Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Connecting With People Through Beauty, Part One

It is clear that our culture has fallen in love with beauty. We are an aesthetic culture, and it is not truth that captivates us but beauty.

We who are in Christ also love beauty. We do not love beauty for it's own sake, of course. We love it because God Himself is beautiful and because He is the creator of beauty. He has planted it here amongst the bleakness of earthly life. We may thus celebrate beauty and connect with those who love beauty but not because God made it. The lost among us love beauty because it is indeed a special part of creation. Their problem, of course, is that they love beauty more than they love God.

This is an important point. Our love for beauty drives us to enjoy a great many things on the earth that are naturally attractive. The human affection for sunsets, beaches, pretty eyes, and majestic vistas is well known. Yet the Christian never focuses overly much on the creation. The Christian never loses sight of the Creator as the pure expression of beauty, truth, and goodness. In this respect we are radically different from the unbeliever, who sees the world's beauty just as we do but never looks up, so to speak, to see beauty in its essence. We may compare this to appreciating the sand and rocks of a lovely beach but never turning around to see the ocean in its vast and seemingly infinite glory. How foolish this would be, to go to the beach and never look at the ocean--in fact, to steadfastly refuse to look at it. Foolish as this is, it is exactly what the lost among us do--and exactly what we would do were we not compelled by the Spirit within us to gaze at the goodness of a transcendent God.

We Christians are those who love the beach but glory in the ocean. We steadfastly seek to avoid loving anything more than good, and our love is bound up with what we consider beautiful. One gazes at what one longs for and loves; and what one gazes at, one eventually seeks; and what one seeks, one is often consumed by. Those who are consumed by lust for the physical form have merely followed their gaze to its logical end. Those who are consumed by love for God have done similarly--they have fallen for the object of their gaze. We see, then, how important the choice of what one gazes at is. If you find God beautiful, your love for Him will consume you. If you find a face beautiful, or a form, or a feeling, your end will be no different. Your gaze will lead you to pursuit, and pursuit will lead you to worship.

Thus you will sell your soul and never remember the transaction.


Blogger Dad said...

Interesting comments. I'm preparing a Bible study for Is. 55. Vs. 1 speaks of thirst being satisfied and vs. 2 speaks of spending money for things that will not satisfy. To follow your statement, only those whose eyes have been opened may look up and see what will truly give satisfaction, and wonder at it.

Also, I find it of some wonder that we find beuty here at all. We are living in a train wreck, i.e. the flood has broughtt ruin and great changes to our earth. We stand in awe of cayons, mountains, volcanos, etc. and call it beauty. And it is. What was awe-inspiring before the flood, or what will be in the world to come?


10:07 AM  

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