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A. I think, in order to answer this one, we can advantageously look at much more; it is only then we shall find the answer.
Take the case of Gates and Jobs. On the surface, this is just a business deal, painstakingly announced by Time Magazine (August 18, 1997), given an exclusive of exclusives in being allowed to FOLLOW Steve Jobs about as the fabled Macintosh and the corporate cloud-buster, Microsoft, and he got together. Rather, what was left of the Mac under Jobs got together with a Gates willing to settle questions of intellectual property, the use of notorious Mac facilities in the rise of Microsoft, and co-operation. At its close, we find reported, that Jobs says to Gates: "BILL, THANK YOU. THE WORLD'S A BETTER PLACE."
In one sense, it was business; in another, there was something on the Jobs presentation of what he was doing which is significant in answering our question - as an illustration, readily evoking understanding of some of the subsidiary questions - rather like a cartoon.
Thus, Jobs is interested in sneakers and shorts, offices the same size, stimulating speech, creative fantasies in his own new company which is now close to Disney in wedding that cruising seeder of cloudy visions with his computerised capacities to produce electronic children with ease and gusto. Why?
Now we move nearer to the point. So that a greater thing can arise for humanity, it seems. What 'thing'? More creativity, more ease, more skill, more cloud-bursts of drama and diligence, with more capacities adorning our race at the creative level, because of the ease and facility which rush like tornadoes into the author's newly developed premises.
Just that ? No, it would seem that there is a desire for sharing and securing, for spontaneity and startling advances in what man makes.
Very well. Let us now leave the stimulating
situation, which in some ways we have used merely as a base, for it has
not been as a news item that we have treated it, but as an evocative illustration.
The precise peculiarities here are not the point; the precise importance
of this SORT of peculiarity is to the point.
IS the beautiful thing, the winning move, the master concept for man to include something like this: Creativity, spontaneity, unpompous partnership, facilitation of man's peculiar capacity to soar in mind and imagination, heightened productivity, increasing proportions of innovation and imagination as singular qualities apportioned to man in his creation?
But let us look more closely at this. IMAGINATION? Of WHAT! Many have had it, and burst on the world scene as political gangsters like Pol Pot, Mao in some aspects and Stalin, knowing what they want, wanting what they know and going wherever it takes to get there, even if a few millions of corpses are a necessary... or incidental drudgery to create in the process.
In other words, the idea of BETTER for man MUST logically start with GOOD for man. What is good for man? What is beautiful for this egregious specimen, this creative child of the Creator?
Let us look at some of the terms so seemingly-lightly thrown around above. Imagination, we have touched; it touches many things, often with a dead hand, and not always with that intention. The dream is a product of the dreamer and the dreamer becomes a producer of ... whatever it takes. Many dreamers of industrial might, know-how, capabilities, even boons for the race, become in time prime polluters, cunning manipulators, competitive vyers and strivers, with steely fist acting to doom what dares to challenge.
The industrial revolution did not create the French Revolution in England, partly, without doubt, because of the immense input of Christianity in action through Wesley, Whitefield, numerous other Christian activists and whole religious structures, which had the dimension of understanding, grace, truth and love within them, as well as relationship to the One who made creativity. In France, the autocratic powers of 'church' and State made a Bastille Day almost inevitable.
What then? dreams have outcomes
i) as intended and
ii) as not intended and
iii) often contrary to what was intended, in striving to ensure that what was intended in achieved.
In any case, of WHAT is the dream? Political, economic, literary, philosophic, imaginative with PURE imagination - but pure as you like, imagination will have an aim: a drug-addict once - at the start - perhaps acted with imagination, released or realised in combining and refining various packages and products to attain various results. This one, however, would often not be the chief: the entire destruction of his/her effectively operating nervous system. That was NOT imagined; but REALITY dictated that that SORT of imagination has that sort of result, mercy apart... and I mean, DIVINE MERCY.
WHAT is beautiful, when you are all in enthrallingly EQUAL conditions creating enticingly IMAGINATIVE change-producing novelties, which EXPAND human creative capacities to FAST-TRACK eventuations? The PROCESS? Or the PRODUCT? Or BOTH?*1 (Cf. SMR p. 431 - for convenience, an adaptation of this treatment of beauty, is provided as an Endnote.)
