Who doesn’t admire beauty somewhere in this world? It may be a sunset, a violet, a song, a waterfall, the face of a baby. We all get beauty–right? It comes to us instantly, immediately recognizable. Usually, there’s no need to decide if something is beautiful or not. But do we stop and consider that there may be something beyond that beauty?
Jonathan Edwards and C.S. Lewis wrote a lot about this subject. You can read my prior post, Jonathan Edwards on Nature, to catch a glimpse of his thoughts about beauty and how he believes we can observe natural wonders that reflect our God. Of course, the beauty here will fade, but it can serve as an important signpost, pointing the way to a marvelous Creator.
C.S. Lewis concurs with Edwards as you will see in the excerpt below from The Weight of Glory. Lewis was also a great writer of fiction as demonstrated through works like The Chronicles of Narnia. He created a beautiful and imaginative story that points to the real God. I wonder if the present world is a lot like a fictional story. Perhaps we aren’t looking at things as they were really meant to be. I believe the present trees, mountains, oceans, fish, animals are just the shadows of a greater reality.
“We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words – to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves – that, though we cannot, yet these projections can enjoy in themselves that beauty, grace, and power of which Nature is the image. That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods. They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can’t. They tell us the ‘beauty born of murmuring sound’ will pass into a human face; but it won’t. or not yet. For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day Give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendor of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy. At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendors we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get in.” ~CS Lewis
How about you? What beauties do you enjoy, and what are they telling you?