Art and Beauty in the Bible
Beeson Divinity School Chapel Series
“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4
As King David testified here and elsewhere in the psalter, God himself and all his works are truly beautiful, or glorious.
Most of us would agree—and would stand in good company. Augustine of Hippo, John of Damascus, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards and many other saints have for centuries commemorated the beauty, excellency and glory of the Lord as found in Scripture and the world that it portrays. During the 1960s, a Swiss Roman Catholic priest named Hans Urs von Balthasar, one of the most important theologians of the 20th century, published seven major volumes on The Glory of the Lord (Herrlichkeit in German). And in the 21st century, Christian artists like Makoto Fujimura have asked believers to reflect upon and imitate the artistry of God.
Jonathan Edwards, a founding father of our evangelical movement, went so far as to suggest that inasmuch as “God is infinitely the greatest Being, so he is allowed to be infinitely the most beautiful and excellent: and all the beauty to be found throughout the whole creation is but the reflection of the diffused beams of that Being who hath an infinite fullness of brightness and glory.” The Lord, in other words, “is the foundation and fountain of all being and all beauty.” Fujimura adds “from the vantage point of an artist” that God is the prime and ultimate artist, the source of creativity, who calls us to “reclaim creativity and imagination as essential, central and necessary parts of our faith journey.”
Yet beauty remains today the least studied of the trio of so-called “transcendentals” (the most basic commonalities of things that have being: truth, goodness and beauty). And the beauty of the Lord is rarely mentioned in our churches. So in chapel this term, we will explore some of the things that God has shown us in his Word about his beauty, or glory, the beauty of the cosmos, and the ways in which he wants us to reflect and cultivate divine beauty in our lives.
Our prayer is that the Lord will help us all to grow more beautiful by dwelling on his beauty—more ready, willing and able to reflect, and thus magnify, his glory in the world.
All services take place at 11 a.m. in Andrew Gerow Hodges Chapel.
Dr. Allen Ross will preach on Isaiah 48, "The Beauty of God," during Beeson's Spring Opening Convocation service.
The Rev. Dr. Michael Knowles will preach during community worship as part of the William E. Conger Jr. Lectures on Biblical Preaching. He will preach from John 20:24–31 a sermon called, "Beautiful Scars."
The Rev. Dr. Darrell Hall will preach in chapel on the beauty and glory of God in Isaiah 6:1-7 as part of the school's African American Ministry Emphasis month.
The Rev. Dr. Reginald Calvert will preach on the beauty of creation in Psalm 104 as part of the school's African American Ministry Emphasis month.
The Rev. Dr. Timothy George will preach in chapel on the beauty of human art in Exodus 31:1-11.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Litton will preach in chapel on the beauty of human worship in Psalm 84.
Dr. Robert Yarbrough will preach in chapel for part of the annual Biblical Studies Lectures on John 7:53-8:11, "Reckoning with Jesus."
Dr. Carl Beckwith will preach in chapel on the paradoxical beauty and glory of the Savior in John 1:1-18.
Dr. Sydney Park will preach in chapel on the paradoxical glory of the cross in John 12:23-33.
Dr. Enoch Wan will preach in chapel as part of World Christianity Focus Week hosted by Beeson's Global Center.
Rev. Dr. Mary Moss will preach in chapel on the beauty of holiness in 2 Corinthians 3:4-18.
The winner of the James Earl Massey Student Preaching Award will preach on the beauty and glory of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:1-22:5.