Decoding the Beauty in the Universe

Decoding the Beauty in the Universe

If it is true that, as we age, we become even more of whatever we have been all our lives, then Luci Shaw is becoming more and more difficult to “shelve.” A poet and essayist well into her eighties, she continues to tackle topics ranging from quantum mechanics and the incarnation to the haecceity** of things and what it means to “doubt faithfully.”

Thumbprint in the Clay: Divine Marks of Beauty, Order and Grace examines these themes and more within the context of Luci’s decoding of the rich presence of purpose, design, and beauty in the universe in which we see God’s fingerprints and His invitation to become part of the creative process.

In four places in Scripture, God is identified metaphorically as a potter, and, made in His image, we also delight in the creation of useful and beautiful things. This response to beauty should not surprise us, for it is a “mark of the Maker,” and Luci Shaw has concluded that “beauty doesn’t reside simply in what we observe or the fact that we can see and take note, but in how we perceive and distinguish with all our senses.” The glory of this is that as seers, we become “partners in revelation to bring beauty into view.”

A collector of pottery through the years, Luci invites her readers to consider the beauty that results when something is imprinted or stamped upon clay — or upon a life.

**To discover the meaning of “haecceity” and to read this post in its entirety click on over to The Perennial Gen where I’m sharing my review of Thumbprint in the Clay: Divine Marks of Beauty, Order and Grace.

I hope you will join the conversation over there as we wonder out loud together: Can we live in awareness of the rich evidence of purpose, the fingerprints of God upon His world, and then invite others into the creative process?


I  am participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase Thumbprint in the Clay: Divine Marks of Beauty, Order and Gracesimply click on the title here, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

This book was provided by InterVarsity Press in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for over 25 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

34 thoughts on “Decoding the Beauty in the Universe”

  1. Love the new word, but how do you pronounce it? If I can’t figure that out I won’t be able to use it in everyday conversation. LOL. What an amazing person and she had such fabulous friends! Deep questions at the end of this post, Michele.

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  2. #GlobalBlogging The type of awe and wonder described here is the sort of faith that could potentially one day sway me round from my current atheistic/agnostics leanings. I agree to an extent that there is great beauty in the “design” of the universe however I don’t believe in intelligent design per se. But regardless of that, there is great awe to be found in the natural beauty of the universe no matter how you believe it came to be and that is worthy of celebration. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I continue to appreciate the sweet reasonableness you bring to the conversation here.
      I think I should begin praying that you will be flooded with more and more opportunities to witness the wonder of design and an even greater appreciation for its exquisite nature (the haecceity of each individual thing, right?) May your curiosity continue to be aroused in your pondering of an exquisite design with no apparent Designer.

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      1. Thanks, I appreciate that. I do my best to keep an open mind about things despite what I may or may not believe currently. I’ll happily admit though that the universal laws of physics, math and science are where I see the greatest potential for a divine presence albeit in a way that is analogous to writing a computer code. The designer sets the initial conditions and specifies the rules of the system and then hits go sending it live. The perfect system would adapt grow and evolve according to these rules with no further input from the designer yet the rules governing it can be easily discerned by another observer. I understand that this removes any need for ongoing divine intervention would undermine many fundamental teachings, yet this is about as close to accepting a divine creator as I can get and is where any threads of faith end for me.

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  3. Your note that Luci is well into her 80s and still producing a bounty of good work is a helpful nudge today that we should aim toward doing the same. The type of work, the quantity may morph and change as the years pass.

    But hopefully, whatever we have to offer will continue to speak of His wisdom and grace.

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    1. Yes, I have a friend in real life who is Luci’s age, and she still volunteers at AWANA in her church and helps her husband lead a Bible study. That generation is my inspiration, all of them my heroes!

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  4. Did you share about this before? I can’t remember where I heard about this book, but I’ve actually already read it! LOL I feel so accomplished knowing I don’t have to add this one to my Pinterest board. It was SO good!! Thanks for sharing! Blessings!

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    1. Great memory, Liz! Yes, I’m reprising this review over at The Perennial Gen because of Luci’s inspiring work as a “woman of a certain age.”
      I’ve gotta head over and see if I can find this magical Pinterest board of yours . . .

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      1. My memory is only good because I actually read and enjoyed the book! Not sure I ever circled back to thank you for sharing it, so I’m glad I get to do that now! Don’t rush over… there are only a couple of books on it now! LOL

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    1. It’s been fun to revisit this book while I’m reading through Jeremiah as he is one of the writers who dips his pen into that metaphor. What a gift to know that we are His creative work and His thumbprint of craftsmanship is upon us!

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  5. This question leaves me with much to think about: “Can we live in awareness of the rich evidence of purpose, the fingerprints of God upon His world, and then invite others into the creative process?” Thanks for prompting those thoughts and always sharing wonderful resources. Thank you also for linking up at #PorchStories.

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    1. I have a tendency to think of creativity as a solitary thing. And I’ll admit it’s my preference. But how wonderful to invite others into the creative process with us.
      Thanks, Kristin, for reading!

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  6. This sounds like a great read! I love the imagery of God being the Potter and us the clay. Sometimes the shaping can be painful, but we know that it is ultimately for our good. Thanks for stopping by SYE and for your kind words to this newbie blogger! -Katy

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