God’s Beautiful Creation — Mount Rainier
What is beauty? Why is God’s creation so beautiful? We are able to appreciate beauty. Why did God give us that ability? Why does God’s beautiful creation fill us with awe and wonder?
God filled our universe with color. He could have made it dull and boring. But God did not. For example, the sun rises and sets every day. On a clear day the sunrise or sunset is pretty. Cloudy days are drab and dreary. The sunrise or sunset is hidden from view. After several overcast days, the return of the sun is a blessing.
But on some days, conditions are perfect. The rays of the rising or setting sun must deal with just a few clouds. And what do we get? Sunshine filtering through clouds? Yes, of course. But that’s not all. God’s beautiful creation explodes with color! Why did God make His creation so wonderfully gorgeous?
Nature displays the glory of God. Look again at the beautiful image of Mount Rainier. The mountain is just snow and ice and rocks. Position it against a clear blue sky. Place green trees at its base. Reflect its grandeur in a mountain lake. What do you get? Rocks and trees? A cold, watery lake with lots of ice? Yes, but that’s not all. You get breathtaking beauty.
Can We Define Beauty?
What is beauty? Philosophers try to list elements of beauty. The exact parts of beauty are hard to define. First, beauty is structured on a pleasing form. Why is the form of some objects pleasing? The answers differ from one person to another. Second, beauty contains a kind of harmony. This harmony strikes a chord of pleasure within us. Third, beauty gives rise to splendor that points beyond itself. There is an element of beauty that “shines forth.”
There you have it. Now you know some elements of beauty. OK, tell me. What is beauty? Are we any less confused than before? God’s creation is beautiful. Why, exactly? We have problems settling on a definition. But we easily agree when beauty happens.
People often agree when something is beautiful. We create national parks to preserve beautiful scenes in nature. Some people think the Grand Canyon is just a hole in the ground. So why do more than a million people drive hundreds (or thousands) of miles every year to visit it? They stand on the rim of the canyon. They “ooo” and “ahhh.” They snap pictures and post them to the web. Why? Why is the Grand Canyon beautiful?
What is beauty? Beauty is a mystery. According to Robert Spitzer in his book New Proofs for the Existence of God:
Beauty and art can also evoke sublime, glorious, and exalted emotions, and can, therefore, communicate the glorious itself, sublimity itself, and ultimate home itself. . . . there is something in beautiful objects themselves . . . that can give rise not only to feelings of delight, repose, reveling, and enjoyment, but also to feelings of sublime repose, home, reveling, and joy.
That quote did not help me understand what beauty is. In my heart I agree with that quote, whatever it means. That’s the way it is with beauty. We don’t understand. We look together at a starry sky, a beautiful sunset, fireworks exploring in the sky. We “ooo” and “ahhh” together. How beautiful.
God’s Beautiful Creation is No Accident
God’s beautiful creation is not an accident. God did it on purpose. Consider this. Our earth is encased in a kind of magnetic field. Science says that’s a good thing. This magnetic field is important for life on earth. So it’s no accident. God knows we need it. The magnetic field flows from areas near the north and south pole.
Our sun produces something called solar winds. They blow across the magnetic fields. What happens? Beauty erupts! We call it the Aurora Borealis. Magnetic fields and solar winds? This sounds like the recipe for some kind of boring science project. Why did God make it so beautiful?
Another question to consider. Why do we have the ability to appreciate nature’s beauty? God gave us eyes to see nature. Why did He let us see color? Animals also see nature. Some animals see color. Buy there is no evidence animals appreciate beauty. God reserves that pleasure for mankind.
Atheists Deny Beauty’s Existence
Atheists deny the existence of beauty. They try to explain beauty as the result of evolution. Men appreciate a woman’s pretty face and curvaceous form. They say it’s because men are looking for the best mate to carry their genes. Really? I don’t think so.
How does evolution explain our appreciation of Mount Rainier? The mountain is a place of ice and snow. It’s dangerous. If survival of the fittest is true, I should be repelled by the dangers of that mountain. But I’m drawn to its beauty. It’s splendor lifts me toward God.
Think of the Grand Canyon. What is it? A dangerous rushing river carving its way through layers of rock. That big ditch is out in the desert. It’s full of spiders, scorpions, poisonous snakes, and other predators. And yet its beauty puts me at peace. As I stand with other people on its rim, I feel like we share this beauty together. Why does beauty connect me to God and to other people? Evolution cannot explain that. Neither can atheism.
Sorry atheists. Your explanation does not satisfy. It really does not make sense.
God’s creation is beautiful. This implies our Creator appreciates beauty. We also appreciate beauty. The Bible says we are made in God’s image. Perhaps this is the source of our love of beauty.
What a wonderful world. What a totally amazing, wonderful God!
Quotation from Spitzer, Robert J. New Proofs for the Existence of God (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2010).