Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beautiful Evidence

I nabbed this from the blog of a pastor in the mid west, bloggername, "The Blainemonster" which is cool. His blog is called, "The vertiCALL." Anyway, he just posted this today and it really resonates with me and I wanted to share it here, especially in light of my last post...the two seem akin to me somehow.....

I've always thought that beauty was great evidence for a Creator. What we see throughout history, unfortunately, is humanity worshiping beautiful things, and not the Creator. The sun, moon, stars, animals, weather phenomena - all these things are beautiful (which is an anemic word to describe the majesty of some of these objects) and have been revered as divine by mankind.

Well, we can't blame this idolatry on the beautiful things, nor can we blame it on the Creator for make such nice "stuff". What it comes down to is mankind's corrupt nature and natural inclination for running after everything but Truth.

In The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis spends some time working out the topic of beauty. Here is just a snippet:

"The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things . . . are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited."

I still think beauty is good evidence for a Creator, and when I'm moved by some sunset vista or thrilled by the power of a storm I feel that longing for the One who is over all, who lives in unapproachable light and Whose country I will someday visit because I have been made a citizen.

*Chris again* ...anyway, I think "The Blainemonster" and Lewis are onto something here...and so is Steve Bell in his song, aptly named, "Why Do We Hunger For Beauty?"

I think a lot about this longing...Lewis described that yearning as an "inconsolable longing." The hunger for beauty is really a longing for God Himself, and the longing that we feel inside (Lewis also called it, "Sweet Desire,"), has been put inside of us by God Himself. If you've ever looked on a gorgeous sunset or great work of art and felt a pang of desire, of longing for "Something," but you didn't know what...that's this inconsolable longing for God.

Lewis also said, “There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven, but more often I find myself wondering whether in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else. . .  It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want..."

I love that term and I think about it all the time. "Inconsolable Longing." "Unappeasable Want."
(and of course the "Inconsolable" and Unappeasable" are "Unappeasable" by the mere things of this world.) I seem to remember in Lewis's Pilgrim's Regress how 'John' had such a longing for a land beyond the mountain and over the sea...or something like that.

All of this was to Lewis evidence enough for a Creator. If there is a longing in the human spirit, there must be an object there who planted the longing...or the longing wouldn't be there.

I think that may be why, though I've seen it many times now, I still well up when I watch Lucy's expression as she sees the snowy wonderland of Narnia for the first time...oh, what a pang of this longing that goes through me! Am I the only one? I get the same reaction when Gandalf describes to Pippin "a far green country under a swift sunrise" in the Return of the King movie.

And of course the "inconsolable" and the "hunger for beauty" for Lewis have been fully met and completely "consoled" now that he has met Jesus face to face!

"All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." Hebrews 11:13-16

"Far Green Country" Painting above by Ted Nasmith. www.TedNasmith.com 

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