The process is wonderful under Hitler, is it not? Some high-ranking people of peerage power at least seemed to have thought so. The wonderful sense of AUTHORITY was mystical, the AIMS were beautiful, it was alleged, with Himmler attesting his NICE desire was REALLY for BEAUTY with Russian peasant looking after the Aryan elect, in idyllic situations. The gross moral corruption of sex and vitality, of race indeed which IN FACT followed, of life and liberty, was merely a PRODUCT. The product however became a base input, a PART of the dream, since its REALITY accompanied the dream.
Now we humans are so made that we CANNOT in fact be unchanged when our marvellous, liberated imaginations and products have ACTUAL impacts. We live with them, are moved inwardly by them, whether we are repressive or expressive about them. They become a part of us: this again, short of divine mercy, and that is not a product, but a living reality which is not moved by manipulation. It accompanies, on a long term basis, only one thing: loving truth. It is NOT divorceable from the God whose pardon is a pre-requisite for purity.
Even at the human level per se (though it is in fact never 'per se', because it is a product, and the producer is here always crucial - as illustrated Jobs with his Macs, but on an infinite basis of depth and height and breadth and length - cf. Ephesians 3:16ff.), there is ALWAYS and NECESSARILY this question: To WHAT in terms of PEOPLE are you moving as you produce, however creatively and imaginatively? What is the ACTUAL impact of these dealings on their lives? What moral, spiritual, personal and vital qualities are in fact being produced as the desired products are executed into reality? Is there a lack of pomposity? Good. But what is then present? Verbosity, artificiality in PRETENDING that all is well in the best of all possible micro-worlds, when in fact divorce, or perversity, or drug-addiction, or pride, or arrogance may be using all this as an opportunity of mere self-display, self-education, self-fulfilment.
In the end, what is the SELF which is involved? What are the people products which are accruing? Many and various? Perhaps, but there will be a trend. In short, is it an amoral vacuum in which creativity is merely an astute form of power, or irresponsible absorption, and its outside dress does not matter because its inward reality is so strong? After all, production is BY persons, and affects them. Strength is not per se superiority, since its overall concepts of GOOD may in fact be reductive of human PERSONALITY, not productive of it. NO ONE can create this; it is merely a matter of different ways of using or abusing it. Now using it, by the nature of the case, can ONLY be abuse or functionality.
If abuse, then all this is mere aggravation
of man's plight. If functionality, then all this DEPENDS on prior knowledge
of what human personality is meant to do. But someone says, But it is meant
to do whatever we make it do! That alas is precisely.
What you cannot create, cannot even comprehend in his construction, man the person, the personality - what of him? He is not subject to the same sort of antic activism which makes imagination and creative constructions of the mind so enthralling. Persons are not subject to unlimited manipulation and "progress' for the simple reason that cars do not (normally) fly, and if they do, do not normally land too well! They are not made for that. It matters not at all what you think of the creation of the cars, what they have is what they have, and merely shutting the ideas in a blind dream will do NOTHING AT ALL to improve their... landing when they have (if they achieve this) flown... a little!
Beauty does not have her headquarters in the head. The heart is never dispensable. The point, the purpose, the effects, the dynamism, the developmental facts, the retro-action as action occurs, all this IS. What the GOOD of beauty is - is never a dispensable question, for the simple fact is that there will be results, which will have impacts, and only blindness is unconcerned, holding to the myth that it does not matter.
Does not matter! What becomes of the
PRODUCER is indifferent? Does not matter what becomes of the IMAGINER? Does
not amount to anything at all, what becomes of the world in which he leans,
as on a prop? THIS is precisely Hollywood-itis.
Fiction is wonderful; but it can live
only if it master FACTS. Disney productions may foster Communism, Capitalism,
Free Enterprise, Democracy, Illusionism, Fact-Aborting Fantasies which CRASH
- it is an open issue. Imagination is not air! The world being creative
is merely the world of PEOPLE moving in this direction or that with innovation
and COMPARATIVE lessening of the drag-stream as it moves. WHERE it moves is
still PRECISELY the same QUESTION as it alway was. WHY it moves is still EXACTLY
the same purity-controlling pollutant as always.
