The Evidential Power of Beauty 

A few years back, our friend Mike Bickle recommended a book that had greatly increased his understanding of the beauty of the LORD and beauty itself.  It was by the Catholic Theologian Thomas Dubay.  Patty, my wife, first read this book and was very enthusiastic about it.  Then I read it.  It almost takes your breath away.  

In Dubay’s presentation, beauty, truth, and goodness are intertwined.  The beautiful is the true.  He even notes scientist after scientist who declared that the theory more likely to be true is the most beautiful one.  This is also asserted in the very difficult but amazing book by chemist philosopher Michael Polyani, Personal Knowledge.  

Dubay presents the evidence of beauty in the world of art including music and presents the nature of beauty as a reflection of our being created in the image of God.  He presents the evidence of science.  The macrocosmic, that is the universe of galaxies and the amazing order. Yes, it is order and not something random, and all is ordered in a way to support life on earth.  He presents the microcosm, each cell an ordered and beautiful complexity that is as complex as New York City.  This has prompted America’s most famous philosopher Thomas Nagel in his book, Mind and Cosmos, to declare that the Darwinian theory of evolution is systematically impossible.  Then he describes the amazing beauty of the midcosm, creation on the plain of our normal existence, plants, animals, rocks, and trees.  By the time he is done, if you are not jaded by a weak life upbringing and disappointments, you are greatly inspired.   Great athleticism is also part of this realm of beauty. 

However, he leaves the greatest description of beauty to be the life of Yeshua, his amazing death for our sins and his resurrection.  It is the beauty of the LORD revealed in fullness.  

In our days at Wheaton College, Professor Clyde Kilby, a friend of C. S. Lewis, sought to awaken students to beauty, to open them to wonder, and then to the reality of God perceived in the experience of wonder. The great Rabbi scholar, Abraham Joshua Heschel, spoke of human beings finding themselves in a universe that shows grandeur everywhere. I am well aware of our struggle with the problem of evil and doubt.  However, the grandeur and beauty of life is much the greater reality.  

One of the very sad aspects of the generation growing up is a jadedness that cannot perceive beauty and the grandeur of creation.  They are jaded by hours of brain-deadening screen time and coarse musical entertainment.  I wonder how much unbelief is rooted in a culture that cannot perceive beauty.  Higher education seems to have lost the quest for truth, beauty, and goodness.  This follows along with one of my recent articles.  Our calling is to become a counter-culture where our young are educated and trained to recognize beauty and to be moved by it.  We have to overcome a culture where nothing wonderful captures the imagination of our young.  So many commit suicide because they are just blind to the reality of that which gives joy.   For us who follow Yeshua, the greatest revelation of truth, beauty, and goodness is in the Scriptures, brought to their height in the New Covenant Scriptures.  As we read them, we should ask, how is it possible that something this wonderful can be written.  Amazement at the person of Yeshua, the ideals, the morals and ethics of the text, the power of the Spirit, and more should capture and move us.  May it be so.  I do recommend to you all this wonderful book.  I want to read it once a year.