personal. Part of the reason that I practice nature photography is that I see beauty in the world around me. I love beauty, and I long to experience more of it and to share it. But if beauty is simply a construct of my own mind – if it is not a real quality of the world around me, then the whole concept of beauty is completely empty of meaning for me. Although “beautiful” can describe physical objects (a tree, a face, or even light), the standard of beauty – its foundation – transcends the physical world. Just like other transcendent things – reason and truth are examples – I believe it must be rooted in an ultimate transcendent reality…God.

Without God, I see no justification for the reality of beauty. With Him, all the beauty I see and my craving for it have not only meaning, but purpose. When we see God as supremely beautiful (more beautiful, attractive, and glorious than anything else), we can recognize all the rest of the beauty around us a means more than an end. It is a message from God that says, “I am beautiful!” In Romans 11:26, Paul says, “For everything comes from him and exists through his power and is intended for his glory.” Elaborating on the last point, I would clarify that I think everything is intended to either display His glory or realize His glory or both. And what is glory? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines glory as “great beauty and splendor” or “something marked by beauty and resplendence”. I don’t believe that our understanding of beauty could begin to encapsulate God’s glory, but it is certainly an integral part.

So the next time you are held breathless by the sunset light cutting a path down a glacial icefall or the next time you are moved to tears by the words and music of a song or the next time your heart is warmed by the tender affections of a mother for her newborn child, know that beauty is real! Know that it is a message that God is real and that he wants you to enjoy His glorious beauty!