Beauty is symmetry and balance.  Glamour magazines showcase the best face, or body because of the eyes just being the right size in comparison with the nose and lining up perfectly with the ears.  An artist who draws caricatures of people amplifies certain physical traits to make them both recognizable but out of proportion and funny! Interior designers are always attentive to symmetry, scale, and balance.  Architecture is all about finding the right mix of paradox, contrast, balance, symmetry, and rhythm.  Beauty is symmetric, balanced, involves contrast, and has order.  

There is cogent evidence to show that light consists of waves, and equally cogent evidence to show that it consists of particles. It is not apparent how light can be both waves and particles, but the evidence is there, and so neither view can be ruled out in favor of the other. Neither, however, can be reduced to the other or explained in terms of the other; the two seemingly incompatible positions must be
held together, and both must be treated as true. Such a necessity scandalizes our tidy minds, no doubt, but there is no help for it if we are to be loyal to the facts” ((Footnote (J. I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God [Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity, 1961] p. 19).14))

The greatest mystery of Jesus life was a paradox. He is earthly, human, unassuming, with a fine sense of humour and playfulness, yet He is God.  
Omnipresence: “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”(Matt. 18:20).

Eternal: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20).

Almighty: “All power in heaven and earth has been given to Me.” (Matt. 28:18).

Omniscient: “No one knows who the Son is but the Father, and who the Father is but the Son and everyone to whom the Son wants to make him known.” (Luke 10:22).
Forgive sins: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic.” (Mark 2:10).

The paradoxical values of Jesus is: Broad and narrow; warns of immanent judgement yet loving and kind to emphasize with the weak, marginalized, oppressed and sick. Jesus’ ministry can be described as a non-reactionary creative, revolutionary pacifist, servant leader, supernaturally human, separated team-player.

Paradoxes are often a sign that things are going well, morally and personally. —Saul Smilansky [1]

A biblical aesthetic of beauty incorporates the ugly. The heart of reality is not a sentimental romance, a garden party, an easy Hollywood beauty. The heart of reality is a suffering romance, a bloody Calvary beauty. True beauty is paradoxical. 

We see the unseen. We subdue by submitting. We win by losing. We are made grand by making ourselves little. We come in first by becoming last. We are honoured by being humble. We fill up with God by emptying out ourselves. We become wise by being fools. We possess all things by having nothing. We wax strong by being weak. We find life by losing ourselves in others. We live by dying.[2]

Even creation is paradoxical in its essence.  The bombardier beetle’s lethal spray is produced from a reaction between two chemical compounds, hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide, which are stored in two reservoirs in the beetle’s abdomen.  Each of these substances can kill the beetle, yet mixed together becomes a weapon through which the beetle can defend itself. [3]

Although there are only 94 basic elements listed in the periodic table, [4] it is the paradoxical mixtures that drive new inventions. For example, engineers learned to combine steel and concrete to make steel-reinforced concrete. Steel is strong in tension, though weak in compression. Concrete is the opposite. Combine them and you get a material strong enough to hold up a skyscraper but flexible enough to sway without breaking. Steel and concrete compensate for each other’s weakness.[5]

Examples of theological paradoxes within mainstream Christianity include: the Trinity (the three persons of the Godhead are distinct, and each is fully God, yet there is only one God); the Incarnation (the transcendent, immutable God became a man in space and time); the hypostatic union (Christ is one person with both a divine nature and a human nature, and thus is omniscient and limited in knowledge, omnipresent and limited in location, impeccable yet susceptible to temptation, etc.); and the claim that God has infallible foreknowledge of human free choices. Some traditions within Christianity face their own distinctive paradoxes (e.g., the Reformed teaching that God foreordains all things, yet we are morally responsible for our actions). 

The Gospel and message of the kingdom is paradoxical beauty: 

The paradoxical life we live in Christ is one of healing and miracles and yet we get sick sometimes, we abide in supernatural provision yet our wallets are sometimes empty, wonderful victories in the midst of a tremendous struggle, eternal life in our hearts but we all have to walk over through earthly death. 

A friend of mine encapsulates the inner struggle with paradox perfectly in his greatest admission of his vulnerability. My name is Hennie Viljoen and I have experienced an all-time high and all-time low simultaneously. I am strong and weak at the same time. I have absolute clarity on some things, but at the same time, I desperately need wisdom for the next step. I am certain and confused, energetic and extremely tired all at the same time. I hope, but I don’t see. God speaks clearly to me in His word, yet it is difficult because God’s Way regularly does not make logical sense. I am helping others more than ever, but I also need help more than ever before. In Christ I am victorious, but the devil is doing whatever he can to undermine my faith.

The Upside-down Kingdom! 

For he who is least among you all will be great.” (Luk 9:48)

The last will be first, and the first last’ (Matt. 20:16) 

he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. (Luk 22:26)

‘when I am weak, then I am strong’ (2 Cor. 12:10).

The weak are honoured. 

I will make the lame a remnant, And the outcast a strong nation (Miga 4:7); but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (Luke 7:28)

Maturity is to become like a child. 

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 18:1-35; 5:13; 10:40, 42; Mark 9:33-50; 10:15; Luk 9:46-50; 14:34-35; 15:4-7; 17:1-4; 18:17).

Dying to Live 

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  (Mat 16:24).

We gain more, by giving more

He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  (2 Cor 9:6-10; Gal 6:5-6).

The opposite Spirit 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 12:21).

Turn your cheek, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, pray for those who spitefully use you. (Matt 5:39-40).

A soft answer turns away wrath, (Spr 15:1).

Poor yet Rich

as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. 2 Corinthians 6:10

As you consider the paradoxical beauty of Christ, may you be enlightened and stirred in your faith to not loose sight of Him. Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2) 

As we continue to just love Him, follow Him, hear Him, obey Him we are continually changed and transformed into His likeness, Christ within us the hope of glory. 

Ultimately the greatest of all paradoxes is the cruelty, and ugliness of the crucifixion!! It is in His death that we gain life, in His shame we get our innocence renewed, by His stripe that we are healed!!


[1] Saul Smilansky, Ten Moral Paradoxes (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007), pg 113. 

[2][2] Leonard Sweet. So Beautiful, Divine design for life and the church. Pg 30.

[3] https://answersingenesis.org/creepy-crawlies/insects/bombardier-beetle-arsenal-insect/

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Periodic_table

[5] Lapin, Daniel. Business Secrets from the Bible (p. 24). Wiley. Kindle Edition.