finding truth matters

by Dr. Andrew Corbett 

For many Christians their relationship with God is so certain that they rarely question it. They enjoy His presence in their life. They have no problem with balancing faith and certainty. Through spiritually unveiled eyes they see the hand of God guiding them and the events of human history. But nothing reminds them more of God and what He has done than beauty. 

Not only is beauty one of the most faith-strengthening gifts of God, it is also one of the most powerful arguments for God. This notion is referred to by theologians as the Argument from Aethestics.  Not generally known for his contribution to Theology, it was the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes who most famously noted the connection between mankind’s appreciation of beauty being an argument for God (whom he called “Providence”) –What Sherlock Holmes said about beauty and God

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11


The Abolition of Man by CS Lewis

The Bible presents God as infinitely beautiful. It uses words such as splendour, majesty, glory, honour, radiance, and delightful. Little wonder then that such a God would leave His ‘beauty touch’ on everything He created! Those who have caught a glimpse of God described the experience as: beholding, adoring, admiring, gazing. There is something infinitely attractive about God that awakens within us a deep knowledge that we were created and designed for a higher purpose.

C.S. Lewis somewhat defends the Argument from Aethestics for the existence of God in his book, The Abolition Of Man. For Lewis, the fact that certain things are objectively beautiful is a powerful argument for God. For Sherlock Holmes, the rose was a mystery that led to belief in God. For C.S. Lewis, the fact that we humans crave, appreciate, recognise, and delight in beauty, pointed to all people being created in the image of a God of beauty. He argued that because beauty was objective, the idea that true beauty was merely a conjured feeling in response to something one finds appealing, could not be countenanced. For Lewis, the idea that God created beautiful things is confirmed by our observation of beautiful things. The materialist denies that such beauty actually exists. Instead, the materialist asserts that the viewer merely feels that something is beautiful.

“…the well-known story of Coleridge at the waterfall. You remember that there were two tourists present: that one called it ‘sublime’ and the other ‘pretty’… Gaius and Titius comment as follows: When the man said This is sublime, he appeared to be making a remark about the waterfall … Actually … he was not making a remark about the waterfall, but a remark about his own feelings. What he was saying was really I associated in my mind with the word “Sublime”, or shortly, I have sublime feelings.'”
The Abolition of Man, pg 2

Lewis goes on to show that certain things are beautiful because they are. He gives the reason for this as creation reflecting the Creator. If Creation is beautiful, then the Creator must be infinitely beautiful.


The materialist is forced to regard beauty as utterly subjective – “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” If it can be shown though, as C.S. Lewis does, that anything is intrinsically endowed with beauty then the materialist’s argument (that beauty is purely subjective) is shown to be false. The dictionary defines beauty as –

1. The quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, colour, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).
2. a beautiful person, especially a woman.
3. a beautiful thing, as a work of art or a building.
4. Often beauties. Something that is beautiful in nature or in some natural or artificial environment.
5. an individually pleasing beautiful quality; grace; charm: a vivid blue area that is the one real beauty of the painting.
6. Informal. a particular advantage: One of the beauties of this medicine is the freedom from< aftereffects.
7. (usually used ironically) something extraordinary: My sunburn was a real beauty.

Of course, beauty is better sensorially experienced than defined. That is, it is easier to show beauty than either define it or explain it. The implications of understanding of beauty in this way are theologically tremendous! The world which the materialist posits is one comprised of nothing but atoms randomly connected. Intrinsic beauty does not exist in the materialist’s view of the world since this would necessitate intentional artistry which ultimately requires an immaterial Creator.


How we understand beauty has a bearing on how we see the world and our place in it. The idea that all beauty is artificial and not universal, is an idea with dangerous consequences. The Bible continues to place tremendous value on the importance of getting our ideas right. In a world that often celebrates nonsensical ideas, it sounds almost out of step with culture for someone to say that an idea can be wrong or false. While it’s true that all people are equal, it is not, however, true that all the ideas are equal. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans about people who refused to acknowledge their Creator as having become darkened (misled) in their thinking.

