"The glory of the Lord, therefore, is the supereminently luminous beauty of divinity beyond all experience and all descriptions, all categories, a beauty before which all earthly splendors, marvelous as they are, pale in significance."
Certainly what strikes us as beautiful does indeed arouse powerful feelings; feelings of pleasure, delight, wonder, and longing. But the presence of such feelings are not in themselves grounds for ascribing beauty to the object which evokes them. Such feelings are the effect which something beautiful has on us.
They are the results of beauty, not part of its defining characteristics.
Beauty may arouse a sense of delight, but that sense of delight itself cannot be taken as an indication that what evoked it is to be described as ultimately beautiful.
Rather things we experience here on earth that are beautiful are simply reflecting God's beauty. The aroma of a flower, that flower being beauty in and of itself.
"But Christ Jesus has true excellency, and so great excellency, that when they come to see it they look no further, but the mind rests there. It sees a transcendent glory and an ineffable sweetness in him; it sees that till now it has been pursuing shadows, but that now it has found the substance; that before it had been seeking happiness in the stream, but that now it has found the ocean. The excellency of Christ is an object adequate to the natural cravings of the soul, and is sufficient to fill the capacity. It is an infinite excellency, such an one as the mind desires, in which it can find no bounds; and the more the mind is used to it, the more excellent it appears. Every new discovery makes this beauty appear more ravishing, and the mind sees no end; here is room enough for the mind to go deeper and deeper, and never come to the bottom. The soul is exceedingly ravished when it first looks on this beauty, and it is never weary of it. The mind never has any satiety, but Christ's excellency is always fresh and new, and tends as much to delight, after it has been seen a thousand or ten thousand years, as when it was seen the first moment."
- Jonathan Edwards
To experience Christ is to have ones soul lifted to the heavens so that when you land you find yourself standing in a different relation to the world than where you were a minute ago. It is not that you are no longer standing in the center of the world (for you never were to begin with), it is that you cease to stand in the center of your world. They willingly cede their ground to Him who stands before them. Beauty ushers you into his presence
The fact is that God is beautiful. This brings out an even more crucial reason why the concept of beauty must once again play a central role in our understanding of the Christian faith. For without a positive theological evaluation of beauty there is no motive to delight in God and no compelling reason to love Him.
The beauty of Christ are all his perfected virtues. In another word, the beauty of Christ is his glory, the radiance of all his beautiful perfections. .
"beauty is the battlefield where God and Satan contend with each other for the hearts of men."
- Fyodor Dostoyevski
*Much of this blog is borrowed, edited, and lifted from my dear friend the late great David Phillips