The Origin of Beauty

The world we live in, the universe we live in, is beautiful. Where do we find the source of this beauty? It flows from the heart of the Creator. Just as the beauty of someone’s artwork, home or garden springs from their heart, so the splendors of the universe, from large to small, originate in God.

Beauty flows to us via our physical reality, even though its genesis is spiritual. We hear the notes of a violin with our ears; we see the Rocky Mountains with our eyes; we taste a raspberry torte in our mouth; we smell lilacs through our nose; we feel the comfort of a hug along our body; all these are beauty realized through our senses.

True beauty comes to us through physical realities, but it originates in the spiritual.

Physical reality and spiritual reality are connected. They influence each other, and can reflect each other, yet they are very different realities. Especially when we talk about the beauty in people. The spiritual part of us is truer, deeper and eternal. The physical is temporary. When we get this mixed up, all sorts of problems stem from our confusion.

There is beauty in the physical, but it is secondary to the spiritual. This is often most difficult to see in the physical beauty of people. 

Because we all respond to physical beauty, we are automatically drawn to people who possess it. We all—male or female—have a desire to appear physically attractive to others. Numerous studies show we associate physical attractiveness with goodness, status and wealth, along with any number of other positive attributes. A person and their body are not one and the same, but because we only experience a person through the medium of their body, it’s easy to forget this.

True beauty comes from the spirit, but it expresses itself through the body. This is often easiest to see in the physical beauty of people. 

We all know people whose faces and bodies do not fit the current, local standards of physical attractiveness, and yet they are beautiful to our eyes. We know the person who lives in that body and we love them, so that body is important to us because of the person who inhabits it, more than for its own sake. A person and their body are not one and the same, but because we only experience a person through the medium of their body, it’s easy to forget this. 

Any purely outward appeal someone’s body has is only temporary, and can be lost. Bodies change with age and life circumstances. The physical attractiveness of someone’s body can also be marred by the person we see inside that body. If they are mean, arrogant, or selfish, for example, we may no longer find them so appealing, despite their good looks.

Physical reality and spiritual reality are not discrete, but rather interwoven with each other. This is one reason the topic of beauty is so complex. It is important to consider how the physical and spiritual worlds interact and influence each other when it comes to the beauty of people. The source of true beauty is spiritual, but it is revealed through the physical.

Observe the people most important to you and reflect on their physical and spiritual beauty. How easy is it to separate the beauty you see in them into distinct categories of physical and spiritual?