Saturday, February 27, 2010

God and Beauty, Part Two

Excerpts from "Truth Decay" by Dr. Douglas Groothuis (2000)

From Chapter 10 “True Beauty: The Challenge to Postmodernism"

Those who aspire to honor the cosmic Lordship of Christ have compelling reasons to accept, recognize, savor, and manifest objective aesthetic truths. This is not a snobbish imposition upon the Scripture but a truth that richly resonates at the core of Holy Writ…God created the world according to his will and design. Surveying the work, God deemed it “good” –even before humans were created. There existed an intrinsic goodness that was not specifically moral goodness, since no moral agents yet existed on earth. God brought forth and blessed his creation as aesthetically good. It was beautiful, pure and brim full of potential. It was good through and through….the Creator made the man and woman as the pinnacle of creation, created in the “image and likeness of God.” These humans, though of the dust of the earth, also came from the Spirit; their sinless feet were planted on the earth, while their imaginations could soar beyond the stars. The task assigned to each of them—as subcreators and stewards under God—was to have equal dominion over creation and to cultivate it within God’s wisdom…As God’s image-bearers, women and men make things of all kinds, for both functional and artistic purposes. They chop wood for fire and carve wood for decoration; they harvest crops for food and practice cuisine for taste; they shovel snow for safety and make snowmen for fun. Artistic expression is a natural part of God’s good creation…When God’s creatures turned against their Lord, sided with the seductions of the serpent, experienced death in their beings and then found sin poisoning their once-pristine planet(Gen 3). From then on, all human culture became a thick and complex admixture of good and evil. Human creators—both redeemed and unredeemed—still serve as instruments of God’s beauty and truth through their artistic endeavors, but the very gifts of God given to his image-bearers can be turned against the Creator and the creation itself through sin. (pp 149-150)

Dr. Groothuis’ final comment in this chapter is this:

My emphatic point is that one who honors Scripture has good reason to believe in real aesthetic value and to reject postmodern relativism as strongly in art as in ethics or theology. Some Christians dismiss this project of honoring objective artistic value because it is alien to their worldview and because they are little acquainted with this kind of judgment…The alternative is a cultural capitulation—either implicitly or explicitly—to postmodernists decline. Such surrender only furthers the truth decay already so rampant in our culture. (p 262)


Doug Groothuis said...

Thank you for posting this. Beauty depends on God as much as truth and salvation.

Lisa said...

You are welcome. And thank you for your comment.