Have you ever wondered why the sky is beautiful? It wouldn't have to be. It could just be functional, useful. (Actually it could be both dysfunctional and ugly, but then we might not be here to see it...).
For instance, the SUN, the eye of the sky, that yellow star at the center of the solar system, fulfills several functions necessary for life on earth. It is the source of the gravity field that keeps our planet in a yearly orbit, exposing different parts of the earth to differing levels of light and heat throughout the seasons. This promotes an astonishing diversity of living beings. Heat from the sun keeps the planet from freezing over and killing out all living things. Light from the sun powers plant life, which in turn powers animal life. The sun does all this and does it beautifully.
The ATMOSPHERE, the lens of the sky, that thin layer of gas and particles enshrouding the earth, also fulfills crucial life-sustaining functions. For one thing, it acts as a barrier that absorbs dangerous debris from outer space. It also filters out harmful radiation from the sun and other sources. And perhaps most importantly, it contains all the gases that life needs to survive. The atmosphere does all this and does it beautifully.
WATER, the tears of the sky, that chemically simple yet indispensable substance, is the lubrication of all life. Fish live in it, plants soak it up, animals drink it. Our bodies are made mostly of it. We take it in, fill our cells with it, and excrete it. Water occurs as gas (mist, fog, steam), as solid (ice, snow, hail), and liquid. It rains down, flows over, and swirls all about us. It is lovely in all its forms, and all forms are found in the sky. Water fills our world and does so beautifully.
Put these three together in the sky above us--sun, air, water--and the result is not only the thriving of God's creation but also gratuitous, unending beauty. On our ridge in Ikland, with a nearly 360 degree horizon as our vista, we have a privileged position to watch God paint atmospheric masterpieces.
What follows here is twenty pictures taken of the firmament over Timu during the last six months. I trust these photos will testify to you of a God who makes things both useful and beautiful. The sky would never have to be this gorgeous...it just is, day after day, year after year:
In our marriage, Amber is naturally more interested in functionality, I in aesthetics. These natural tendencies show themselves in our choices and opinions. But we both agree that the best situation is where functionality and beauty are both involved, where functional things are beautiful and beautiful things are functional. That would seem to point to a deeper truth about the universe we live in and the God who made it: what God makes serves a purpose but does so in the sheer delight of beauty and loveliness. So why is the sky beautiful? I guess because God likes it that way.