“…beauty typifies holiness, and is something to be desired” – Mary Baker Eddy

I have no idea of the source of these amazing photos, but their creator has been circulating them in an email which says “Pass it on for others to enjoy!” So, ever obedient to a good idea, here goes…!

Amazing striped icebergs in Antarctica

Icebergs sometimes have stripes, formed  by layers of snow that react  to different conditions.  These were photographed by Norwegian sailor Oyvind Tangen, on board a research ship around 1,700miles south of Cape Town and 660miles north of the Antarctic. (See Revealed: The Antarctic iceberg that looks like a giant humbug, from the Daily Mail)

Blue stripes are often created when a  crevice in the ice sheet
fills up with melt water and freezes so quickly that no  bubbles form.

When an iceberg falls into the lake, a layer of  water can
freeze  to the underside. If this is rich in algae, it can form a
green stripe.

Brown, black and yellow lines are caused by sediment, picked  up
when the ice  sheet grinds downhill towards the lake.

As the sender of the email with these photos says, “Having the Internet means  that we get to see something that we never  imagined!”

Sometimes Christian Science is unjustly stereotyped as ignoring the beauty in the world as being wholly imaginary, because of its strong emphasis on cherishing and evidencing – “in earth, as it is in heaven” – the spiritual dimension of existence.  Here is a much more nuanced response to that suggestion by the Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy.

My sense of the beauty of the universe is, that beauty typifies holiness, and is something to be desired. Earth is more spiritually beautiful to my gaze now than when it was more earthly to the eyes of Eve. The pleasant sensations of human belief, of form and color, must be spiritualized, until we gain the glorified sense of substance as in the new heaven and earth, the harmony of body and Mind [God].

Even the human conception of beauty, grandeur, and utility is something that defies a sneer. It is more than imagination. It is next to divine beauty and the grandeur of Spirit. It lives with our earth-life, and is the subjective state of high thoughts. The atmosphere of mortal mind constitutes our mortal environment. What mortals hear, see, feel, taste, smell, constitutes their present earth and heaven: but we must grow out of even this pleasing thraldom, and find wings to reach the glory of supersensible Life; then we shall soar above, as the bird in the clear ether of the blue temporal sky.

To take all earth’s beauty into one gulp of vacuity and label beauty nothing, is ignorantly to caricature God’s creation, which is unjust to human sense and to the divine realism. In our immature sense of spiritual things, let us say of the beauties of the sensuous universe: “I love your promise; and shall know, some time, the spiritual reality and substance of form, light, and color, of what I now through you discern dimly; and knowing this, I shall be satisfied. Matter is a frail conception of mortal mind; and mortal mind is a poorer representative of the beauty, grandeur, and glory of the immortal Mind.”

(Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896, pgs. 86 to 87)

If you enjoyed the photos of the icebergs, you will find some more exampoles of this beauty at this Australian Antarctic Division website!


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Categories: Spirituality and Society

Author:Tony Lobl

I write and edit articles on spirituality from the perspective of the practice of Christian Science as an Associate Editor for the Christian Science periodicals. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the teachings of Christian Science transformed my life and re-shaped my career.


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2 Comments on ““…beauty typifies holiness, and is something to be desired” – Mary Baker Eddy”

  1. Courtenay Rule
    March 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Oh wow! Stripe-bergs!! 🙂

    What a beautiful way of introducing one of my own favourite passages for answering the question: “If Christian Science teaches that matter’s not real, does that mean we have to deny all the beauty we see in the material world?” What makes a landscape, or a work of art, or a stripy iceberg beautiful isn’t really anything to do with matter. It’s the thought it represents and the qualities it expresses – and these elements of beauty go way above and beyond the limits of matter to point to, as Mrs Eddy puts it, “the spiritual reality and substance of form, light, and colour”. I love to think: everything that’s truly beautiful to us now will become even more so as we learn to see it in its spiritual reality! Thanks, Tony.

  2. March 12, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    Thanks Tony for this reminder and the quote from MBE.
    You are absolutely true/right – after experiencing some “heavy” social stuff the inspiration came to me, that “beauty” as art and communication is an essential tool to bring balance and the desire for it. We need to create this “desire for beauty” by beauty – and this is or developes into a desire for holiness. In contrast to beauty the opposite forms like hate, grudge, envy, greed etc etc become even more ugly so one can more easily turn away from them and turn to beauty … holiness – that must bring healing in the end.

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