Seeking Beauty

A greenery lined dirt path through the trees

Ruminating on beauty and how it is revealed to us through our Creator.



Beauty is a smile frozen in a photo. Beauty is the dew collecting on a flower petal. Beauty is a home-cooked meal. Beauty is the echo of joyful recognition in a museum hall.

Beauty is not easily captured in one definition. Nearly every university has a class dedicated to the discovery of beauty’s definitions and standards, and yet, after hundreds of years of theory, humanity still can’t settle it. Perhaps, this is because, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” We see beauty through our broken lens—while we can attempt to imagine it in its fullness, our experience is broken fragments. Beauty, like love and prophecy, is a quality we have yet to see in wholeness and perfection. It thus gains its appeal by being elusive, hence the term “fleeting beauty.”

Since the first moments of human expression, poets, philosophers, and artists have chased this idea of beauty and attempted to craft stands for society based on moments. Yet, biblically, beauty is an encompassing identifier, not something specific, but a holistic internal and external quality. While our individual tastes and preferences may vary, there are moments in Scripture where we can glimpse true beauty and gain insight into a Creator-inspired understanding.

For as long as humans have tried to seek beauty, God has been pouring it out in love. Upon creating humanity, God made Eden a home so that it would be “pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Genesis 2:8-9). Beauty, what was pleasant to our human eyes, was made out of a deep love and care for us. We cannot have beauty without love. And so, just as Paul listed endearing qualities of love being patient and kind moments before he introduced this dimmed mirror metaphor in 1 Corinthians 13, all those same qualities apply to beauty. Because out of God’s love, beauty was created.

Then in Luke 12:27, the beauty of human creation is compared to that of nature in that we are called to “consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Beauty comes without anxiety. It has confidence and grace, despite the fact it may wither and fade. Beauty worries not over the future but exists in moments we are present with the Divine. We rest in beauty when we are not distracted with worry over the values of the world.

While some may dismiss the inherent value of beauty, Scripture shows us that it is not frivolous: beauty is intentional and well-crafted, whether by God or by human hands. There is a plan to reflect God and the Kingdom wherever beauty exists. When instructing the Israelites to create the tabernacle and priestly garments, God commanded them to make skillful pieces “for glory and for beauty” (Exodus 28:1-3, 40). So however beauty exists within the definitions of our minds, there is a purpose to both manmade and divinely crafted beauty. Beauty is where God dwells.

Beauty is also holy. Throughout the psalms and prophets, God is described as a “beauty of holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29; Psalm 96:9). Reverence is a quality we often forget in our fast fashions of the modern world. There is a desire for beauty to constantly change and improve, yet those are not qualities of our holy God. Humans constantly want to update beauty as we attempt to focus more on one or two facets of our shattered image. Yet, praises to the God of holy beauty speak to strength and consistency, in battle and song alike. Beauty is intrinsic to God and we as humans get to be created and create out of God’s beautiful image.

So, when next searching for the markers of beauty, ask, “do they stand up to the love, presence, glory, and holiness of God?” For when we live into concepts of beauty that only fulfill the moment we live in, our mirrors are dim. Instead, look for the clarity of beauty in the echoes of God’s characteristic living out in creation and creatives. Therein, Kingdom beauty rests.



Words: Sabrina Dawson
Paintings: Annie Spratt

A greenery lined dirt path through the trees
Closeup of white wild flowers
A fallen log amongst wild flowers

Ruminating on beauty and how it is revealed to us through our Creator.



Beauty is a smile frozen in a photo. Beauty is the dew collecting on a flower petal. Beauty is a home-cooked meal. Beauty is the echo of joyful recognition in a museum hall.

Beauty is not easily captured in one definition. Nearly every university has a class dedicated to the discovery of beauty’s definitions and standards, and yet, after hundreds of years of theory, humanity still can’t settle it. Perhaps, this is because, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” We see beauty through our broken lens—while we can attempt to imagine it in its fullness, our experience is broken fragments. Beauty, like love and prophecy, is a quality we have yet to see in wholeness and perfection. It thus gains its appeal by being elusive, hence the term “fleeting beauty.”

Since the first moments of human expression, poets, philosophers, and artists have chased this idea of beauty and attempted to craft stands for society based on moments. Yet, biblically, beauty is an encompassing identifier, not something specific, but a holistic internal and external quality. While our individual tastes and preferences may vary, there are moments in Scripture where we can glimpse true beauty and gain insight into a Creator-inspired understanding.

For as long as humans have tried to seek beauty, God has been pouring it out in love. Upon creating humanity, God made Eden a home so that it would be “pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Genesis 2:8-9). Beauty, what was pleasant to our human eyes, was made out of a deep love and care for us. We cannot have beauty without love. And so, just as Paul listed endearing qualities of love being patient and kind moments before he introduced this dimmed mirror metaphor in 1 Corinthians 13, all those same qualities apply to beauty. Because out of God’s love, beauty was created.

Then in Luke 12:27, the beauty of human creation is compared to that of nature in that we are called to “consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Beauty comes without anxiety. It has confidence and grace, despite the fact it may wither and fade. Beauty worries not over the future but exists in moments we are present with the Divine. We rest in beauty when we are not distracted with worry over the values of the world.

While some may dismiss the inherent value of beauty, Scripture shows us that it is not frivolous: beauty is intentional and well-crafted, whether by God or by human hands. There is a plan to reflect God and the Kingdom wherever beauty exists. When instructing the Israelites to create the tabernacle and priestly garments, God commanded them to make skillful pieces “for glory and for beauty” (Exodus 28:1-3, 40). So however beauty exists within the definitions of our minds, there is a purpose to both manmade and divinely crafted beauty. Beauty is where God dwells.

Beauty is also holy. Throughout the psalms and prophets, God is described as a “beauty of holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29; Psalm 96:9). Reverence is a quality we often forget in our fast fashions of the modern world. There is a desire for beauty to constantly change and improve, yet those are not qualities of our holy God. Humans constantly want to update beauty as we attempt to focus more on one or two facets of our shattered image. Yet, praises to the God of holy beauty speak to strength and consistency, in battle and song alike. Beauty is intrinsic to God and we as humans get to be created and create out of God’s beautiful image.

So, when next searching for the markers of beauty, ask, “do they stand up to the love, presence, glory, and holiness of God?” For when we live into concepts of beauty that only fulfill the moment we live in, our mirrors are dim. Instead, look for the clarity of beauty in the echoes of God’s characteristic living out in creation and creatives. Therein, Kingdom beauty rests.



Words: Sabrina Dawson
Paintings: Annie Spratt

A fallen log amongst wild flowers

Additional readings

Stewarding Creation

Respecting and celebrating the beauty and bounty of the world in which we share.

On Relinquishing Control, A Prayer for Anxiety

Reflective thoughts and study of Philippians 4:6-7 on how God is in control in the midst of anxiety.

Creativity as Devotional Practice

A reflection on how we can approach the creative process as a devotional practice.

Listening with Intention

Adapting our daily rhythms to hear where the Spirit is leading.


Additional readings

Stewarding Creation

Respecting and celebrating the beauty and bounty of the world in which we share.

On Relinquishing Control, A Prayer for Anxiety

Reflective thoughts and study of Philippians 4:6-7 on how God is in control in the midst of anxiety.

Creativity as Devotional Practice

A reflection on how we can approach the creative process as a devotional practice.

Listening with Intention

Adapting our daily rhythms to hear where the Spirit is leading.