For WHOM (ultimately) it moves is still the moral evoking reality which has plagued history, because it is usually that idiotically blind dream: for whomever, the one or ones with power, leadership, clout and capacity. Capacity to DO WHAT? Capacity to TAKE WHERE? With what horizontal relationship to other persons? To THE person who is the MOST IMAGINATIVE, who made it all?
By the way, as to that Person (Ch.1, 10, Ch.1, That Magnificent Rock) - here is one of the chief components of beauty. If Steve Job's intellectual property re MAC's special features was an ISSUE in making peace with Bill Gates, turning on the latter's Microsoft use of some of these Mac things; and if peace came when acknowledgment and remedy or rectification was granted on this point: just consider what is the BEAUTY ELEMENT in this ultimate reality, the LIBERTY REALITY here!
Where? Why here: when it is to the Inventor over all, that we come - AS PRODUCTS (who are also so amazingly well-made, that they are people as well); when it is to God, the Former, Maker, Creator we look for peace.
GOD, who made us imaginative, is looking at what WE do with the imagination which HE created in us, so that we could speculate intelligently or unintelligently, and use HIS PRODUCTS with sublime indifference to WHAT THEY ARE, what WE are: or with responsible realism, visionary realism, about what He made them to be. He has looked at it. He has acted upon it. He is near, when we come by the way appointed. What He is CAN be accessed; but not in any way: in HIS!
When we are in Him, THERE is the place of beauty. The way itself is beautiful, like the Canadian Pacific railroad through the Rocky Mountains, to the East in Canada. The way has all the concentrated beauty one could desire, overwhelming in its nobility and grandeur. So Christ - His is the beauty of eternity, brought to focus in man: God manifest in the flesh, for beautiful purposes of redemption, with a beautiful thrust of love, into which the ugly thrust of nails was the official response of Jew (in high priest and official sanction) and Gentile (in Pilate, giving illicit legality to the ghoulish outcome, which incidentally, brought a new focus on the character of sin, overcoming it as it displayed it for all that it ultimately is).
Beautiful in heart, beautiful in outcome is the beauty of holiness.
Thus, in the end, beauty is the ordering of goodness with achievement, imagination with reality, morality with God, creativity with cleanness, grace with government, individuality with composition, privacy with purity, personal knowledge with purposeful knowledge, activity with God-aligned aim, wit with wisdom, holiness with profundity, worship with what is worthy of it. Distant and eroded, its outposts continue. Near to God, its life abounds. In the end, it includes not ROBBING GOD. It is found in His presence, and because of His presents (Romans 6:22-23, Psalm 76:4, 27:4).
Being realistic, let us ponder the fact that whatever we do, He is not the poorer, being infinite: but those who so rob Him are dirtier. We have all sinned, misusing our creativity? Yes and more than that, our very lives with ALL their incredible powers - one of which Jobs is usefully highlighting here - we have taken and employed. We may have done it to be superior, or to be happy, or to be ourselves, or to be leaders, or to satisfy our innate sense of justice, or to satiate power: but WHATEVER we have imagined in our hearts, it has been our OWN hearts in which these dreams of illusion, or desires for reality, or whatever may have been our fad or fiasco or fervent wish: in which they have occurred.
The intellectual - yes, and moral and personal and physical and metaphysical and vital - property of GOD has been employed. There is no amount in millions to repay for this. The insult is vast, the folly is inconceivable, the arrogance fully their equal - especially when our objectives have been "good", like ... Himmler's (in our eyes, but when they are blind to reality, what is the difference!): it is as if there were no limit.
The ONLY capacity to INVENT, to CREATE a limit lies with God. HE can pay what it costs to clear the slate of JUSTICE (yes, and from the report, it appears that the Gates-Jobs meeting had MUCH about that UNDERLYING it), and achieve a wise settlement. ONE of its conditions is a complete cessation of UNREALISTIC misuse of imagination in inventing gods and humans, and mixtures of the two, which are a sort of Disney-esque cartoon of the visionary reality, as if we came when God was absent-minded, and He did not really care about His property, and it could do whatever seemed good to it in HIS universe, with its OWN results in morals, spirit and heart, in mind and world!
