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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 11: God as Artist *
Introduction: Think about looking at a beautiful painting, a
beautiful sunset, a beautiful vista, a beautiful car or a beautiful
person. How can we say all of these are beautiful? They have more
differences than similarities. What is it about them that we call
beauty? For me, the beauty in all of these different things is that
I take pleasure in looking at them. Sometimes the pleasure seems
like rest, in others the pleasure seems more like excitement. Our
lesson this week investigates the artist side of God - the beauty
that is part of the personality of God. Let's plunge into our study
of the Bible and find out more!
- Beauty in Creation
- Read Genesis 1:31. God is at the end of His Creation work
week and He pronounces, "very good." Would that suggest
that the world was beautiful?
- What could God have failed to do that would make the
world less beautiful?
- What if animals looked more like humans? All
humans look pretty much the same. We have
different colors, different heights and
different weights, but it is all put together
pretty much the same way. What if this were
true for the animals?
- One answer I would give to the "what could God have
left undone" question is flowers. How are flowers
essential to our lives? (They are not. This shows
that God cares about beauty.)
- Another answer I would give is colorful fish and
birds. Do fish and birds need to be colorful in
order to live? (There are plenty of dull-looking
birds who manage to live. The colorful ones are here
to provide beauty.)
- For every other beautiful thing you can think of, is
its beauty essential for its life? (God gave us
beauty even though it was not required. This says
something important about God and His attitude
- Let's talk architectural design for a moment. Nissan
designed a car (the Cube) that has an asymmetrical design
(meaning one side looks different than the other side)for
a few of its features. The Cube is mostly symmetrical
(meaning both sides are the same). Imagine if humans
were asymmetrical? Do you need two nostrils, as opposed
to one big air hole on the side of your head?
- Read Psalms 19:1. Have you seen pictures of galaxies?
Some pictures I've seen are of breath-taking beauty. What
does this text suggest about beauty and the glory of God?
(Part of God's glory is the beauty He creates.)
- Read Ezekiel 28:17. Many Bible students believe that this
is a description of Satan when he was still an angel in
heaven. What does this say about the way that God
created him? (Beautiful!)
- In this case, Satan's splendor was a source of his
seduction into sin. Why would God create a beautiful
angel knowing that this would be a problem? (This
tells us that beauty has independent value in God's
- Beauty in Humans
- Read Genesis 1:26. What does this say about humans and
beauty? (It that says we are made in the image of God.)
- Read Isaiah 53:2-3. This is a prophecy about Jesus. What
did God look like when He became a man? (Isaiah says that
Jesus was not handsome.)
- Does that mean that God is not beautiful? Is that
the reason we are symmetrical, but otherwise sort of
dull looking? (So many attributes of Jesus' life as
a human seem to be based on the idea that He came to
earth as "one of us." He came as a "second Adam."
(See, Romans 5:14 and 1 Corinthians 15:45.) I think
that dictated several disadvantages for Jesus as a
human. He was poor. God is not poor. He was not born
into royalty. God is the King of Kings. If Jesus was
rich, royal, and incredibly handsome, then those who
are not would say that Jesus was not "tempted in
every way, just as we are." ( Hebrews 4:15).)
- Read Ezekiel 16:15. What does this suggest might be a
problem with human beauty?
- Read Luke 12:27-28 and 1 Peter 3:3-4. A number of
translations throw in the word "merely," so that the
sense of the 1 Peter text is "your beauty should not come
merely from how you wear your hair, the quality of your
clothes, and the wearing of jewelry." Would the God who
made lilies beautiful want us to look drab?
- If the answer is, "No, if God created beauty in
flowers, He supports beauty in humans," how do you
understand this text in 1 Peter? (Peter is saying
that true beauty does not consist of what you wear,
how you arrange your hair or the value of your
jewelry. Instead, true beauty comes from inside, it
has to do with your character.)
- Is this some sort of scam? When I was young,
whenever some adult recommended that I should
date someone with a "great personality" I knew
this was a code phrase for "bad-looking." Is
God just trying to make plain people feel good?
- Read Psalms 96:9. "Splendor of His holiness." Does this
sound like "beauty of holiness?" If so, how can holiness
be beautiful? (Let's go back to the introduction. How can
a painting, a car, a sunset and a woman be beautiful? (We
say, "How do I react to that?")
- Now, let's read Proverbs 31:30 and revisit 1 Peter 3:4.
What is the "unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet
spirit?" (Both of these texts tell us that physical
beauty has a "shelf-life" (it does not last forever).
I've seen woman who were beautiful for many decades - but
I'm getting older too, so that might influence my
opinion. However, the sad Biblical news for all of us is
that physical beauty generally fades with time.)
- How can a quiet spirit be beautiful? (Beauty is "how
do I react to that?" How do you react to a gentle
- Do you know members of the opposite sex who are
great to look at, but you would not want to be
married to them? The adults who used to tell me
about a "great personality" were not involved
in a scam.)
- Which would you prefer: a beautiful, mean spouse, or
an plain, loving spouse? (Since beauty fades, the
odds are that all you are left with is mean! If
beauty means to enjoy beholding, then plain and
- Read 1 Samuel 16:7. Are we destined to look only at
- Read Proverbs 20:29. Let's look at God's design of human
beauty from another angle. Can beauty change with age?
(Yes. What is pleasurable about young men? They are
strong. What is pleasurable about old men? That they are
distinguished. You can take pleasure (find beauty) in
different things about your spouse as time passes.
Perhaps you took pleasure in the physical beauty of your
spouse when you were young, but you take pleasure in the
personality, creativity, humor, or wisdom of your spouse
when you are old.)
- Read Psalms 51:10. If we decide that we do not have a
beautiful spirit, can God sculpt us into a more beautiful
- Beauty and Music
- Read Revelation 15:2-3. Have you ever seen someone "hold"
a harp? We had a harp at my daughter's wedding. You had
to truck that thing to the church. Friend, these
instruments in Revelation are guitars! (I am partially
joking.) What does this say about music and heaven? (It
will be part of praising God!)
- Read 1 Chronicles 23:1-5. Notice this, a combined choir
and orchestra of four thousand! Have you ever been in a
large crowd that was singing praises to God?
- Why did God give (most) humans and some animals the
ability to sing? (Again, this shows the beauty created by
- Beauty and the Sanctuary
- Exodus 25 contains the instructions for building the
tabernacle in the wilderness. Read the list of materials
used in Exodus 25:2-8. This sounds like a beautiful
creation. Josephus describes the temple in Jerusalem
that was destroyed by the Romans as a fabulous place. Why
does God surround Himself with beauty? (Because He
appreciates it and He wants us to appreciate it.)
- What about helping the poor instead of building
fancy churches? (It should not be an "either/or"
issue. We should build beautiful churches and we
should help the poor. Both beauty and kindness are
attributes of God.)
- Friend, can you better appreciate the essence of beauty -
that reaction of pleasure when you are in its presence?
God, the great Artist, blessed us with that!
- Next week: Love Stories.
* Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.