¶ Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused.
Romans 1:21



Through the ages, mankind has attempted to emulate – not just the beauty around us – but meaningfully create beauty. This pursuit led to portraying, and then conceptualising.

A 'portrayal' of Winston Churchill
A portrayal of Winston Churchill by artist Arthur Pan, 1942 A conceptual drawing of Sir Winston Churchill depicting his last day in the House of Commons in 1964, by Gerald Scarfe

The development of conceptualising led to the formation of symbols and symbolic thought, which eventually led to the development of writing. Written language is actually a system of symbols. But the true beauty of writing is not so much in its symbols as it is in its concepts. A moving story, a dramatic tale, a courageous adventure, can all be described as beautiful writing without reference to the original pen or key strokes. This appreciation of literary beauty is made possible because human beings have the unique capacity to create and then interpret that creation conceptually. This has implications for how we understand beauty. It has been noted that the Creator has both designed and utilised this in His communication with mankind within the message of the Bible. Unlike other religious holy books which may only contain religious or ethical rules, the Bible is actually a love story with a beginning, middle and end. Woven through its pages is dramatic narrative, artistic poetry, emotive parables, and highly symbolic apocalyptic portends. It is a work of literary beauty.

The Port Davey Track, Tasmania


My wife and I enjoy the natural beauty of the Tasmanian wilderness. For the past few years we have hiked much of Tasmania’s wilderness and forests. We deeply appreciate natural beauty. We recognise the high value of conservation efforts in these World Heritage areas. But even the natural beauty of the Tasmanian bush can sometimes benefit from being tamed. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean that it is perfect or can’t be improved with human intervention. Neither does it mean that every aspect of nature has equal beauty. There is great danger in succumbing to the false idea that natural always means right, good, or beautiful. This idea becomes especially dangerous when it spills over into how we regard what it means to be a good person. 

We all have certain natural desires, urges, and motivations. Just because these desires feel natural – or even if they can be shown to actually be natural – it is not moral justification for any behaviour resulting from these desires. Our most natural inclinations are not always beautiful. There are many people who have been the victims of another’s actions resulting from their abuser’s natural desires. Yet, some people posit that all natural desires are right, and even good. Some go so far as to say that since God has designed each person He has given them certain appetites, including sexual ones, which must therefore be morally acceptable. 

Port Davey Track, South West Tasmanian Wilderness 

This unfounded idea is now used repeatedly by those seeking to justify their varied sexual proclivities (which have always been regarded by civilised societies as immoral). Despite the unchallenged promotion of the idea that aberrant sexuality is ‘hard-wired’ in people – there is no chromosonal, genetic, bio-chemical, brain-wave pattern, as the cause for immoral sexual attraction. Because of this lack of scientific support for unnatural sexual attraction it is difficult for its advocates to morally justify it. This is why they then borrow, a largely unchallenged idea, from the Environmentalist Movement: natural is right … it feels natural to me, therefore I must be hard-wired this way and that means I can’t help it – thus, it must be morally acceptable.

This type of reasoning is hardly tolerated for other kinds of moral justifications made by murderers, rapists, and thieves. After all, they could similarly claim that they too had overwhelming natural inclinations to behave how they do. But any such claim would be instantly and reasonably dismissed.

The kind of sexual intimacy prescribed in the Bible can reasonably be viewed as natural by design even when it may not be by individual desire. This expression of intimacy between a man and woman is only made available to them via the most intimate commitment to each other to the exclusion of all others for life. This culmination of physical, emotional, and spiritual union is rightly thought of as beautiful.


At the outset of this article I asserted that the idea of natural equating to ‘moral’ has largely been advanced by those usually identified with the Environmental movement. This assertion can easily be sustained. Tasmania, where I live, is the birthplace of the Greens Political party. Despite being elected on a platform of protecting native forests, once elected, Greens Party politicians have consistently prioritised the promotion non-life policies such as abortion, euthanasia, and same-gender marriage. (Pope Benedict described this as advancing ‘a culture of death‘.) Politics is beautiful when it protects and promotes human life and flourishing. 



