"Mommy, my kitty is so soft!" exclaimed the child as he gently stroked his cat.
"Honey, you're worshipping God — because you're enjoying what He made!" responded his mother.
Through witnessing that brief interaction in my friend's kitchen years ago, a grand theological truth was forged in my mind. It's this:
Beauty compels us to worship, to fall down on our faces and somehow respond to God's "drop-dead gorgeous" handiwork. That's the power of beauty!
Genesis 1:31a – God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. (NIV)
This doesn't mean that it was just okay or useful. It was also created to be beautiful! A Greek word for "good" is "kalos", which includes the sense of beauty. It's where we get "calligraphy", the term for beautiful handwriting. Indeed, creation is God's stunningly beautiful signature, His eternal qualities and divine nature imprinted on the temporal order. We experience it continuously! How can we not respond?
We respond to God's beauty through our own creativity — art, music, decor, love poetry, and qualities of kindness. But beauty is also exploited for evil and selfish gain. Why is that? Paul explains:
Romans 1:21 – For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (NIV)
That's the problem: God doesn't get the credit for His work! He doesn't get acknowledged as its author and designer. Our human race has gone ahead and stamped our own name on it; then we've been editing it for our own gain. It's cosmic plagiarism! We've "exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator." (Romans 1:25 NIV)
Beauty, whether in nature or in humans, became a tool for idolatry and self-indulgence. Romans 1:21-32 lists the ugly outcomes. Essentially, with darkened minds, we destroy ourselves and our world.
The solution is not to insulate ourselves from beauty to avoid temptation. Beauty, after all, can make us better people. Our job is to direct the glory back to God. I try to remember that, whenever I witness human accomplishments, like a magnificent cathedral. I praise God for its beauty, regardless of the designer's motives — for not one brick was laid, not one stroke was brushed apart from God.
Truly, nothing even exists apart from God's imprinted "calligraphy"! That's why we must lift our eyes in worship to the original Designer who made everything good. Isn't that what God would want? Who can stop us?
To God be the glory! Great things He has done! Let the people rejoice!
Prayer: Beautiful Saviour, we confess our propensity to rob You of the credit due to You; then we blindly judge others for committing that very sin! Have mercy on us, that we may worship You with a spiritual posture of humble adoration for the beauty that You created — not only in the natural order, but also through Your gift of redemption. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Tell Me The Story Of Jesus" (Lyrics)