In the concluding remarks of Prof Stephen Hawking’s pre recorded 70th birthday speech, which was delivered in his absence due to illness he said this:
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist.”
Do you “Wonder about what makes the universe exist.” That is different to describing it’s workings. I watched a nature program about the great barrier reef a few days ago. Watching in HD really helped communicate the beauty of the world we live in. There is of course the problem of pain that we wrestle with when we ask how there can be such suffering in the world, but there is also the problem of beauty. Why is the world, in many ways, so breathtakingly beautiful, and why do we have such an appreciation of it?
It’s because the universe was made to display the glory of its creator and we were made to see it and be inspired to worship him. I cannot buy the idea that the beauty I see in the sky and on the earth, in people, relationships, music, and mathematics is a…. well I’m not sure what other reasons there could be for it. Did my brain just evolve to appreciate certain things above others? That would mean that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and a face, a night sky, an equation, Rembrandt’s paintings and Mozart’s symphonies just seem beautiful to us. We are not recognizing something truly beautiful just enjoying the subjective illusion of it. No. For me, beauty itself, like personhood, information, truth, meaning etc has its origin in God who is glorious and stunning and radiant and beautiful. What’s more he makes good things to display his beauty (which is kind of similar to his glory). That would mean you and me are created to be beautiful. Of course sin messed that up a bit but not totally and through faith in Jesus (the beautiful one? http://www.worshipmatters.com/2007/07/20/qa-fridays-shou-2/) we will be made like him and then, one day Wow!
I think it was C S Lewis who said that if we saw ourselves as we would one day be, we would be tempted to bow down and worship us.
BTW The Natural numbers (0,1,2,3,…. ) are amazing and a subset of them called “prime numbers” are magnificent. The beauty of mathematics is probably only apparent to a select few egg heads but the rest of us can see glimpses of it in pictures like these: