The Purpose of Beauty By Steve Roark TN Dept. of Agriculture, Forestry Division

When you think of beauty, I assume that like me you envision things like a colorful sunrise, waterfalls, snow draped trees, etc. But I’m sitting here having a tough time verbally defining it. It’s an odd thing really. It doesn’t produce any tangible product.  It can’t be bought or sold, and yet all humans value it and are drawn to natural beauty. Why?

The best answer I can think of is that we’re hard wired for it.  Perhaps the Creator had a couple of reasons in mind.   Humans are prone to worry and stress….a lot.  Viewing natural beauty can bring simple joy, wonder, and amazement, which is heathy for the mind and soul. It provides an opportunity to put concerns aside, even if it’s just a short pause to admire a rainbow or a deer crossing the road. There are lots of studies that verify the health effects of enjoying nature.

Perhaps another reason is that beauty points to something greater than ourselves, inviting us to direct our wonder to the creator of beauty himself.  There are several references of this in the Bible:  “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world (Psalm 19:1-4); “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:7-10).

So try to take time to enjoy the beauty of our area. It’s good for you.

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