Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Beauty Detector

Experiment — I sat and stared at a bowl of water. Nothing. Totally unmoved. In fact, it was an effort to keep staring, So, I put a rock in it, just so a bit of the rock broke the surface of the water in the bowl. Still, I was uninspired by the sight. Even the edges of the bowl did nothing for me.
A few days ago, for over an hour, I stared at different water, hypnotized, almost unable to shift my gaze away. There was a rock protruding just above the surface where the water crashed and catapulted in the air. And the edges. Oh, the edges! Crooked, craggy hills falling effortlessly down to the water’s steady rhythm of splash upon the sand — the majestic Pacific Ocean.
And so I sat — mesmerized by the awesome beauty of the view before me. But why was this water so beautiful to me?
The answer, of course, lies with the Maker. The One who formed this water and that rock and those edges is the One Who formed me. What a gift He has given to the human mind and eye by instilling in us an appreciation of His creation.
This scene, or a flower, autumn leaves, mountains, deserts, snow, a baby — all are beautiful because He is the arbiter of beauty and somewhere in us He made a “beauty detector.”
And it’s not that He thought of everything. Rather, what He thought of is everything.
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen!”


Coach Taylor said...

Your words reminded me of a time I was standing at the beach with my Grandpa. He was a simple man- from the sticks of East Texas- and though his faith was profound we were both unwilling to appear vulernable to the other. But on this evening as we stood together (a rare occasion at that time in my life) and watched the sun set beyond the crashing waves of the Pacific Coast he says to me- "how can someone look at this and say there isn't God." Our relationship, was forever changed in that moment.

Psalm 8:3-5

merea said...

This is a great post. I was watching a movie the other day. Shooter. and the camera panned across this mountain range. Man, so beautiful, even Hollywood has to depend on the work of God for the most beautiful backdrop.

CresceNet said...
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Jack said...

As a charter member of the new "coalition" (nothing has been set in stone in regard to a convention) I'd just like to say there is a whole lot more to the story than those outside the loop know. My involvement comes in part because of an attempt by a local association to remove me as the pastor and take control of our church property among other things. How would you feel if a DOM started a church with people disfellowshipped from another church for sub-Scriptural behavior and serves as their pastor? What would you think of a DOM that travels regularly with a lawyer and has participated in at least three legal entanglements with local churches. What about an Association that has bylaws saying that the Association has the sole right to determine who is or is not Southern Baptist! What would you think of an Association--in good standing with the State Convention-that is amending its bylaws in order to determine who a church can send as a messenger to the Associational meeting? What do you think of State Convention employees who allegedly make $500,000 or more in salary? The questions could go on and get more shocking the deeper you look -- it is just very few seem to be looking. So, before you lay any judgement on the new Coalition, please seek out some the facts -- but, be sure to be sitting down. And, no, we do not represent the only conservatives in California. We do represent some.

walter price said...


Though I don't know who you are let me just say in response to your comment, I'm not "laying any judgment" on anyone. I'm sorry you think so.

Niles said...

" God has put within us a beauty detector." How true! What is so sad to see is that this "beauty detector" can be so corrupted by sins influence. The world's concept of beauty is often foreign to me. I think this is particularly true in the area art. Many art pieces that hang in museums and are consider beautiful by art critics are often repulsive to me. Some music that the world celebrates as beautify sounds like discord to me. So called beauty fashions make women look cheap and degraded. Is there such a thing as universal beauty, or is the ocean and a sunset only beautify to me because I am seeing it as God meant it to be seen?

JT Reed said...

Enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing.

JT Reed

Mike said...

Joe Daniel shared your blog with me. It was nice to sit under your teaching again as I read.

Mike Hardin
Pastor, FBC Lovejoy, GA

Keith said...

I can understand and appreciate the enormity of God's creation, its inherent beauty and the way that it points to Him, screams out for us to see Him in all things, even as He is in them. (Romans 1:20). However, I think your experiment, while valid and proved a worthy point, is also sort of ... off. What I mean is this: it is not that you were bored with your creation, but loved the Father's, but that your creation, while nice, was not nearly to scale. Should you have created something more along the lines of a Pacific Ocean, than I am sure that you would have been able to fixate on it. However, since God is so wonderful, amazing and powerful and we are not, it goes without saying that we must stand in awe of Him. I mean, though you erected a bowl of water and a stone, it was God who made them. As such, you should be in awe of the perfection of the stone, the clarity of the water, etc. You are not, however, only because of the scale. (I think.) I really would like to know what you think about this.

walter price said...


Thoughtful comment. I am sure that the scale is a component in our appreciation of beauty. I do not marvel at a ditch created by a tiny rivulet of water yet I do marvel at the Grand Canyon. In my experiment, though the water and the stone were also created by God, the grandeur of the ocean and rocks seems imminently more beautiful to me, which may be a result of scale.

Yet, on the other hand, I find enormous, awesome beauty in things infinitesimal also. Having paid a recent visit to the aquarium in Monterey I was simply awestruck at the diversity and beauty of jelly fish.

I would agree with you that anything created by God is worthy of our appreciation but I still think God has placed within us a "beauty detector" so that some things appear more beautiful than others though both were His creation.

Keith said...

I would definitely agree with that; sometimes when I am hiking or climbing, I run across an open expanse of sky after turning a corner, or a valley whose walls are green and verdant. I cant do much except say thank you, take a breather and try to let God's majesty wash over me. But at the same time, I find some hikes less beautiful than others for obvious reasons. Yes, I agree. We all have a beauty detector that we might better see our Lord.