As the leaves change colors and the air gets colder I am reminded how good, creative, and beautiful our God is. It reminds me of what Augustine once said, “You, Lord, created heaven and earth. They are beautiful because You are beauty. They are good because You are goodness.” The Beauty of God is not something we often talk about. Yet Scripture is filled with descriptions of God’s beauty.
David the Psalmist said, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: 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 inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4). The Beauty of God here is all about perception: pleasurable perception.
In Isaiah 33:17 it says, “Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty; they will see a land that stretches afar.” Here the beauty of God is all about His excellence.
In Psalm 50:2, it says, “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. Here the word beauty means attractiveness or desirability.
These descriptions together teach us that to behold the beauty of God we must perceive him correctly, know his true nature, and understand that he in his person possesses all that is desirable. To behold his beauty is to see Him as excellent – to witness the perfection of His character. When we read about his attributes and actions in Scripture and perceive God as he really is, then we will find Him pleasurable, beautiful.
Have you ever encountered beauty in a song, a painting, a story or movie, or even another person? You would say, “isn’t he/she beautiful? Wasn’t that art beautiful?” You sense the excellence of it, but more than that, you find that excellence attractive. In his Psalms, David describes gazing at the beauty of God. Have you ever looked at something and found it so amazing and fascinating and beautiful that you couldn’t stop looking at it? Isaiah looks at God’s perfection and excellence, and he marvels. God is beautiful because his excellence is attractive.
Lastly, the pleasure that comes from knowing God is an eternal satisfaction. That’s what David is talking about in Psalm 27:4-6. “To gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.” All things beautiful find their source and foundation in the character, excellence, and satisfaction of God Himself. And where does God ultimately show us his beauty? To David it was “in the Temple” because it was there that God manifested his presence. Where and when did it appear? It appeared in the Holy of Holies. God manifested himself, His Shekinah glory, when the blood was sprinkled over the mercy seat, as the lamb was sacrificed to atone for sin. That’s where His beauty shone. In the Old Testament the beauty of God appears over the place of the substitutionary sacrifice. And in the New Testament we see something similar but different. God’s beauty doesn’t appear over the place of the substitutionary sacrifice but in it. God’s beauty is ultimately shone in the person and work of Jesus Christ his Son.
Consider these words from the Apostle Paul’s as he describes the light of God’s beauty. “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4-6).