This is the third part in what will end up being a fairly long and comprehensive series on Beauty. It’s based on a recent message I gave on the topic. You can find the full audio and full manuscript below. [Bold: things I had time to say // Regular: things I didn’t have time for] So far, we’ve seen why we long for Beauty, we’ve discussed what it is, now let’s apply this definition.
What is beautiful?
First and foremost, the Triune God is beautiful.
He is Three Persons (complexity) existing in One Deity (simplicity). Just think of that word God. That is the human term that he has chosen to be acceptable for us to call him. Those three letters contain the simplest expression of the Sovereign Creator God of the Universe. Most old school systematic theologies are structured the same basic way: the first actual section of theology is reserved for “the Doctrine of God”, and the first thing you learn about God is his “unknowability”. This is the fact that God is infinite, inexhaustible, holy, and completely separate from all things we could ever conceive or understand. We cannot know him. Any pursuit we go on to know him will always be futile. Just the fact that the Infinite God has revealed anything to us in a way that we can actually understand is beauty itself. He is the perfect and complete tapestry within which all things are woven together in the first place. He is peace. He is shalom. He is Beauty. But let’s look at His distinct persons as well.
God the Father is beautiful.
In Exodus 3, Moses is talking to this God who is showing Himself through a burning bush and he asks this God “Who are you?” The huge transcendent God simply says “I am that I am”. So, in the Bible and in the creation, God the Father reveals Himself clearly enough that we can know who we should worship. Think about it. The infinite God who is outside of time and space uses finite things within time and space to communicate himself. This Infinite Head of the Godhead reveals the Infinite strands of who He is in one of the simplest of tapestries: “I AM”. This is beautiful.
God the Holy Spirit is beautiful.
1 Corinthians 2 says, “As it is written, ‘what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’” We often stop there. We talk about all those infinite promises God has made that no one has seen and no one can know. But this isn’t the case. Read on. Paul writes that all these things that no one has seen, all these infinite and glorious promises that would blow our minds “God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” The Infinite complex Spirit of the Infinite complex God dwells within finite simple believers and what’s more, he communicates the previously unspoken thoughts of God Himself. So through the mediator of the Holy Spirit, God weaves his thoughts into the tapestry of our souls.
God the Son is beautiful.
Of course, we go to John 1 for this: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” He is the ultimate earthly reflection of beauty. He is the living word of God. He is God of God in the flesh of man. The ultimate, infinite, precious, all-consuming, King of Kings and Lord of Lords takes on the form of a child born in a manger. Oh the humility. Oh the beauty in this act we call the Incarnation, where the infinite God takes on finite humanity.
Though much more could be said (and maybe should be) I feel I’ll stop there. This is an all too-brief picture of why/how God is beautiful, but this is because most people acknowledge that if there is a God, He is in fact what we would think of as beautiful. Otherwise He wouldn’t be worthy to worship. Most would agree with what I’ve written if in fact this was the God that existed. We’ll discuss that more next week. On Wednesday, though, we’ll talk about worship, nature, science and how all those things connect. It’s one of my favorite sections. Here are the links I mentioned earlier: