The Beauty of God in the World to Come
Even with all of the beauty around us, our hearts yearn for something greater. Often, when we go on vacation, the beauty we encounter leaves us longing for more. But what if this longing is not in vain? What if it’s intentional? What if it is a reflection of a future really that surpasses our wildest dreams?
It is difficult to long for something we cannot see. Yet, with faith and a Spirit-led imagination, the apostles Peter, Paul, and John encourage us to “fix our hope completely on the grace to be revealed in Jesus Christ.” They remind us that in our current state, we see only dim reflections of the glory and beauty of God, mere glimpses of the beauty that awaits us. We read about Jesus. We experience Him by faith. He gives us hope, peace, and comfort now. But the day will come when “we will see Him face to face,” and the sight will radically change us, then and forever. The beauty of Christ, the love of God in Christ, will completely fulfill us.
C.S. Lewis brilliantly noted that our desires and longings in this world are given to be fulfilled. A duck wants to swim, and there’s water. We hunger and thirst, and there’s food and drink. He reasons then, that if we find ourselves yearning for something that this world simply cannot satisfy, then we were likely made for another world. We were made for a place where our greatest longings are fully satisfied. The beauty we now see in nature and the world serves as a foretaste, a mere hint of the beauty that awaits us in the world to come.
The beauty we now see in nature and the world serves as a foretaste, a mere hint of the beauty that awaits us in the world to come.
The Book of Revelation paints a vivid picture of the future that awaits believers. John, in his vision, describes the holy city, Jerusalem, descending from heaven, radiating with the glory of God. Its brilliance is described by costly gems, crystal-clear jasper. The walls of the city are adorned with every kind of precious stone. The city itself is founded on pure gold, gleaming like clear glass. I mean if even the asphalt is clear gold and beyond beautiful, it will be an awesome and glorious place. In describing the world to come, the Bible goes out of its way to prepare us for the beauty that is promised, the beauty that awaits us.
In describing the world to come, the Bible goes out of its way to prepare us for the beauty that is promised, the beauty that awaits us.
As beautiful as our natural world today, John is shown the River of the Water of Life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God. Alongside the river towers the Tree of Life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit and leaves for the healing of the nations. In this future reality that God has for us, there will be no more tears, and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, crying, or pain. More than that, we are told, the beauty of God will fill our sights with awe and wonder in Himself,
Revelation 22:3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them, and they will reign forever and ever.
The beauty we encounter in this world, whether it be the glory of nature, the magnificence of art, a beautiful woman, the power of music, or the intimacy of human love, reflects the beauty of God. It is meant to awaken a passion for God and hope that lies beyond our current experience.
Whenever we are captivated by the beauty around us, remember that it is not the thing itself, or the beauty itself that we ultimately desire. Rather, we long for the God who manifests His beauty to the world.
It is not the beautiful thing in itself that we ultimately desire. Rather, we long for the God who manifests His beauty to the world.
Continue to deepen your understanding of God and what He has done for us in His Son, Jesus Christ. Pay attention to beauty and what it evokes, wherever you find it, and allow it to awaken in you a longing for Him above all else.
The beauty that we see is but a glimpse of the greater beauty that awaits us in the new heavens and new earth.
And be sure that the beauty that we see is but a glimpse of the greater beauty that awaits us in the new heavens and new earth. Our longing for something more points to our true home. So let us fix our hope completely on the grace to be revealed in Jesus Christ, knowing that one day we will behold His face, and the beauty we now see will be fully realized.