Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Books: Eyes Wide Open
Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything by Steve DeWitt is the latest "beauty and art" book that I have read. It was so well written, and I found myself saying, "yes," to chapter after chapter.
As someone who is always looking for beauty, enjoying beauty, or creating beauty, this subject is very important to me. Since I am a Christian, it is also important to me to know how the concept of beauty fits into my knowledge of God (theology) and my worldview. This book made the connections.
DeWitt talked about the created world in all of its beauty being an expression of God's beauty, but not the essence of God's beauty. We cannot see God's beauty, evaluate it, or comprehend it, but we can see, in nature, expressions of this beauty. Day after day the heavens are shouting to us the glory of God -- are we listening, asks DeWitt.
"Beauty boomerangs from God into created beauty, then through the senses and soul of the image-bearer, and finally back to God with praise and glory." I think this quote summarizes and explains my quest for and desire to create beauty (it comes from God and we are privileged to experience it) as well as the result my enjoyments and creations ought to bring (praise and thanksgiving to God).
DeWitt talked about beauty creating wonder, something that only people (not animals) experience. And the natural outflow of wonder is worship/praise/thanksgiving. Beauty and art are meant to create wonder and this wonder is meant to lead us to praise God, the ultimate creator of all that we enjoy. Otherwise, if the wonder does not move into praise/worship we begin to make a god out of the art or the artist themselves.
DeWitt talks about the beauty of Christ as the very incarnation of God among us, perfect in every way and most beautiful of all in his ultimate sacrifice on the cross. DeWitt claims that all beauty is a breadcrumb path that is meant to lead us to Christ.
The book also talks about a task of art in this fallen world -- reminding us of the beautiful that was lost and anticipating the perfect that is to come. Everything finds its meaning as it relates to the Big Story of Creation, Redemption and Consummation (Heaven).
DeWitt addressed the question of viewing and assessing artwork from a Christian perspective. How is the artist portraying truth? How is the artist hiding truth? Is there a lie in the created beauty? Does this beauty cause wonder in me and then result in praise of God?
As you can see, this book gave me lots to think about. I took plenty of notes which I will certainly continue to reference. If you are interested in the subjects of art or beauty I highly recommend reading this book.
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