Beauty: that which is pleasurable (desirable) to the senses or exalts the mind: loveliness; particularly graceful or excellent; a brilliant, extreme, or egregious example/instance; good bounty; attractive
The Appearance of God
I got into it awhile back with someone who claimed beauty wasn't distinctly Christian because "Satan is beautiful." I had to beg to differ, however, and wound up using a smattering of Scriptures that, for readability, I'll just list by reference at the end of this post. But the truth is, Satan's a wanna-be. He's strong, pretty to look at, but at his best he's a wanna-be. The whole comparison is absurd, because it's like comparing water droplets on a back porch reflecting sunlight to the brilliance of a tropical seascape mirroring eight different colors of jewels, teeming with life, and varying in depth and warmth.
But, to my recollection, Satan's not even described much in the Scriptures, whereas by contrast God must be beating his head against the temple walls in his attempts to condense his appearance into human language, because the Scriptures just explode with words in trying to find just the right one. Isaiah never got past describing his robe and Ezekiel and John kept passing out. But in all these descriptions we learn one thing: He is gorgeous.
He has thick hair and bright eyes; his body is built for battle and marred with war-badges. There's some speculation he might have wings, given a passage or two. And he's tall enough to have a robe with a train that runs out the door. Sometimes he wears robes that gleam in the light, sometimes he wears battle garb. He's worn simpler garb, a time or two. He's called a crown of glory and a diadem.*
But that's just what he looks like. He's got at least three thrones and a city of gold; he holds the crown and scepter and a shepherd's crook. He's a priest-king of light, a war-hero, a man of justice and mercy, peace and excellence. He's quick to smile and slow to rage, wise and kind. He's called a beautiful inheritance and portion,** and whatever he puts his hand to he excels at.
The Pretty Things of God
I don't think we're doing the charge in Philippians 4 justice if we neglect to consider that things that are true, good, lovely, excellent, of good report, praiseworthy, honorable/noble, virtuous, or pure, are, in fact, desirable. Beautiful. Pretty. Nor do I think we do Scripture justice any time it refers to the splendor, glory, or beauty of something, be it a city or a person. By doing this, we miss out on the drumbeat of "This is beautiful, I am more; this is magnificent; my city is more."
The most beautiful thing you've ever seen is just a shadow. The most beautiful person you've ever seen is just a shadow of his face.
And you know, I think it's funny that sometimes God makes something pretty because he can. His reasoning for the priests' garments was "glory and beauty." Or, in other words: It looks good and it's dignifying.***
Eden was beautiful. And the remade Heaven & Earth contains descriptions that barely find place in the human language. The restoration and reconciliation of the universe is, in fact, gorgeous. He calls his people beautiful, and even wisdom bestows a crown.****
The Audacity of Copycats
And then there's Satan, whose sole descriptions are "a serpent more wise than any other creature in the garden,' 'day star,' and 'fallen like lightning from heaven.' Okay, so you could probably add 'the dragon' and 'roaring lion' to those, but his claim to fame is death, destruction, cruelty, and deception. In other words, he couldn't build something that lasted if his life depended on it; he'd break it with his own hands before he even got started. Fraud, tyrant, hypocrite, and predator of the most vile kind.
This is the guy who has to lie to get anyone's attention. He's got to pass himself off as a master when he's just a renegade servant.
**Psalm 16:5-7; Isaiah 41:2
***Exodus 28:1-3, 29-41
****Proverbs 4:8-10; Isaiah 52:7; 60:7,9; Job 42; Ecclesiastes 3:10-13