“He hath made every thing beautiful in His time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
But what about stuff He hasn’t made?
“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” Charles Darwin (emphasis mine)
Keep this in view as we proceed.
Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Quite simply because it’s our eyes that take it in. At least in the case of something visual. Music’s another story. Music is beautiful and is taken in by our ears. This might sound pedantic and obvious but I just want to say that I’m going to be speaking on the subject of physical beauty. Form, that is. What part of us apprehends beauty? Knows it’s beautiful? God knows.
Try and look at something beautiful from a dispassionate, objective standpoint. Beauty is inspiring. Beauty can be strengthening, too. But beauty is necessarily subjective. Beauty is nothing without something else to compare it to. This might not sound like a logically solvent statement, but: all things are “beautiful” in comparison to something else. And in the case of people, there’s always going to be someone more beautiful than the next. Is this a curse? It all depends on how you look at it. It’s in the eye of the beholder. And as we are created in God’s image, I’m going to say that it’s God’s image who we’re comparing people to when we observe their beauty.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” (Genesis 1:27)
And this is why, from a semantic standpoint, Darwin cannot say what he did and have it make sense in light of God. In other words, things (people, flora, fauna, etc.) are beautiful because God made them that way. Because God is beautiful. And if you must strip God from biology and the natural world, then strike “beauty” from your vocabulary. What you see (people, flora, fauna, etc.) is. Nothing more. Nothing less.
“Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalm 29:2)
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3)
“Confidence in the flesh.” This refers to the old way we lived, before we accepted Jesus. Our old nature. It also refers to the inherent confidence that our physical appearance bestows. Michaelangelo’s David stands as the epitome of (male) physical beauty. Like Adonis, for the Hebrews by way of Italy. It does make me wonder, though, how his act of carving the statue conflicts with the fourth verse of Exodus chapter 20 (the second of the Ten Commandments): “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…”. Food for thought. Helen’s face “sailed a thousand ships”, started a war. What a senseless waste of human life. Both Abraham and Isaac’s wives (Sarai and Rebekah) were “fair to look upon” (Genesis 12:11, 26:17 respectively). So much so, that the two men lied to the powers that be, saying that they were their sisters, so as to keep the Egyptians and the Philistines from killing them for their wives. Like father, like son. What are we to do with the beauty that God gives us? Worship it? Lie to keep it? I must say, that there have been days of depression and misery where I thought to myself that I could worship the female form. Thinking its beauty would necessarily make my own life beautiful. So perfect is it. But then I remembered that God was real. And that He was more beautiful. Could it be that the female form is the physical expression of the Holy Spirit? Again, more food for thought. And, even if it were, it doesn’t mean you worship a person, any person other than God.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
Just because someone (male or female) looks good on the outside says nothing about what they look like on the inside. I believe this lesson takes heartache in order to learn. Physically, everyone looks the same on the inside. Heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, etc. Obviously, Jeremiah is referring to a different sort of “heart”. He’s talking about our soul and spirit. And spiritual beauty is truth. Yes, kindness, love, compassion, empathy are beautiful. But those things can be faked. Only truth–truth with reference to Jesus–is beautiful. And when someone leads with their physical appearance only, it says nothing about the development of their soul along the lines of Jesus’ revealed truth. Let alone the development of a personality, sense of humor and the like.
“Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)
Same goes for a man. Because someone who fears (reveres) and worships God will deflect any attention back to Him. Anyone who would use their appearance to get someone’s eyes off of God is misappropriating the beauty with which they’ve been gifted, effectively misusing it to acheive a selfish end. “But thou didst trust in thine own beauty…” (Ezekiel 16:15) This is what caused Lucifer’s fall. “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty…” (Ezekiel 28:17, come to think of it, Lucifer was a musician too) And when I think that all I am is a body that looks a certain way, I’m doing God and myself a disservice. In other words, merely scratching the surface.
There is more to this life than physical beauty.