Thinking of Beauty
by Doy Moyer
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” There is some truth to this as is evidenced by the different tastes people have in art, music, decor, fashion, etc. However, “beauty” as a deeper concept must have a foundation that is more objective and not merely subjective desire. When we say that some things are beautiful and other things are not, we are, knowingly or not, invoking a standard that we believe these things can be measured against. Some things truly are beautiful, and this is not just stating a personal preference. It’s not about giving a scientific explanation or a dictionary definition. We know beauty is real, and we know it when we see it.
Deeper levels of beauty are transcendent across time and culture. Sunrises, sunsets, cloud formations, ocean scenes, great mountains, deep canyons, waterfalls, and other phenomena of nature are generally and universally seen as beautiful. This is one reason believers see the heavens as manifestations of God’s glory, the work of His hands (Psalms 8, 19). There is a power that we see in the truly beautiful that often leaves us speechless and humbled. We don’t need to explain it to justify it as beautiful, for such beauty testifies for itself.
Then there is the beauty that we create. The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is described as making coverings of fine linen and purple, for example. Yet the beauty she creates is not just in clothing, for “She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26). Tabitha was described as one who “was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity” beyond the garments she made (Acts 9:36-43).
God’s priests were to have holy garments “for glory and for beauty” made by those who were “endowed with the spirit of wisdom” (Exodus 28:2). God defined how they were to be made, which says something about beauty coming from Him. The same was true for the tabernacle and its articles. God used those who were given a spirit of wisdom and craftsmanship. There was a beauty to behold when it was done. The human ability to create beauty is a reflection of the Creator Himself.
Beauty is more than physical appearance. It is a part of the abstract and non-material reality. It is found in wisdom and in actions. Kindness is beautiful. Love is beautiful. Unity is beautiful. Sacrifice is beautiful. Reconciliation is beautiful. Even the ability to think and comprehend is beautiful. The list can go on.
What we choose to think about says something about our own conception of beauty. For humanity, reflecting on God, His thoughts, and His grace and mercy are indeed the most beautiful of thoughts. Don’t let a culture that is degraded by sin determine beauty. Beauty is much greater and deeper than we may even imagine, for it is rooted in the Creator, whose glory and beauty are beyond our ability to express.
“You are beautiful beyond description…”