He HAS paid. That is the message of the gospel without which nothing has either sense or reality, without which all dreams are blind, but in which, visionary reality has legs, hands -
crucified hands which gave up their (earthly) capacity (for a time, through the door of death, and until the evacuation from death in resurrection),
to donate heavenly peace for all time.
To those, of course, who make peace with Him (Isaiah 27:5, 32:17) ...
with Him whose it is, who offers peace in truth (Isaiah 42:3,5, Matthew 12:18-21, Psalm 85:10, Ephesians 2:1`0,17),
and without price (Isaiah 55:1, Ephesians 2:8):
to those for whom He paid (Isaiah 53:1,3).
Paid? for whom? For those who receive Him (Romans 8:32, Isaiah 53:3-4) -
those for whom He endures stripes, these are the healed of the deepest disease of all, that of spirit and life, which comprehends all!
HOW then do they make peace? by accepting the PEACE HE MADE! Where is the peace which HE MADE? It is in the heart,
in the realities of justice,
in the purities of pardon, where mercy being satisfied, goodness is implemented, truth lives unqualified by idle, idol dreams, and righteousness is profound,
in the wonders of co-operation (cf. Psalm 85:10-12),
TO DO WHAT?
To live in line with the GOODNESS
of God, which is BEAUTIFUL. Why? It is simply because HE IS, is wonderful
in the glory of holiness, has illimitable kindness,
because He has and sheds grace, is truth immovable
and life in the splendour of purity. One aspect of HIS beauty is
this: that HE IS LOVE, loves to develop the potential of HIS PEOPLE, but
not merely as producers of innovation with foot-ropes cut, but as people
of reality, people with goodness and virtue, patience and self-control, people
with love and gentleness of understanding, but ALSO with courage and character
and love of TRUTH; with enterprise WITHIN reality, not in OPPOSITION to it.
When LOVE and TRUTH and SACRIFICIAL SERVICE are in view, as they are in the Gospel, as God acts to redeem a people from this imaginative race, which tends to act as if it were entirely imaginary - though it is real ...
which misuses the imagination to imagine this, that it is without base:
then DUMPING these things means NON-LOVE and NON-SACRIFICIAL SERVICE
and NON-TRUTH, often conveniently called LIE.
Indeed, in II Thessalonians 2, we read of the ultimate innovator. He decides on a SUPREME INNOVATION. What? Well, obviously any part requires a good actor, so he chooses himself to play? To play what imaginative cartoon character? Tell us. Which one? GOD!
Since this is lie, and in fact there is a master performer in imaginative enterprise, called the devil, the adversary, who has his own company, though only under sufferance till its work and part in the exhibition of reality is done: then he is called a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). . Not a bad title for the board room: he can put his feet up and smoke like hell! He knows how.
Pollution here has her masterpiece, impurity her paragon. His agent? His petit-messiah - with a small 'm' but a big 'I' - if you will? He too has a name, no, not CEO! He is "the man of sin" or of "son of lostness" or "son of perdition". BEING LOST IS HIS ESSENCE, THROUGH SIN; HE IS THE SON OF IT, THE
EVANESCENT BUT STILL POTENT QUINTESSENCE OF SIN.
What of the Christ who is Lord, authentic, authenticating, valid, validating ? The first and only effectual one? The Messiah not of blind dreams but of visionary reality, is Himself eternal, deity's personal expression, His word, who in blinding light at home, came to earth to do practical things like showing what God is, moving with His Father to indicate what His desires really are, dying for sin, rising for relief, leading with His word the history of the world, which obediently performs according to this "innovative script", which is the word of God, which is found in the Bible, which doe snot move, for it is foundational, and the world spins about it.
Yes, the FIRST
and TRUE ONE, in reality the ONLY one, is the LORD JESUS CHRIST, as Peter
so beautifully reminds us (Acts 4:11-12), the Lord of glory (I Corinthians
2:8, Micah 3:1-5). God is precise, makes precision, for and together with
those who practise it, and His plan is precise, His pronouncements are precise,
and His ANSWER is precisely His only-begotten Son, the outshining of His person
and the word of His life.
But how do we relate? It is necessary to acknowledge one's sin in misusing His property, to be thankful that one has this marvellous imagination and magnificent liberty, and then in freedom beyond the human, by the grace and power of God, to submit to the Servant who is the Saviour who is called the Son of Man, who humbled Himself that He might bring us to God (Philippians 2, I Peter 3:18).
