Thursday, 7 April 2016

The Golden Ratio In Us: We're Fearfully And Wonderfully Made

Leonardo da Vinci: Mona Lisa (public domain).

Joel Kontinen

The golden ratio is a hallmark of great beauty. We’ll get it if we divide a straight line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is as long as the entire line divided by the longer part. It is often symbolized by the Greek letter Φ (phi).

Image: public domain.

We can see the ratio in ancient buildings such as the Parthenon in Athens and in many paintings. Leonardo da Vinci and many other famous masters used it in their art.

Numerically stated, it roughly equals 1.618, which happens to be very close to what we’ll get when we divide a number in a Fibonacci sequence by the number preceding it, for instance 233 by 144.

In a Fibonacci sequence the next number is the sum of the previous two numbers, for instance 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, or

Fn = F n-1 + F n-2.

Translated into real life, it spells beauty.

We can find this sequence practically everywhere in nature, from the very small to the huge – in tiny seeds, shells, the petals of a flower and compound eyes, and even in the arms of spiral galaxies. (See examples here and here.)

What is interesting is that we can also see the golden ratio in us. The distance from our navel to our heels and from our navel to the top of the head follows the ratio, which is also seen in our fingers.

This symmetry and beauty does not make sense in a Darwinian world that is obsessed with survival, but it fits in nicely with what the Bible says.

God creates everything to be good. We can see much beauty, even in our fallen world. As the psalmist says, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works” (Psalm 139: 14, NKJV).


Hom, Elaine J. 2013. What is the Golden Ratio? Live Science (24 June).