Friday, October 21, 2016

Cascading Beauty

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
            -Ecclesiastes 3:11

Beauty is found all around us when we have eyes to see. Delicate flowers grace the side of the road in springtime; shades of lush green blanket the hillsides in summer. Brilliant leaves set trees ablaze in autumn, and snow adorns the earth in the dark months of winter. Beauty radiates in the world around us. From glimpses of a small hummingbird to grand vistas of snowcapped mountain peaks, magnificence fills the Garden of Eden where the Lord has placed us.

All beauty here on earth has poured forth from eternal Divine Beauty. It cascades down like an ever-tumbling waterfall, and saturates the world in which we live. Whatever splendor we see in the dazzling sunrise or the fiery sky at sunset is but an image, a manifestation, a flowing out of that invisible Beauty who spoke: “Let there be light!”

God is good—all good. Such goodness manifests itself in creation as order and beauty. Far from being an accident of chance, the cosmos exudes balance and order, proportion and rhythm. Without order and consistency, life would not be possible. Beyond such structure, however, the cosmos also bursts with beauty. We not only live on an earth where there is food and sunshine and the necessities of life, we live in a world drenched with beauty!

Although it is often assumed that beauty is subjective—“beauty is in the eye of the beholder”—there is a deeper sense of beauty that is objective and universal. It cuts across race and age and personal preference. The sunlit sky, the stars at night, the wonder of a newborn baby all take our breath away.

The idea of God’s beauty behind all earthly beauty is at the heart of St. Augustine’s vision of creation. St. Augustine sees all things beautiful on earth as a reflections of God’s beauty: “Were they not fashioned by Him whose unseen and unchangeable beauty continually pervades all things.”[1] Elsewhere he addresses God, “O my Father, supremely good, beauty of all things beautiful.”[2]

My prayer echoes Augustine’s thoughts: O God of beauty, light and majesty, thank you for this magnificent earth where you have planted us. Praise you for the sunrise and splendor of each new day. We thank you for color and creativity that envelop us day by day. We praise you for radiance of the stars at night. O Lord of the universe, we bless your glorious name forever! Amen.

2016 © Glenn E. Myers
This series is Creation Proclaiming God’s Divine Nature, as Romans 1:20 declares, “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.”

[1] Augustine, City of God, (X.14), translated by Marcus Dods, New York: The Modern Library, 1950, p. 319.
[2] The Confessions of St. Augustine, (III.6), translated by John Ryan, New York: Image Books, 1960, p. 83.

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