While it is unreasonable to argue that what is natural must automatically be regarded as moral, it is not unreasonable to argue that there is a “Natural Law”. Professor J. Budziszewski, from the University of Texas (Government & Philosophy) has done a masterful job in showing that there must be a Natural Law in his book- What We Can’t Not Know (Ignatius Press, 2011). He contrasts the arguments that what is natural must be considered moral with the Natural Law (which reveals what constitutes morality). I recommend this book for a fuller treatment of this subject. Suffice it to say that those who advocate that what comes naturally must be moral, such as Professor Peter Singer, undergird their definitions of morality on the foundation of pleasure. Professor Budziszewski points out that this is hardly the basis for identifying a universal moral code (the “Natural Law”) because ‘pleasure’ is so subjective. On the contrary, behaving in a morally beautiful way often if not usually requires a person to act on behalf of another’s benefit despite their own natural inclinations!



How should we engage with those who have been misled into thinking that there is no beauty in the Creator’s design? These people see no intrinsic beauty in a rose, no reasonable beauty in an exquisite piece of music, no objective beauty in a piece of literature, no selfless beauty in politics, and no loving beauty in human intimacy.

I propose that we offer them something truly beautiful – our understanding, compassion, and kindness wrapped in the truth – that this world has been designed and created by God who is the ultimate standard of beauty.  Perhaps this most unnatural response by those who understand the Creator’s Natural Law, toward those who feel compelled to break it, might go a long way to helping those battling with their sexual proclivities to feel the respect they so desperately crave and ache for. This might in turn help them to realise that since this world is even more beautiful than could have ever imagined, the God who caused it all, may just be the only truly deserving Person in the Universe of their adoration and admiration. The result could well be that those who truly feel anything but beautiful will come to experience True Beauty for the first time.

Dr. Andrew Corbett
Originally, 23rd March 2012, revised 22nd November 2017

Watch A Theology Of Beauty, Part 4: Music, on YouTube

Roman Catholicism Compared With Christianity

Any discussion about religious wars, clergy violations, or child abuse, and it won’t be long before the The Roman Catholic Church unfortunately features. But I want to have a different discussion. And unlike most of the ‘discussions’ of this nature, I’m not on a mission to attack, ridicule, or mock anyone. Rather, I want to look at what the Roman Catholic Church officially teaches and asserts and compare it with the Bible’s teaching.

I’ve been a denominational minister for over two decades, so I know that it is possible to be a part of an organisation with which you disagree on some points.  I understand that this is certainly the case with the Roman Catholic Church as there are many priests who do agree with all that their Church asserts. For the purposes of this discussion, I have chosen to take the official Catholic positions on the matters I am comparing with the Biblical data. It is my hope that my Roman Catholic audience will acknowledge that I have represented their views fairly – but it is also my hope that I can appropriately demonstrate how these core views compare with the Biblical prescriptions.

Soli Deo Gloria

The final statement in The Five Pillars of Biblical Christianity is Soli Deo Gloria – for the glory of God alone! The reason we are saved is so that we can glorify God. In one sense it is true that reason Christ died for us was to save us from our sins and the just wrath of God for our sin. But the main reason Christ died to redeem us was for the glory of God.

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
John 5:44

The glory that comes from God is when we give God glory. One of Christ’s last prayers was that His disciples would see His glory (John 17:24). Therefore God’s glory, His radiant magnificence, is visible and apprehendable. God’s glory is described several times in Scripture. In this sense, God’s glory is a visible reality (a noun). God’s glory is variously described as being like a cloud (Exodus 16:10), a devouring and consuming fire (Exodus 24:17), fire and smoke-like cloud (2Chronicles 7:1), and a brightly glowing cloud (Ezekiel 10:4).

Where Are The Dead?

