Truth and Beauty

  Order, Beauty, and Harmony
Part 2


Harmony and Beauty
   Like in a beautiful symphony, there is harmony throughout the natural world. Interdependence and cooperation occur everywhere. The many different life forms and natural cycles are intertwined and balanced (barring unwise human intervention). Although struggle and death take place, these serve to maintain equilibrium and keep the natural cycles going.

   Not only is everything in the natural world balanced and functional, but beauty also surrounds us. Consider the harmony of the colors. The world is not just black and white with shades of grey, but is filled with bright as well as muted, well-coordinated colors in marvelous variety. With its basic colors of blue and green, the natural environment has a calming, rejuvenating, and balancing effect on the mind, heart, and body. Splashes of red, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and brown add interest as well as promoting feelings of cheer, serenity, inspiration, and vitality, among others.

   The natural beauty, aesthetically pleasing to the senses, brings happiness, enjoyment, and even amusement. One admires the delicate shape of a violet, orchid, or cherry blossom; the yellow carpet of a dandelion-covered meadow; and even the purple flower of the prickly thistle visited by a furry bumblebee. Who can help but smile at young kittens, cubs, or puppies frolicking at play; or, hungry chicks with their beaks wide open for mother to drop something in? 
   Before each of us lies a seemingly endless variety of delightful living and non-living things for our eyes to take pleasure in. If only we can pause and stop to admire and smell the lilacs, to explore the forest path, to climb the mountain, and to listen to the waves on the seashore.

A Display of Divine Character
   As a piece of art communicates about the artist, the natural world attests to the qualities and character of the Creator. One can discern love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, and patience as well as humility, wisdom, generosity, and imagination throughout the creation.

   The Creator’s love appears in the abundance of good things surrounding us, such as warm spring sunshine, a cool refreshing breeze, sweet juicy strawberries, and tender parental care. The creation reflects wonderful benevolence. Barring mankind’s destructive deeds, nature functions harmoniously. Furthermore, the Creator’s love and provision are unconditionally available to all creatures. While effort and sometimes struggle are required for survival, all organisms are well equipped for life in whatever circumstances they find themselves.

   Nature displays joy and even humor - birds chirping, lambs frolicking and exploring their world, mothers excited about the first smile of their baby. Who can help but be amused by kittens hitting each other with their paws as they enforce their “social order”, or a puppy barking at a bug? Or, who does not enjoy watching toddlers at their first attempts to pull themselves up on the coffee table, discovering what it feels like standing on their feet?  Lightheartedness and playfulness abound among living creatures.

   Away from the hustle and bustle of human rushing, peace and tranquility come to the fore. Walking in a forest, for instance, one can feel refreshed by the soothing greenery, cool shade, and soft scents. Generally, animals are quiet or make non-disturbing noises. Most birds sing pleasantly, insect buzzing is usually not irritating, and neither is the croaking of frogs. Dogs, cows, and other animals only make ongoing bothersome noises when upset or unhappy.

   Overall, nature’s design has inbuilt gentleness. Under normal conditions, climate remains balanced and pleasant, with hurricanes, tornadoes, and violent storms being the exception. Destructive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are only occasional occurrences. Most animals are non-aggressive to humans and attack only if threatened. Predators are in a minority, and even then, they usually only kill to survive. (In addition, they are a vital part of ecosystems and if absent, the other animals tend to overpopulate and become destructive to their habitat.) In the past century, however, the balance in nature has been disrupted by imprudent human activities and violent natural phenomena are on the rise.

   Patience can also be seen in nature’s design. In the animal kingdom, creatures patiently wait for their young to hatch and grow up, sometimes under adverse conditions, for which they are equipped. Male emperor penguins, for example, endure weeks of frost and blizzard without eating, huddled together, each with an egg on their feet, waiting for the young to hatch, the spring to arrive, and their female partners to return from feeding in the sea.

   Even though God is supreme, sovereign, and omnipotent, his awe-inspiring handiwork demonstrates humility - its inherent power is not flaunted before humanity. Mighty displays of power in nature through such occurrences as deafening thunder, blinding lightning, or terrifying tsunamis are relatively rare. Instead, a quiet demonstration of wisdom, glory, and generosity occurs in sunrises and sunsets, starry and moonlit nights, and the myriads of living organisms of direct benefit to humans.

   The imagination of the Creator God is seen in the astounding variety of designs, sizes, and color combinations. How many shapes of leaves, types of flowers, kinds of seed “containers”, and ways of seed dispersal are there? How many different beaks, flying habits, and nest types come to mind? What about the various sounds that animals produce to communicate with each other, many inaudible to the human ear? Sizes in the animal world range from the 30 meter long and over 100 tons in weight blue whale, to microscopic organisms visible only under electron microscope. The plant kingdom at its large end features the 100 meters tall giant sequoias with a base diameter of 10 meters. These trees and the whales make humans look miniature in comparison. All this is, however, dwarfed, by incredible heavenly phenomena such as the billions of galaxies of which the Milky Way is only a tiny part.

  In his infinite and unfathomable wisdom, God has created an ordered universe and allowed humans, made in his image and given freedom of choice, a limited control over it. The Creator has given people a desire to know how the universe works as well as to understand their lives in relation to it, to each other, and to God. At the same time, ultimate understanding that surpasses human reason is unavailable to humans except through special revelation, but even then a great deal for now remains awe-inspiring mystery.

© 2006 Eva Peck