Jonathan Edwards argues that the source of beauty is God Himself, and that this beauty can be understood in two areas: first, the beauty of moral virtue, that is, the benevolence of God toward being in general and specially toward other benevolent beings; and second, beauty is seen in the agreement or unity of purpose of the Godhead in the trinity, as well as in the union of purpose of spiritual beings in what Edwards calls "a mutual propensity and affection of heart."
This order and mutual propensity is reflected in a secondary or inferior beauty, a beauty formed not only in the relation of spiritual beings, but seen in even inanimate things. Examples of this secondary beauty (consisting in, Edwards says, "mutual consent and agreement of different things, in form, manner, quantity, and visible end or design; called by the various names of regularity, order, uniformity, symmetry, proportion, harmony, etc."), include the "mutual agreement of the various sides of a square, the beautiful proportion of the various part of the human body, and ... the sweet mutual consent and agreement of the various notes in a melodious tune."
This most important connection between the nature of God's virtuous character and the secondary beauty of created things forges a significance for the beauty of objects in this world. The external physical world is formed in analogy to the spiritual world. God seems to take delight in analogy, Edwards says. He makes created things reflect something of the invisible qualities of His nature and the nature of the agreement among His spiritual creatures.
It has pleased [God] to establish a law of nature by virtue of which the uniformity and mutual correspondence of a beautiful plant, the respect which the various parts of a regular building seem to have to one another, and their agreement and union, and the consent or concord of the various notes of a melodious tune, should appear beautiful because therein is some image of the consent of mind, the different members of a society or system of intelligent beings, sweetly united in a benevolent agreement of heart.... And here I should further observe...that God has so constituted nature, that the presenting of this inferior beauty, especially in those kinds of it which have the greatest resemblance of the primary beauty, as the harmony of sounds, and the beauties of nature, have a tendency to assist those whose hearts are under the influence of a truly virtuous temper, to dispose them to the exercises of divine love, and enliven in them a sense of spiritual beauty.
The point is that beauty is seen not only as a pleasant diversion, but as one of the ways God reveals Himself in His creation. This is not to say (as the Romantics did) that the artist is a prophet, or that what he reveals should in any way overshadow specific revelation, but beauty cannot come from anyone other than God Himself, and it is a window into heaven for those who have ears and eyes to see and hear. If this is the case, then WHAT Christians call beautiful says a great deal to the watching world about WHO we call beautiful.
― John Mason Hodges