Like a waterfall from the mountain-top lake, He came, God in action, to bring us through His action back to the top of the hill: not to restore us however as if we were God, for HE IS, and truly says: I AM THAT I AM (Exodus 3;14, John 8:58); but to restore us to be WITH GOD (John 14:1-14).
There is no better companion than He; who is infinitely wise. There is none less pompous, who IS the truth, and who MADE the LIBERTY the abuse of which, with or without much imagination, and with all that aids it, is man's chief enemy; just as its fulfilment, by salvation and consequent abiding in Him who came, is man's visionary reality, which will become converted into the ground beneath our feet in the resurrection. In fact, as to vision? You must live WITH vision, because of the REALITY of Jesus Christ, indispensable, undeterrable, whose vision is not virtual, but virtuous, and was made operative. HE BECAME FLESH so that we might become the children of God.
Have you ever
thought what it means to become children of such a Father as that! ( I John
1:1-4, 3:1, Revelation 22:1-4,17).
Listen to some of the things God says in this field:
GIVE TO THE LORD, YOU KINDREDS OF THE PEOPLE, GIVE TO THE LORD GLORY AND STRENGTH. GIVE TO THE LORD THE GLORY DUE TO HIS NAME... O WORSHIP THE LORD IN THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS (from Psalm 96).
BUT AFTER THE KINDNESS AND LOVE OF GOD OUR SAVIOUR TOWARD MAN APPEARED, NOT BY WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH WE HAVE DONE, BUT ACCORDING TO HIS MERCY HE SAVED US: BY THE WASHING OF REGENERATION, AND RENEWING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHICH HE SHED ON US ABUNDANTLY THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR, THAT BEING JUSTIFIED BY HIS GRACE, WE SHOULD BE MADE HEIRS ACCCORDING TO THE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE (Titus 3:4-7).
HE WILL BEAUTIFY THE MEEK WITH SALVATION (Psalm 149:4).
THINE, O LORD, IS THE GREATNESS, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY, AND THE VICTORY, AND THE MAJESTY; FOR ALL THAT IS IN THE HEAVEN AND IN THE EARTH IS THINE; THINE IS THE KINGOM, O LORD, AND THOU ART EXALTED AS HEAD ABOVE ALL... NOW THEREFORE, OUR GOD, WE THANK THEE, AND PRAISE THY GLORIOUS NAME ( I Chronicles 2:11,13)...
WORTHY IS THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAIN
TO RECEIVE POWER AND RICHES AND WISDOM,
AND STRENGTH AND HONOUR AND GLORY AND BLESSING (Revelation 5:12).
It does so in this: that it is another element and aspect of beauty, and the two harmonise like left and right hands: the one setting to rest aspiration in its heart and base, the other appreciation. In fact, some may so have lost the sense of beauty, that it have seemed rather strange to them to consider beauty a component at all of normal life, vision being vitiated, and the bloom of things dissipated in their minds. The beauty of holiness however is no rarefied concept merely, though its source is in blazing light (I Timothy 6:16).
In fact, man is often confused because truth is misused, reason aborted. Whether it be self-gratification (the ugly, irrationally self-centred substitute for life) or survival of a civilisation, that 'life' is lost if one simply seeks it. One needs vision beyond it, to retain it, or that, better than it, to which its value points, though man is not unaccustomed to pointing with crooked finger (Ecclesiastes 7:29, Romans 1:19-21). The finger of God, however, is straight.
The excerpt follows.
This is its place. It is a correlative, at the creaturely level, of the vision of God. It is an intuition, a vigorous ideal, providing a scent, an awareness that comes because God, who made all things, gives a sense of His personality in His products; and this is one of its dimensions which He applies and enshrines at will.
Where blessing rather than cursing is in view (cf. Romans 8:18-23), the sheer prodigal profusion of unabashed creation, or where the light of it is still relatively undimmed, the view of beauty may carry touches of His divine glory, so that it is His mind which is evidenced without the entrammelments of the misused freedoms of creation.
