Beauty

Is there a purpose in beauty?  Why are we naturally drawn to it, inclined toward it?  Why are we moved by it?  Science has proven that an infant’s eyes linger longer on a more attractive face, long before socialization would play a role in their preference.  In other words, even before we could be “taught” to enjoy beauty, we do.  We inherently do.  Is this a result of sin?  Or is this a part of the image of God stamped on us?  Could it be, as N. T. Wright calls it, an echo of a Voice?  A beckoning within?  Given to us, implanted within us, to draw us toward Something?  These questions matter to me because I think often about the way I respond to beauty, the effect it has on me, my enjoyment of it, and the purpose of it all.  In my opinion, how we answer these questions may seem inconsequential, but in truth has a great impact on the way we live out our faith before the Lord.

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I love these words by N. T. Wright:

“The Christian tradition has said, and indeed sung, that the glory belongs to God the creator.  It is his voice we hear echoing off the crags, murmuring in the sunset.  It is his power we feel in the crashing of the waves and the roar of the lion.  It is his beauty we see reflected in a thousand faces and forms.

And when the cynic reminds us that people fall off crags, get lost after sunset, and are drowned by waves and eaten by lions; when the cynic cautions that faces get old and lined and forms get pudgy and sick–then we Christians do not declare that it was all a mistake.  We do not avail ourselves of Plato’s safety hatch and say that the real world is not a thing of space, time, and matter but another world into which we can escape.  We say that the present world is the real one, and that it’s in bad shape but expecting to be repaired.  We tell, in other words, the story we told in the first chapter: the story of a good Creator longing to put the world back into the good order for which it was designed.  We tell the story of a God who does the two things, which, some of the time at least, we know we all want and need: a God who completes what he has begun, a God who comes to the rescue of those who seem lost and enslaved in the world the way it is now.”

{N. T. Wright, Simply Christian}

What do you think?  Does beauty matter?

ps.  If you haven’t read Simply Christian, it is one book you should definitely read in your lifetime.  Period.  Probably on my list of top ten books I’ve ever read.

2 thoughts on “Beauty

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