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The Baseline for Beauty

Perhaps you have sat in on a public debate where conflicting values come into play—-a debate, say, how to balance economic growth with the need for preserving the community. Or how to balance the right of free speech with respect for others' feelings? Behind those discussions lies the desire for beauty, truth, and goodness. It can be confusing, to say nothing of exhausting. What is our touchstone for understanding these ultimate values? The Bible tells us that in the end, beauty, truth, and goodness come from God himself, because they reflect his character and being. Sometimes we get confused about these overarching virtues when we lose sight of God. That helps explain why we sometimes distort the truth, fail to work for the common good, or put beauty to wrong use, leading to lust, covetousness, and idolatry.

But there’s a corrective to the false use of beauty. That is to recognize that true beauty comes from God, from his being, character, and works. Some of the many words th