But it is as persons that, naturally enough, we may experience or intuit a special sense of beauty. If, for example, there is a free and lively love of freedom, truth and goodness on the part of someone who is fellow man or woman (or even child!), then there may be elicited a sense of... something near beauty.
Not only is it dedication, devotion or dutifulness, fine though these may be. Rather is it the awareness of a certain freedom, a willing, lively and if you will, lithe, unconstrained choice of virtue at its source that touches a feeling of exquisite rightness, moral design, aptness that seems, in the presence of God, to suggest beauty.
Where the Lord is in the matter, then there is that acute authenticity as of ringing of beautiful bells, that carries a rare sense of beauty. It is not misplaced, misused, distorted into dereliction of ultimate duties; but imbued, embossed and surrounded by majesty, the majesty of the Lord. Thus a certain sculpture shows simple people amazed at the presence of an angel. Not their faces, but the light of them; not their experience, but the source of it seems to diffuse loveliness into the scene. The object of life can create in its product something of the beauty of its atmosphere, when communion is inter-personal and the spirit of man senses the spirit of God... in His workings of beneficence in the intimacies of peace, the wonders of restrained power or the grandeur of design.
Such feelings, intuition, perceptions are no more susceptible to the simplistic presumptions of reductionism, than is the song of a bird to wave lengths, or are words to angles in the tracing of a pen. There are forms; these convey neither the meaning nor the spirit of the thing. That is a simple fact. Angles there are, but it is what that `code' signifies that is important; and that is far beyond angles. A treatise on angles, in any attempt to understand what words are about, would be a vulgar irrelevance, a blind obtuseness, an intellectual death, when the main thrust is concerned.
So here - but when we face what this perception of beauty is, in its datum, its style and its experience, then there is a solution to the question, the quest and the mystery, to this pre-occupation of man, this aspiration and this source of argument in practice, both as to its base and its implementation. It is this sense of a lovely, unforced, virtuous, free and lithe moving inter-relation with God; and it is lovely if so be the grace is sufficient, precisely because He is. Further, it has derivatives within the creation, more or less direct, liquid with reality or defiled or even desolated in a sort of ruined magnificence ...
This is why beauty transcends preference, and a sense of it is not satisfied with mere subjectivism, any more than is a sense of goodness.
Just as nothing but God explains why men rank goodness above any substitute of pleasure or commendation, in the way we have seen: so only God explains the primary force of the experience of beauty, so that men may vigorously debate where and in what it occurs. They act most frequently perhaps rather like those comparing accounts of the racing form of horses, knowledgeably... Similarly, mere form, whether in goodness or beauty, can undoubtedly carry to those who love it and find this superficial, a sense of betrayal. This is because the form seemed to encode a beauty or a goodness, that the fact failed to confirm.
Where however, even in nature, a sense of the free expression of things that embraces tenderness (of colour), grace (of form), exquisiteness (of design) is found, and the more when their composition (as of wind, sea and sky) has a sense of greater ultimate design: then a profound sense of beauty may be experienced. Such things touch the created design chord in the resonance box of the human heart. They tend to bespeak both the Creator who gave one's life birth, and His pure powers of free expression in other fields, simultaneously... and this when any sense of judgment is distanced. The works verify the Worker.
It is a sort of concretised speech, when the meaning is profound or mellow, like an infinite scaling of the feeling that a portrait may create, when the spirit behind it is profound; or of that behind buildings, such as cathedrals, when there is a scope and grandeur both of design and performance, which interprets matters profound.
With man seeing, however, the work of God, there is an additional depth and a rightness in this: that the eyes that see what the divine artist `paints', these eyes themselves were in their time moulded by the divine surgeon, one Being, also. And what He made was manifested for those eyes that He made, when He made the person for whom He also made the eyes. Depths on depths, there are, and design on and for and with designs, like ocean waves and skies, in the intimacies of involvement giving a personal awareness of a heightened grandeur, which is never baulked by mere detail... a spirit.
Such fulness and fitness can stir the heart of man as the wind stirs the trees: it is through them, but also beyond them.
