One Final Abstraction
We’ve discussed in what ways God is love and in what ways we can say God is intelligence, but God is also beauty. There is something magnificent about His creation. Nature is God’s canvas, and we would be smart to notice and appreciate it, not take it for granted or destroy it. But nature is not the only place where God shares this aspect of Himself with us.
Since we are created in God’s image, He has given us – human beings – the capability of creating our own beauty as well. Marvelous works of art and music exist that raise people’s consciousness such that they are taken out of themselves, out of the limits and confines of their day-to-day existence, and towards a more eternal existence. Beautiful music can move people to tears, and it can force people to get up and dance with the rhythm they hear. It can help us forget our troubles or gain better perspective by temporarily removing us from them. It can also simply be joyful and bring a smile to our face.
Art likewise can make us pause in wonder. Paintings, drawings, and sculptures of what can be seen in nature are my personal favorite, as they capture what the artist has observed and wants to help us focus on. Often it can be scenes from daily life that we take for granted and don’t consider beautiful – until they are framed in the context of an art piece.
Architecture has the ability to help us sigh in amazement at the sheer genius of humanity, the intricate designs, the curiously creative functional aspects, and the esthetic appearance of a building has the potential of warranting the title “art”.
I won’t discuss abstract art simply because personally, well, I just don’t get it. That’s not to say it can’t be said to be beautiful. After all, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. That’s why I think God is not just beautiful, but beauty. The various ways to be beautiful – both for individuals and our surroundings – all fit inside the underlying concept that is “beauty”.
We seek to be surrounded by beautiful things. For this reason, I believe that in heaven – however one might want to define it – we will be surrounded by beauty, because God is beauty itself.
And so, there are many layers of truth to be found in Christianity, and I hardly think that the metaphorical aspect of the various beliefs is any less useful or any farther away from the essence of God than are literal and personified understandings. God is love; God is intellect; God is beauty. What more do we need?