Sitting across from me in my office was an older middle-aged man who had just read my draft commentary on the Book of Revelation. He had come from Queensland to visit friends in Tasmania and while in the neighbourhood, dropped in to see me to have chat and get a later edition of my book. He asked a lot of theoretical questions and we discussed the implications of what we discussed. Not until he returned to Queensland did I get an email regarding the chapter on the Resurrection. It was at this point that he confided in me that he was in the advanced stages of cancer and that his query was far more than theoretical.
The ancients believed that death was merely a change of location for the soul of a person. The place of the dead was called “Sheol”. When Jacob thought his son Joseph was dead: “All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.” (Gen. 37:35 ). When the judgment of God came upon Korah and his rebellion.

TULIP, The Essence of The Reformation

Jesus Christ taught that following Him was only possible through the miracle of conversion. He taught that for someone to authentically claim to be a Christian they needed a spiritual encounter that changed their heart and mind. Without such a miracle, known Biblically as ‘regeneration’, no one could merely decide to be a Christian.
It’s important to appreciate the geo-socio-politico conditions at the time of the Reformation. This was the time when John Calvin, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and others dared to defend the Biblical revelation against a militant Papal Church which had previously executed similar voices (Wyclif, Tyndale, Savonarola, to name a few) for daring to defy the teaching of the Papacy. One of the central claims of the Papacy was “Universalism”, the doctrine which taught that Christ’s sacrificial death was repeated over and over through the celebration of the Mass and was effective in saving all those in communion with the Roman Catholic Church (thus, universal salvation was activated by works). Since Salvation was universal (everyone is automatically saved), the Papal Church was more concerned about administering this salvation through having people in communion with it, or alternatively, disfellowshipping (or, ex-communicating) those who it disliked. Calvin on the other hand saw that Scripture did not teach universalism, but conversely- that not everyone would be saved.

Leadership Lessons From Shackleton

Sometimes when the going gets tough, you just have to keep going. In fact, success in life – no matter how you define it – can only be achieved with endurance. Surely one of the greatest examples of endurance (if not the greatest) is the story of Ernest Shackleton and his expedition to the Antarctic on the ship: The Endurance. While we ordinary mortals may never have a death defying adventure like Shackleton and his 28 men, we are already in the midst of our own great adventure called life!

Some people want to live their lives by seeking their maximum comfort and avoiding all risks. But this is not the Believer’s lot. We are called to follow Christ- who even though He is entirely consistent in character, is somewhat unpredictable in his plans for His followers. The New Testament calls this “walking by faith” (2Corinthians 5:7). This is why for the Believer, Life is the Greatest Adventure.

When was the last time you did something for Christ that required “great faith” (Matthew 15:28)?

How Pagan Is Christianity? A response to Barna and Viola

It’s rare that a Publisher commences book with a disclaimer by virtually saying we are publishing this even though we don’t agree with it. This type of disclaimer is especially rare for a publisher such as Tyndale. After reading this book I understood why Tyndale were so apprehensive in publishing it. While this was puzzling, what I found most puzzling was that George Barna put his name to it! One can only wonder at the damage this book has done to his reputation.
A “Pagan” is someone who is either ignorant or has wilfully rejected the truth and as a result is an idolater (worships idols). This is the word that the authors have chosen to use to describe modern Christianity. It is, as they admit, an outrageous claim.

Religion and Politics Don’t Mix

This is an introduction to the theology that leads to political engagement by Christians. It explores the notion of the separation of Church and State, how this has been misapplied and re-thought of by significant Christian leaders in the 18th, 20th, and 21st centuries. I conclude with a personal experience of what I consider positive political engagement looks like. 

They say art is the thermometer of culture. In this sense, politics might be seen as the barometer of culture. And we might add that Christians should be the thermostat of culture (not the thermometer of culture). By this we mean that art in its various forms – literature, music, visual art, movies, poetry, photography, and fashion, reflect what culture finds acceptable, disturbing, desirable, praiseworthy, and even beautiful. And politics is the popular affirmation (the essence of democracy) of a set of legislative policy agendas that give direction to a culture.

The Leadership Key of King David

Success often results from being able to get along with others. Real leadership success can only be achieved by working with others. And this type of spiritual leadership is prescribed in the Bible as “partnering” with others. This is why we regard Partnering as the ‘art of leadership’.

