Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Consider Beauty

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 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 accepted Him into my life and subsequently accepted Jesus.

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.”

Infrequently do people remember that in addition to the Gospel, seeing God in His creation is another way that He draws people to Him. Knowing this, satan has a plan to prevent it.

How? Even satan likely could not get humans to dispense entirely with the environment, 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, experience 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. We must be “productive” these days. 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 seen 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;... The opposite of brutality is beauty.

Beauty draws you. The less beauty in the world the better. Failing that, the less time we have to contemplate beauty, the better.

Combat satan. Consider beauty. God is there.

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