Also explained on this basis, are the beauties or blending, the harmonies, intricacies of design and marvels of geometry, faithfully reproduced over thousands of years, far surpassing any sober estimate of the aesthetic powers* of insects or animals! The sensitively executed layers of artistry, in numerous living forms, at deeper and deeper aesthetic levels, reaching to the profound, and instructing those who are receptive at any level, may on this basis then, also be explained as they will never be explained away. Reductionism, the flaying of reality with the dream of dissatisfaction, the failure to deal with a topic, excluding what one will by a mood of distaste, this is an intellectual game, and anti-scientific. All aspects of any matter need consideration, and each on its merits. Nothing may be omitted, in detail, in totality or in eminence whether through desire, distaste or simple laziness. Majesty, marvel, microscopic wonder, style, aesthetics, whatever it is, it makes demands on the understanding, requiring honest and adequate response to its implications.
Let us take an illustration. Just as a simple thing like a raincoat has a function, so it also has a style. Why ? Why is there a blend of cut, colour, composition and so forth, that is emphatically not merely a matter of pluvial protection ? Why is it that the coat (in a choice case) has far more than the power to exclude rain ? It is this. A person created it for a another's use. Part of this is the expression of the person's sense of style, visual impact and comfort. This occurs because the person is sensitive to and expressive of such things: that is, the tailor. The person is not, for example, an insect or a cow who makes it, or for whom it is made: and so the individual acts accordingly.
What a person values, conceives, then, the level at which a person functions, relates to the level at which a person acts. At times, a fuller expression is given in the very interstices of one's living (how one says, "Good morning!" to different special people...), and at other times the powers of expression are deliberately less exercised. This, we know from our experience of persons, both in production and observation, is how they act.
Although strong (and indeed strongly called for) divine judgment can intrude on beauty, as law-suits may intrude on the peace and beauty of some property, or some people: yet the abundance, yes even super-abundance of beauty still, now subtly, now manifestly present in the world, is exceedingly arresting. Both in its intensity and in its immensity, at various levels, it still clearly attests two things; and these cover the case as no puerilities can or do.
First, the style and cut, or formation of many layers of observable things, the atmosphere - the expressive creativity of design - relates to the Person who for His own purposes, as an expression of the nature of His being, so acts. Second, they also relate to a display of a beauty which has this function: that of inter-personal relations between the Creator and His sentient, conscious, conceiving, imaginative and impressionable, rational product: the person of man. This depth of coverage of all the cases of beauty is also a verification of the truth, both of the Creator and of His word.
The depth of the spiritual realities, rightly construed: naturally, readily and abundantly explains the products and their inter-relations, both with nature and with each other, at the level of beauty. It further explains (cf. Romans 8:18-22) both the magnificence of the beauty, and the anguish, the profundity and the sadness, the joy and the creativity which man meets, in creation; why it is so amazingly high, and why it can be so abased, why so commanding and yet why so ignored by so many, in the moods and distempers of the moment. (Cf. SMR pp. S1-S34.)
It also exhibits with stunning force a reason why some would weep, with tears streaming, in the presence of superb beauty; for their inward lament is what could be, might have been and yet is not in their lives, in those of people they love, in their nations. The wonder of it all is a refresher course on the capacities in creation, and the incapacitation which sin produces in many sides, like a spiritual bubonic plague. While such thoughts may not become articulate, whether from guilt or aversion to reality, yet the grounds are all too apparent.
Concerning the verification in these areas moreover, through the solution of profound problems, happily humbling philosophy for generations of verbal collision: we observe not merely the unique ability of Biblical truth to explain every single facet of the matter. What more ? It is the ease and naturalness with which it does so.
The reason why the myriad-marvelled
wonders of beauty - of form, colour, ensemble, gorgeousness, depth, delicacy
- transcend all need of function (unless to philosopher-insects)
is related to the sense of glory in man. (We can make music far beyond soothing or striving,
because in us is a depth of feeling and perception vastly beyond
anything pragmatic.) The personality of the Creator, though far beyond
ours, has explicit analogy to it, Biblically, when man is purified;
and the needs logically, for these results in creation,
are met by a cause correlative to them, to match their splendour.
(Flowers ... what a fantasy of beauty and function is here combined!) In
the God of splendour (Psalm 145:5,12), there is a resolution of the aesthetic
`problem' - a `lower' part of creation challenging our highest thoughts,
confronting man with adorable splendour. GOD has touched it.