During the most recent full moon, and the nights around it, as I gazed upon its never-ending beauty a thought kept coming to mind: why do we never tire of looking at the moon? Why is it we marvel at its beauty, find it mysterious, and awe inspiring, in the literal meaning of that word: A feeling of respect or reverence mixed with dread and wonder, often inspired by something majestic or powerful. Dread not in this case, but it never ceases to inspire awe. And this has been true for all recorded history. Again, I ask, why?

The obvious answer is God, but what is it about God and his creation, all of it, that fills the human soul with seemingly endless delight? It has something to do with “the beautiful,” as the ancient Greeks put it. I contend, if all we are is lucky dirt, then what the ancients proclaimed can’t exist, “the true, the good, and the beautiful.” Since these undoubtably do exist, we are not lucky dirt, but made in God’s image, and these realities point to Him. In some sense when we find truth, we find Him, when we encounter the good, we find Him, and when we gaze upon ineffable beauty, we gaze upon Him.

Paul makes this incredible claim in Romans 1:20, that in creation we can see “God’s invisible qualities.” In other words, in some real sense God who is invisible is made visible in his creation. We can see him in what he has made. What are these invisible qualities? “His eternal power and divine nature.” We cannot help but see the God-ness of God in what he has created. If you think about it, it only makes sense.

Some years ago, I went to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. It was incredible seeing before my eyes all the paintings I’d only seen in books. Coming upon a painting by Rembrandt I was stunned. There it was, hanging on the wall, not behind glass, but right in front of me in all its glory. I was looking at something from over 350 years ago that in some way was making visible the man who painted it. It was incredible to see in person.

A work of art reveals the unique personality of the person, especially in those who partake of greatness. There is no mistaking a Rembrandt from Da Vinci, Vermeer or Cézanne, van Gogh or Picasso, and so on. Music is the same way as we all know. How much more the living Creator God! The same God who made these men, made all other creators who reveal not only themselves in their work, but the one who created them.

I’ve been re-reading The Screwtape Letters, and Lewis has typically brilliant insight into how God captures us and reveals himself in creation. Speaking of human beings, Wormwood writes to his demonic charge:

He has balanced the love of change in them by a love of permanence. He has contrived to gratify both tastes together in the very world He has made, by that union of change and permanence which we call Rhythm. He gives them the seasons, each season different yet every year the same, so that spring is always felt as a novelty yet always as the recurrence of an immemorial theme. . . . If we neglect our duty, men will be not only be contented but be transported by the mixed novelty and familiarity of snowdrops this January, sunrise this morning . . .

Or a full moon!

As I gazed upon the brilliance and brightness of the moon, I knew it was the very same moon, in fact the very same side of that very same moon, that showed up last month, and the month before, and every month for my entire life. Yet the sameness never diminishes the novelty, and I can’t wait to gaze upon it again the next month. Only the living, Almighty, Creator God could pull off something like that. And one day in eternity we will gaze upon eternal ultimate beauty face to face. Pointing exactly to this, speaking more then he knew, Job out of his suffering uttered these prophetically astonishing words:

25 I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth,
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

The ineffable beauty we behold in the moon, in all creation, and our reaction to it, always leaves us wanting more. Our hearts, like job, yearn within us, yet we feel like we’re grasping water, and we can only catch a little bit. That is because it is only God himself in Christ, as Pascal so eloquently states, who can fill the infinite abyss in our souls.

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