I awoke at 3.25am on the morning of July 4th. It may have been residual jet lag. Maybe it was a divine nudge. Or maybe I needed to go to the bathroom. Whatever it was, I was awake and for one of the few times in my life, I was overwhelmed by a vision of beauty–the sight of a full moon shining over Elliot Bay (Seattle, USA).
(My friends know that I am aesthetically challenged so this admission is more significant then it looks.)
The moon shown in all her glory. And her glory was reflected in the calm waters of the bay. I am not sure how atheistic evolutionism explains the human capacity to appreciate beauty. The Scriptures however makes it clear that the human race was created with the capacity to appreciate beauty. We read in Genesis 2:9:
“Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of good and evil.”(NRSV)
However we need to heed William Dryness when he reminds us that: “aesthetics and ethical qualities are inevitably interrelated; the Bible knows nothing of beauty that is not integrated into the larger purposes of God for his people.”
It is interesting to note that the “good works” that point to the heavenly Father mentioned in Matthew 5:16, could also be translated “beautiful works”.
The bible is also very aware that beauty that is not rooted in God”s purposes is destructive.
Proverbs 31:30 points out that “beauty is vain”, and Eve saw that the forbidden fruit was “a delight to the eyes…”
Yet Christians must should still celebrate all true beauty, knowing that all true beauty, aesthetic and ethical, points back to the “beauty of the Lord” (Psalm 27:4) and to the Lord Himself.
Or as the Dictionary of Biblical Imagery puts it so eloquently,
“…experiences of earthly beauty awaken a longing for a beauty that is more permanent and transcendent than anything this life can give–a longing for the beauty of God.”Ê
Therefore Christians should recognise and celebrate all true beauty that we encounter in life. And to try to incorporate beauty in all we do, whether we are making a house, a cake, or a sermon.
I thank God for my encounter with the sight of a full moon over Elliot Bay. Unfortunately, I spoilt it all by trying to take a snap short of the scene. That snap shot couldn”t be developed. Serves me right. I was meant to be in “worship” mode, not “tourist” mode.