When God created humankind, he said that his creation was ‘very good’. The Hebrew word for ‘good’ can also mean ‘beautiful’. It is used, for instance of the lovely Bathsheba, who is described as ‘very beautiful’ (2 Samuel 11:2).
In his ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’, the poet John Keats wrote, ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty…’ That is important. Truth is beautiful.
It is clear that God intended us to have a feeling of both goodness and beauty about ourselves. He wanted us to be able to look in the mirror and like what we see. He wanted us to have a sense of dignity.
The immediate effect of sin is interesting. The first thing that the keepers of the Garden wanted to do was to hide themselves. They no longer liked the way they looked. They were embarrassed and guilty. Instead of standing tall and straight before God, they shrank back into the shadows.
In simple terms, they were no longer beautiful. In their own eyes at least, they had become ugly.
When Jesus told a woman caught in the act of adultery to go and sin no more, he was saying, in effect, ‘I am giving you another chance. You can hold your head up high again. You can have a restored sense of dignity.’
To read more on this topic see Living in the Image of God, Barry Chant (Miranda: Tabor, 2012 available in eBook and Paperback) from which this edited extract is taken.