Have you ever really pondered that repetitive verse from Genesis 1: “And God saw that it was good”? The Hebrew word used there for “good” also means “beautiful.” Paul Evdokimov writes in his book, The Art of the Icon, a Theology of Beauty: “The Creator, like a divine poet, in bringing the world into being out of nothingness, composed his ‘Symphony in Six Days”, the Hexameron. After each of his creative acts, he ‘saw that it was beautiful.’ The Greek text of the biblical story uses the word kalón—beautiful and not agathon—good; the Hebrew word carries both meanings at the same time.”
That quote came to mind last week as I was reading an article about rocks of all things. Apparently, during the early days of the universe, after some stars blew up and died in intense heat, “we get the first 12 or so minerals: atoms forged by starbursts. Carbon, nitrogen, silicon, iron all come from stars.” But the really cool thing I read is that “the universe’s original minerals include diamonds . . . teeny bits of diamond dust floating in deep space.” That strikes me so much as just what God would do in His creative work: scatter “teeny bits of diamond dust” out into deep space. “And God saw that it was very good” and very beautiful.
And, unbeknownst to me–the next few days are the best for viewing the Leonid Meteor Shower–“Avid meteor gazers graced with clear skies may see between 15 and 20 meteors per hour.” Read more about it here.
When God created the world, Genesis says He “saw that it was good” which also means “beautiful.”
I’m back pondering “beauty”–partly because I’m reading an excellent article, “Tolkien and St. Thomas on Beauty” from the current issue of StAR. Lots to ponder there. Then this morning I stumbled on this post from Conversion Diary about music and beauty. Seems to be a theme for my day today. Actually, the upshot of my pondering this morning was to ask God for more of His eyes, to be able to see the beauty in every soul I encounter today (including my own). When God created the world, Genesis says He “saw that it was good” which also means “beautiful.” This is how God sees us:
The Creator, like a divine poet, in bringing the world into being out of nothingness, composed his “Symphony in Six Days,” the Hexameron. After each one of his creative acts, he “saw that it was beautiful.” The Greek text of the biblical story uses the word kalon–beautiful–and not agathon–good; the Hebrew word carries both meanings at the same time. (Paul Evdokimov, The Art of the Icon: a Theology of Beauty, p. 2)
Last night as I walked out of the chapel at the end of our time of adoration, this phrase from C.S. Lewis was running through my head: “The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing . . . to find the place where all the beauty came from.” Those of us who know Him know that place–the where that is a Who.
There is not and cannot be anything more beautiful and more perfect than Christ. (Dostoevsky)
He alone is ravishing in the full strength of the term . . . beauty itself. (St. Therese, Letter 76)
Yes, the Face of Jesus is luminous, but if in the midst of wounds and tears it is already so beautiful, what will it be, then, when we shall see it in heaven? Oh heaven . . . heaven. Yes, to contemplate the marvelous beauty of Jesus [. . . ] (St. Therese, Letter 195)
The face of Christ is the human face of God. The Holy Spirit rests upon him and reveals to us absolute Beauty, a divine-human Beauty that no art can ever properly and fully make visible. Only the icon can suggest such Beauty by means fo the Taboric light. (Paul Evdokimov, The Art of the Icon, p. 13.)
Christ is beautiful, and He comes to restore us to beauty. (John Saward, The Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty, p. 56)
Make time today to turn your face towards this place–Him from Whom all the beauty comes from.