I’ve been thinking a lot about beauty and morality, lately.
I like to look for and enjoy beauty. I enjoy photographing beautiful scenery. I think that one reason I enjoy photography so much is that it helps me practice looking for beauty, and I keep getting better at it. Honestly, I can even find beauty in rocks. I keep thanking God for the beauty He has created and for our capacity to appreciate it.
Yet, there is a dark side to avoid with respect to beauty– not in the beauty itself, but in our reaction to it. There are some people who see natural beauty in God’s creation, and worship the creation rather than the creator. Instead of seeing the colors of the sunrise and thanking God for them, they think the sun is a god, or that “nature” is a god. Or they see a young lady with a beautiful body and engage in lustful thoughts. What is the difference between righteous beauty and lewd pornography? It is in the heart of those who view and produce the images. No wonder legislators have such a hard time defining the difference! Indeed, the very same object may be the center of obedience for one person and the center of sin for another. Take, for example, the bronze snake God told Moses to make (Numbers 21:8-9). It later became an idol that people worshipped (2 Kings 18:4). The same chunk of brass was to some an object of obedience to God’s command, and to others an object of worship that incited the jealousy of God.
So how can you tell a pure thing from an impure thing? Look in the heart of the viewer. (Titus 1:15) Of course, someone with a pure heart before God is not going to enjoy looking at sin or portrayals of sin, and will avoid those things, seeking what is pure to look at and think about. (Philippians 4:8)
There is great beauty in God’s creation that He wants us to enjoy– but not to worship. 🙂