Daily thoughts on aesthetics and theology, and the entire world in between.

    subscribe to
  • RSS

Nature, Nature on the Wall

Once upon a time, Nature was regarded as a window through which God's personhood and character could be seen. The object of sight was God, not Nature.

Even though Nature was a beautiful window, it never occurred to anyone just to stare at the window. Windows were meant to be looked through.

In the development of ideas in the West, the window of Nature gradually became a mirror. It became more and more opaque. Rather than seeing God, man began to see -- look! -- a reflection of himself.

It was thrilling, to see yourself as the boss of the cosmos.

"Who is the fairest of them all?" we asked.

"YOU!" said (our) mirror.

"Urrrrgh Yes!" we intoned, "and what do we do about all those writings that say otherwise?"

"Call them literature!" said our mirror.

And so it came to be.


Psalm 36: 5-6 your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep ...

Psalm 147.15-18 He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. He hurls down hail like crumbs - who can stand before his cold? He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow ...

Immanuel Kant in 1790: "The human imagination, "in its role as a productive cognitive power, is very mighty when it creates, as it were, another nature out of the material that actual nature gives it..." Critique of Judgement, Section 49.

Roger Lundin on the post-modernist philosopher Richard Rorty: "... by the end of the nineteenth century, some of the more enlightened among us came to realize such a being -- God -- does not exist. And in light of this fact, we can only conclude 'the world does not speak; only we do...'" in The Beauty of God: Theology and the Arts, eds. Daniel Treier, Mark Husbands, Roger Lundin (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2007), 199.


Post a Comment