Beauty is defined as ‘a combination of qualities that delights the senses’. Think of that in relation to God’s creation. The colours of the rainbow, the fragrances of flowers, the majestic mountains and mighty rivers bring us delight and evoke a sense of ‘awesome wonder’.
When God created the world, all was perfect – ‘God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.’ The effects of the Fall were catastrophic, but there is still beauty everywhere. There are beauties in the deep places of the oceans and in the remote, unseen reaches of space, but God has placed them there in His bounty of beauty.
There is a purpose to all of this – it is to declare His glory. ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork’ (Psalm 19:1). It is to make us understand ‘his eternal power and Godhead’ (Romans 1:20). There is such a powerful declaration to men in this marvellous creation that those who refuse to acknowledge what God has revealed are left ‘without a rag of excuse’ (J B Phillips).
The beauty of creation therefore reflects the attributes of the God who created it all. So generous and lavish is He in His provision that He ‘gives us richly all things to enjoy’. He is a God of order and purpose, because ‘He has made everything beautiful in its time’. With Him everything is fitting and appropriate. He has taken into account not only our needs but our pleasure (Psalm 36:8).
‘The beauty of creation exhibits, expresses and communicates God’s beauty and glory to men and women. In nature God’s beauty is visible.’ (J Edwards)
We are learning that the beauty of what we see around us causes us to appreciate the qualities of the One who made it all. We can gladly sing:
For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.
(Folliot S Pierpoint)