We work together as partners who belong to God. You are God’s field, God’s building—not ours.
First Corinthians 3:9

Churches need leaders. Jesus called His original disciples to “shepherd” (not “sheep-herd”) His sheep. In John 10 Christ labors this point that his servants will lead His people as ‘shepherds’. This is not the type of leadership that domineers and exploits for personal gain. This is called despotic leadership. Rather, the type of leadership that Jesus calls for is ‘God-Partnering’ leadership: the kind of leadership heart that God has toward His people. This is why First Corinthians 3:9 says that church leaders work together with God (“labourers together with God” KJV). As leaders with God we are to treat people as if they were God’s (“God’s field/building”). If you are called to lead people within a church, whether as a senior pastor or someone helping their pastor to lead, it is important to realise that we lead with God as well as for God, and that it is His Church.

What Do Christians Really Believe? (You might be surprised!)

What is the popular perception of what Christians believe? If we are to believe what the popular media reports, Christians are known far better for what they are against than what they actually believe. Therefore, it’s not surprising that most people think that Christians are essentially homophobic, misogynists, who seek to control people through the medieval superstitious beliefs. This new uninformed perception of Christianity is perpetuated by politicians who, while claiming to be Christians, actually espouse views and values antithetical to Christianity. This was seen dramatically in both the US Presidential elections of 2008/12 and the Australian Federal election of 2013. In both campaigns major candidates claimed to be adherents of Christianity yet they ridiculed the Bible and asserted that it endorsed their particular views on issues such as marriage and sexuality, and what constituted ‘Christian’ social justice. Most recently in Australia, the Opposition Leader, Mr Bill Shorten, speaking at the Australian Christian Lobby National Conference, claimed to be a Christian yet asserted positions foreign to classic Christianity. So just what do Christians really believe?

Examining The Prosperity Gospel

“Give to my ministry” announced the Televangelist, “and Lord will cancel all your debts!” These and other claims by ‘Prosperity Preachers’ are also suspiciously linked to the size of the “seed” someone “sows” into their ministry. In more recent times this prosperity teaching has even been linked to the collapse in the sub-prime mortgage market and the eventual global economic melt-down! But if the Prosperity Gospel was only about money, we could perhaps tolerate it. But it encompasses much, much more dangerous dogma than that!

In a recent Time Magazine Online article, it questions the influence of Word of Faith preaching on the Sub-Prime Mortgage collapse. Before this article appeared though, many pastors, Bible teachers, and theologians were screaming from the roof-tops about some of the dangers of the “Prosperity Gospel”. But such roof-top screaming fades into a whimper compared to the massive media resources available to the super-preachers of the Prosperity Gospel. This “Gospel” not only baptises materialism and avarice but it denies some of the most essential Christian doctrines and replaces them with what can only be described as cultic teaching and practice. The Prosperity Gospel is also known as “Word of Faith” theology, or the “Health, Wealth, Happiness Gospel”. Its most public proponents are all televangelists who appeal to their audiences for donations- with promises of God’s miraculous financial blessing according to the amount donated. All of these preachers have testimonials from people who have given to their ministry and allegedly miraculously prospered as a result. There are some televangelists who are probably charlatans because they have discovered that Christians are gullible cash-cows. But many of these Prosperity Preachers are sincere, genuine, and nice people- its just that their theology is fatally flawed with dangerous errors!


Read articles about ethics, apologetics, philosophy, public policy discussions here

Audio Archives

Listen to or download hundreds of teaching audios. Search by categories, topics and Scripture passages.

Teaching Videos

View hundreds of teaching videos here. Invite a ‘virtual’ guest speaker by using these videos.

Free Resources

Choose from hundreds of Printable, free, and downloadable, Bible Studies, and Sermon Powerpoints/Keynotes.

Subscribe To The FTM PerspectiveseMail

Receive our regular email with updates, fresh articles, audio downloads, and special offers.

You have Successfully Subscribed!