Broaden our view of beauty

By Dave Henning / September 20, 2022

“But what if we broaden our view of beauty not so we can let it mean whatever we want it to mean, but so we can take in the wonder of God? . . .  What if reflecting on beauty itself made us more like Christ?”- Timothy D. Willard

As Timothy Willard moves on in Chapter 2 of The Beauty Chasers, he advocates that we broaden our view of beauty.  Therefore, we need to attempt to grasp beauty’s meaning through language unique to our experience.  Because that aids our understanding of the nature of beauty and how it works in our daily lives.

As a result, Timothy goes on to explain:

“Beauty touches so many aspects of our lived experiences that by limiting it to say, ‘beauty within,’ we not only restrict its significance, but we promote a kind of dualism that emphasizes the inner life over the physical life.  That kind of perspective does not work in the Christian worldview.”

However, our modern culture loves definitions.  So, we try to describe God more precisely.  Yet, for centuries the mystery of God prompted theologians to refer to God as other.  Hence, the Latin term sui generis, meaning of its own kind, unique.

And the same precision trap befell the term beauty during the Age of Enlightenment.  Thus, as the supernatural nature of beauty faded, a new model emerged rooted in our feelings – aesthetics.

In conclusion, the philosopher Plato viewed beauty in our physical world as merely an echo of the real beauty found somewhere in the beyond.  Instead, Timothy suggests, we need to see physical beauty as an invitation from the origin of all beauty.  Even Beauty itself.

But in the Hebrew language, the English word beauty didn’t exist.  Rather, as we shall find out in the next blog, the Hebrew language uses seven word groupings to describe the word beauty.  Furthermore, the weight of Yahweh’s presence surpasses any pleasure this world offers.

Today’s question: Do you agree with Timothy that we need to broaden our view of beauty?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Beauty shines from within and without”

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Dave Henning

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