The “Cosmetological” Proof for God

In philosophy, there are five principal arguments or proofs for the existence of God. One of those is known as The Cosmological Proof and argues there must be a sufficient and non-contingent cause for the contingent beings and processes that exist; and God is that cause.

We could talk more about the Cosmological Proof, but some of you are already nodding off; so, instead of the cosmological proof, let’s talk about what I call the cosmetological proof. This might be the first time those words have ever been used together, so they may require some ll explanation. Cosmetology is the study and practice of applying beauty treatments. Christians are called to be cosmetologists. We are to make the teaching about God attractive.

This is Titus 2:9-10: “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” Later, we will think about the instruction in these verses but, at this point, note their purpose: to “make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”

That is what we do. Make the teaching about God attractive. The Greek word Paul uses here is “cosmeo,” from which we derive not only the word “cosmos” but also the word “cosmetics.” Cosmeo has the idea of ordering or arranging something, whether the universe or a person’s face and hair. When used of people, the thought is to make them attractive.

Some Christians are poor cosmetologists. Instead of arranging the teaching about God our savior to bring out its beauty, they derange it and make it look clownish and ugly. Take the hypocrite (someone who suffers from reality detachment). Going to him for teaching about God is like going to a stylist who suffers from a retinal detachment for a haircut. The end result in both cases will not be pretty.

For the last few months, we have been thinking hard about the gospel: what it is, what it means, and what we should do about it. Here is one thing we should do: make it attractive. Bring out its beauty. In Paul’s words, “make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”

That idea is present in many places in the Bible. We are to be “wise in the way we act toward outsiders, making the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5). Paul tells the Thessalonians to order their daily lives in a way that is becoming (that is what the word he chose means) to outsiders (1 Thessalonians 4:12). St. Peter suggests a way for wives to make themselves – not just their bodies – beautiful (same word we have here) so that their husbands can be won over to God’s side.

In the same letter, Peter calls on all Jesus’s people to live in a way that will attract others to God, that will cause them (in his words) to “glorify God.” Peter was simply echoing teaching he heard from Jesus about being the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Salt brings out the flavor in food. Light reveals the beauty of a place. Jesus wanted his people to reveal the beauty of God and the remarkable flavor of the life spent with him.

There is an Old Testament text that can help us understand the cosmetological proof. God tells the prophet Jeremiah to buy and wear a linen belt. This was not like men’s leather belts today but a kind of sash that was worn around the waist and was meant to be stylish and attractive.

Then God told the prophet to take off the sash and hide it in a crevice in the rock. Jeremiah buried it in the crevice. When God later told him to dig it up, Jeremiah found it ruined – stained, mildewed, nasty. God used the ugly belt as a metaphor. He said, “…as a belt is bound around a man’s waist, so I bound the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to me,’ declares the LORD, ‘to be my people for my renown and praise and honor” (Jeremiah 13:11).

As Christopher Wright put it, “God wants to wear his people.”[1] They make God look good, enhance his renown, praise, and honor. His people – that is, we – are intended to live in a way that brings out the goodness, glory, and beauty of God for others to see.

The Cosmetological Argument does more than prove the existence of God. It proves him to be desirable. It is not advanced by philosophers’ dialectic but by our delight in God. We attract people’s attention to God by the attention we give God.


[1] Christopher J.H. Wright, The Mission of God’s People, p. 137.

About salooper57

Husband, father, pastor, follower. I am a disciple of Jesus, learning how to do life from him. I read, write, walk, play a little guitar, enjoy my family.
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