I learned about this phrase when my daughter went to the great Hillsdale College in 2010. I’m sure I’d come across it in the past, but its significance as a pointer to the power and glory of our almighty Creator God has been impressed upon me continually in new ways since then.
In case you’re not familiar with it, the concepts, while not the exact phrase, go back to the ancient Greeks. Over time the phrase stuck, and the three always seemed to be mentioned together. The reason is that each depends on the other, and each implies the other. Most importantly, they depend on and assume God, a God of truth, goodness, and beauty, to which the Scriptures everywhere attest.
I came across this quote, no surprise, at the Hillsdale College website that ties these three concepts together perfectly:
How do we measure “good”? Is it defined by the majority? Is it measured by self-satisfaction or personal fulfillment? The good of any thing is found in its ability to accomplish what it was created for…to realize its purpose for existence as intended by its maker. Only in this realization can something truly be called “good.” “The good” is possible only in the light of truth. Not truth as it is often defined today, by personal preference or popular consensus, but truth as it is…independent from opinions and emotions. And where goodness and truth exist, there you will find beauty. We were created for a purpose. That purpose is not left to chance or whim, but was determined by our Maker and written in our nature. Our purpose is to seek truth, in order to discover and to act on what is good and beautiful in this life.
A more counter-cultural statement in the secular 21st century West could not be found.