Beauty & the Gospel

from Jul 18, 2010 Category: Tabletalk Magazine

In the modern era, beauty is unavoidably tied to the simplistic concept of “prettiness,” like that found in greeting card poems or velvet paintings of lighthouses. In truth, beauty is far more. Beauty reveals the gamut of human experience. True beauty is an ally of the gospel in that it parallels the human dilemma. In reality, a rose is beautiful, but it also has thorns.

When we investigate further, beauty reveals itself somewhere between the opposing forces of darkness and light, major and minor, protagonist and antagonist. Beauty can be appreciated often when seen in contrast with its counterpart — depravity. The honest painter, musician, or writer, gripped by the contrast between good and evil, is unafraid to portray both. In fact, the struggle between darkness and light is often the place artists do their finest work. For example, in Bach’s cantata Christ Lay in Death’s Strong Bonds, the choir sings about crucifixion and resurrection in several movements. Christ is portrayed as a suffering servant, walking the pathway to Golgotha until, at last, the chorus literally laughs its “alleluias” of triumph over death. If biblical Christians are careful in their doctrine to name sin, then in their art, music, and literature should they not do the same?

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