The truth, beauty, and goodness of God
In The Urantia Book, we learn that three of the attributes of God are: Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. And we discover that the three attributes work together: If something is true, it is also good and beautiful; if it is good, it is also true and beautiful; and if it is beautiful, it is also true and good.
0:1.17 Divinity is creature comprehensible as truth, beauty, and goodness; correlated in personality as love, mercy, and ministry; disclosed on impersonal levels as justice, power, and sovereignty.
2:7.11 All truth—material, philosophic, or spiritual—is both beautiful and good. All real beauty—material art or spiritual symmetry—is both true and good. All genuine goodness—whether personal morality, social equity, or divine ministry—is equally true and beautiful. Health, sanity, and happiness are integrations of truth, beauty, and goodness as they are blended in human experience. Such levels of efficient living come about through the unification of energy systems, idea systems, and spirit systems.
Today, I want to talk about the beauty that is God. I want to talk about how the beauty of God seems to exist just for the sake of existing. Sometimes, this is just overwhelming to me. God must be a very beautiful person who knows us very, very well.
The humble ball cactus
From time to time, a dear friend and I travel up the mountains in Colorado just to get away and enjoy the solitude - and yes, the beauty - of God's creation. For several years now, we have had the chance to go during this Springtime season, when the first flowers are coming alive from their months of Winter privation.
One of the most charming and predictable of these sightings is the humble ball cactus. The image here is one that I captured of this cactus in all its glory. Each year around the middle of April, and into May, these cacti begin to bloom on the south-facing hillsides where we visit. They sit very low to the ground, and one has to be mindful of them, as they are usually not very remarkable. But their crowning glory are the incredibly beautiful pink flowers that just mushroom up in clusters - sometimes six or more per plant during this time of bloom. As you can see, they are lovely. But we have to remember when they bloom, and get there in a 2-3-week window, or we'll miss them altogether.
One day recently, we were talking about these lovely flowers, and how there might be thousands of them in the surrounding country, which is mostly open range for buffalo and antelope. Even here, where we visit, there are hundreds of them. It was a revelation to me that they continue their cycle of flowering mostly unseen and unappreciated by human beings. But, the incredible beauty that they display carries on unabated, whether it is seen or not. It made me realize that beauty of such a sort seems to exist for its own sake. I think of it as the habit of God. And to me, this says something profound about God. It is as if God has provided these little surprises for us here and there, and we can appreciate them, and him, by seeing them and being grateful. He must love us very dearly to provide us with wonders to behold. It really is true that "in him we live, move, and have our being!"
And that's not all!
There are certainly many examples of this truth in our world, if we care to look. We can see the hand of God everywhere in nature: the ephemeral, short-lived beauty of snowflakes, all unique; the ever-changing and dramatic shapes of clouds; the predictable beauty of the march of the moon phases; the underground cave filled with sparkling crystals growing in the dark; the cheerful song of the robin and the finch; the diverse display of the rain forest orchid that resembles birds and even human faces. And so many of these marvels are ignored and unappreciated by human eyes. Nevertheless, they exist - just because that is the nature of God's creation; to be beautiful!
Have you ever seen a geode? To the eye, it looks like just an ordinary rock. But crack it with a hammer, and it reveals a wondrous, sparkling crystalline interior, invisible until opened. That beauty was always there; it only took the right circumstance to reveal it. In this case, a hammer!
And when we come to appreciate nature in this way, we may begin to see the evidences of this incredible beauty more and more.
Our beautiful brethren
When once one's sensitivities are awakened to the fact of God's diverse and beautiful universe, we may also be able to begin to more fully appreciate each other, too. For each one of us is a unique and potentially good, true, and beautiful aspect of creation, too. In each one of us, there is a personality that has no duplicate. And this personality is the gift of God to the world. Just as beautiful Nature is the perfecting habit of God, each human being carries the potential of perfection as we strive for a beautiful character that reflects the perfect character of God. And oftentimes, that beauty is made visible through character growth inspired by hardship, just as the ball cactus produces its flowers as a result of the rigors of winter.
Look beneath the surface appearance of your brothers and sisters; delve into their lives - become interested in them - and discover the beauty that can be seen there. Look for it. There is the joyful enthusiasm and idealism of youth; the sublime patience and tolerance in those who face and overcome hardship; the character chiseled into the face of one who is devoted to duty; the inspiring peace of one who has sought and found God; the joy and beauty of one who grows old gracefully; the humility and joy of one who has mastered him/herself. And again, this is beauty that can oftentimes only be appreciated when one seeks it. In every life there is beauty.
It is hard NOT to be grateful in this beautiful world, this beautiful life. The difference between one who sees and one who does not see may be as simple as the consciousness of God and his handiwork - provided to all who have the eyes to see. Viewing the wonders of Nature and the beauty of our fellows inspires joy, peace, and great gratitude!
2:7.10 The religious challenge of this age is to those farseeing and forward-looking men and women of spiritual insight who will dare to construct a new and appealing philosophy of living out of the enlarged and exquisitely integrated modern concepts of cosmic truth, universe beauty, and divine goodness. Such a new and righteous vision of morality will attract all that is good in the mind of man and challenge that which is best in the human soul. Truth, beauty, and goodness are divine realities, and as man ascends the scale of spiritual living, these supreme qualities of the Eternal become increasingly co-ordinated and unified in God, who is love.