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Today's Creation Moment

Who was First to North America?
Genesis 1:28
“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth...”
The conventional understanding has always been that North America was populated by people who crossed from Asia to Alaska via the Bering Strait and then migrated down the West Coast. Eventually, some...

What Defines the Beautiful?

Mark CadwalladerViewpoint of Mark Cadwallader, Creation Moments Board Chairman

Most everyone is familiar with the geometric constant π (Pi), 3.14159…, which represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi is interesting as one of the numbers which has an infinite number of digits, the convergence of an infinite series – a so-called irrational number. People thought Isaac Newton was pretty obsessive when he calculated Pi to 15 digits, but by 1950 Pi had been calculated to several thousand digits, and today Pi is calculated by supercomputers to over ten trillion digits.

Golden ratio lineA less familiar geometric constant is the Golden Ratio ϕ (Phi), the ratio at which a line can be divided where its length relative to the longer section at the dividing point is the same proportion as the longer section divided by the smaller section. There are many interesting properties of this particular ratio, also called the “Divine Ratio”.

The Divine Ratio converges to 1.6180339887… and is like Pi – an irrational number of infinite decimal places. But it has some incredibly interesting symmetrical and harmonious properties as well. Its square, for example, ϕ2 is 2.6180339887…, keeping exactly the same infinite decimal digits and “coincidentally” being exactly the sum of the two sections of the Ratio, 1 + 1.6180339887…! Phi’s inverse, 1/ϕ, is 0.6180339887… – again, the exact same decimal digits! Thus, unlike other ratios and constants, the mathematics of the Golden Ratio hold forth an extreme level of harmony and symmetry inherent in the Ratio.

You can read more about this unique aspect of the Creator’s handiwork in our archived newsletter of April 2011 at Geometric shapes such as Golden Rectangles and other Golden Polygons – as well as Golden Spirals formed from the Golden Ratio or its approximation – are found throughout nature in things like seashells, flowers and pine cones.

Do you remember Audrey Hepburn – star of My Fair Lady and one of the great iconic natural beauties of the cinema? Researchers studying beauty have found that beautiful faces like Audrey Hepburn’s tend to fit the symmetry and proportion of multiple Golden Ratios quite perfectly. The spacing and size of eyes, nose and mouth in relation to chin, forehead, etc., it seems, are all the more beautiful the more they conform and converge to Golden Ratios. This is why plastic surgeons today are using the ratio for guidelines to reconstruct disfigured faces into good looks.

This perfection of harmony and symmetry of proportion for natural physical beauty testifies to the perfection of the Creator. And we might, therefore, go on to ask, what constitutes Spiritual Divine Beauty? Are there spiritual, non-physical qualities that also lend themselves to beauty much like a particularly harmonious physical proportion does?
My Fair LadyIn My Fair Lady, Audrey Hepburn’s character – Eliza Doolittle – was transformed from a “guttersnipe” into the most attractive beauty at the society ball. Remember that this was accomplished mainly by refining her speech, behavior and mannerisms. Eliza went from being dirty, ill-mannered and uncouth to clean, graceful, elegant and polite – a true beauty as recognized by everyone there. The point is that what made her truly stand out as a beauty in the end was something beyond her original physical form.

So it is with the Lord. The physical creation is a reflection of spiritual reality. And even in our fallen, sinful state, we can recognize “the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 96:9, 2 Chronicles 20:21). There is something attractive about good behavior. Indeed, the ideal life according to the Psalmist is “to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold (gaze upon) the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4). This is a beauty which transcends physical beauty – centering on spiritually triumphant reality and truth. Thus, the Bible speaks not so much of beauty but of the spiritual counterpart – glory, the glory of the Lord. And it teaches us through various ways to recognize what is truly important for genuine beauty.

For example, in so far as the Bible in Song of Solomon allegorizes the relationship of Jesus to his bride, the Church, we find the king taking an oppressed working-class woman and elevating her to the status of his beloved bride – a very special relationship. The love evidenced by the king helps to make him “altogether lovely” in her eyes (Song of Solomon 5:16), and they share a truly marvelous and enhanced appreciation of beauty as they bask in each other’s love.

What we thus find in the Bible is that Divine Beauty includes so much more than a harmonious physical symmetry. It transcends to a level of wondrous love, and holiness, and grace, and truth, and kindness, and goodness that ends in the harmonious spiritual symmetry and perfection surrounding God – for a spiritual illumination and bliss that we can only appreciate as we gaze intently upon the Lord. We are made beautiful in God’s eyes by His great love, and we are encouraged to set our minds on Him, our great Creator and restorer of relationship, who has more than physical beauty in mind for His creation. He has in mind for us to keep seeking the things above, the truly lovely, including and especially Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:1-4, Philippians 4:8), “beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Golden Ratio is only a small part of what is truly Golden!
Let me close by mentioning the well-known aphorism “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” God doesn’t look upon our outward appearance to determine our beauty in His sight. He looks upon our inner beauty – determined entirely by what we have done with Christ. If we have trusted in Christ for our salvation, we are, indeed, beautiful in His sight. This is why our mission at Creation Moments is so vital for the day in which we live – when our culture has replaced Christ with the idol of evolution and has become exceedingly ugly.

We praise God for using Creation Moments to proclaim the truths of His Word so that many will turn to Christ and become truly beautiful in His sight! And we thank YOU for your continued prayers and financial support!