An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Kuyper on beauty

Abraham Kuyper nicely summarises his conclusions regarding wonder and beauty in these eleven points (Wisdom and Wonder, Christian's Library Press, 2011, p. 139-140):

1. Despite the fact that it is repeatedly abused by sin and Satan, the realm of beauty, together with the beauty in and of the world, proceeded in its origin and essence from God’s decree, and is to be valued as his creature.
2. By the term beauty we are to understand what Scripture calls the “divinity” that shines through in the creation in terms of God’s eternal power, involving not merely its wise plan but also its outward appearance.
3. In paradise all creatures were beautiful, without blemish or defect, but for that reason nevertheless still not displaying divine beauty in its consummate perfection.
4. After humanity’s fall from God in sin, when the curse spread across the earth, beauty diminished and ugliness and hideousness emerged.
5. Had the outworking of this curse continued unrestrained, all beauty would have been replaced by ugliness, even as hell is always accurately portrayed as consummate ugliness.
6. Meanwhile this fatal outworking did not continue unhindered, but was arrested by common grace, and thereby a world exists that displays that triad: the beautiful, the ugly, and the ordinary that neither repels nor attracts.
7. At creation a sense of this divinity that is located in the form and the appearance of things was created within human beings, such that one of the features of our creation according to God’s image consisted in the sense of beauty.
8. This sense of beauty was darkened by sin, and would have been lost entirely if common grace had not preserved it for us in part.
9. As a consequence of this, a threefold variety is found among people, namely, a very refined sense of beauty in a few people, indifference toward finer beauty among many people, and pleasure in what is unsightly among depraved people.
10. This state of affairs is not destined to last forever, but will be terminated by a universal cosmic fire, and from this cosmic fire a new world will come forth that will give us to see nothing but perfected beauty, and this perfected beauty is called the “kingdom of glory.”
11. In that kingdom of glory, reborn people will exist not only with a sinless soul but also with a glorified body, and with that glorified body will be given the capacity for enjoying and treasuring in a manner that is complete this perfected beauty, namely, glory itself. Thus we will not enjoy a return to the paradise situation, but will enter a situation far surpassing paradise.

The Young Bull by Paulus Potter - mentioned by Kuyper on p. 150.
"... a wonderful creation, but exists only on the canvas."

"A landscape by van Ruisdael is beautiful; it represents nature before your eyes, but it is merely the display of colors and lines of plants and animals" (p. 150-151).


Mark Roques said...

Cheers Steve

Really found this interesting and helpful!

lawrence strauss said...

I accidentally came upon your blog searching for something else. I have been so often steered toward Beauty by both Christian and secular people, and my reaction is possibly out-of-proportion, because I base much of my work on handed-down traditions of Beauty, but didn't the Nazis (and the Stalinists) purify their art and artists? Isn't it dangerous to label things beautiful. Maybe it's a triviality, but I heard not long ago the Sun Records recordings of Jerry Lee Lewis convinced he was playing the devil's music ... less than 20 years later it was the music of mainstream Christianity. I appreciate any insight. --lawrence