There is something intriguing about God isn’t there?! The psalmist David understood this in a way very few men ever have. No wonder he wrote in Psalm 27:4, “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.”
Beauty isn’t a word we normally associate with God. Yet it’s the word David used on more than one occasion to speak of God’s character and personality. There is, perhaps, no better way to enjoy God than to see and experience Him for who He really is. The more we meditate on the breathtaking truths about God, and allow them to saturate our minds and emotions, the more we’ll become fascinated by His beauty.
But what is divine beauty? The beauty of God is that quality about Him which makes Him supremely attractive and desirable. It’s what should leave us in awe of His divine perfections. Like a rare and exquisite diamond, the beauty of God has many facets. His personality is rich, deep, and infinitely appealing. There is something about Him that is more pleasing and fulfilling than anything life has to offer.
The psalmists spoke of the beauty of God as glory, an incomparable splendor that transcends anything imaginable. “The glory of the Lord, therefore, is the supereminently luminous beauty of divinity beyond all experience and all descriptions, all categories, a beauty before which all earthly splendors, marvelous as they are, pale into insignificance.”1
Thomas Dubay once wrote that wonder is the normal response to splendor. We see this vividly portrayed in Isaiah 6:1-3. The veil is pulled back on eternity, and we come upon a scene that is both majestic and mysterious. Six-winged creatures, hovering around the throne of God, are heard crying, ‘“Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’” (Isaiah 6:3)
As we reflect on this “eternal moment,” we may find ourselves a bit intrigued by the response of the seraphim to the splendor of the Lord. Are they crying out of intimidation and fear? Are they engaged in mechanical obedience to some heavenly liturgy? Or, are these six-winged creatures actually encountering aspects of God’s unique personality (holiness) in such an intense, invigorating way that all they can do is respond this way? Imagine these creatures experiencing the undiluted, overpowering pleasure of His beauty to such a degree that they have to cover their faces. For them, it’s never about fear or duty; it’s always about fascination and delight!
Why do the seraphim never cease to adore the beautiful God who made them? Is there someone more splendid? Is there another more breathtakingly beautiful? What else could compare to the joy and delight of being loved by the Holy One? What could rival such experiences?
The scene depicted in Isaiah 6 is a graphic illustration of what David was trying to portray in Psalm 29:2—a worship born out of the “beauty of holiness”. Wonder and worship are the normal responses to splendor. God’s holiness is His beauty revealed! It’s who He is. It’s what makes Him unique and distinct from all others. God is in a “league” all by Himself; yet, He delights in sharing Himself with us.
But what’s disturbing is that holiness has often been equated with religious rules and regulations, dress codes and “personal convictions” imposed on others by the spiritually elite. As a result, holiness has appeared to a lot of us as unattractive and undesirable. God’s holiness has even been seen as nothing more than that quality in Him that abhors sin. While God has always been deeply grieved by the consequences of sin, He chose to identify with outcasts and enter their world so they could identify with Him and enter His world. And, it’s the experience of His beauty and worth that will truly bring freedom and joy to each of our lives!
The encounter of the human heart with the beauty of God is truly liberating and enjoyable.
But, it’s also profoundly transforming! I believe this is what Paul was referring to in 2 Corinthians 3:18 when he wrote, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
While God’s beauty is revealed in creation, as well as Scripture, it’s perfectly reflected in the face of Christ. Everything about Jesus was and is beautiful! The radiant representation of the Godhead was put on display in Christ. And this is why meditating on and encountering the beauty of the Lord will reshape our lives and capture our hearts. It will expose the ugliness of the consequences of sin and the futility of giving ourselves to the deceptively attractive facades of temptation. It will evoke love in us and create new affections that no power can overcome. And, it will produce a joy and happiness in us with which nothing can compare!
To live in the reality of God’s beauty is truly why we exist.
The happiness for which we were created is found in celebrating the fact that such a wonderful and beautiful God is ours, and finding solace in the delightful, incomparable, awe-inspiring beauty of the One who infinitely loves us. It’s about wanting to experience everything we can of what makes God so attractive and desirable.
1. Dubay, Thomas, The Evidential Power of Beauty (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1999), 45.
Part of this blog is taken from S. J.’s new book, WHAT’S GOD REALLY LIKE?, Unique Insights Into His Fascinating Personality, published by Energion Publications.