…truth, goodness, BEAUTY…
“…and God saw that it was good.”
The Hebrew word used for “good” in the verse (Genesis 1:31) is “towb” or “tobe.” What is interesting about this word is that there are aspects to it that could mean “beautiful.” So imagine God, after bending over His “canvas” of the earth, stepping back and saying, “Beautiful…”
“Truth without beauty is fleshless abstraction. Goodness without beauty is moralism. Beauty without truth is a lie. Beauty without goodness is frigid and lifeless.”
—Gregory Wolfe, publisher & editor of Image Journal
We all know that the gospel is a good thing—the best thing ever communicated on this planet. We also know that the gospel is a true thing. Jesus Himself said He was “the truth” (John 14:6). He is the physical manifestation of the Truth, that which philosophers have pursued for millennia. But do we see the gospel as a beautiful thing?
As Aquinas said of beauty, “id quod visum placet”—that which being seen, pleases. One of our favorite moments in the gospels is when the disciples approach Jesus after He told the story of the four soils. They wanted to know why he told parables. Perhaps he wasn’t being clear enough; perhaps He should speak plainly so that all understood he was the Messiah. To the disciples He replied, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding….”
Think back when you first saw the Gospel, understood its depth, its simplicity…was it beautiful? This is where art—whether painting, sculpture, writing, film, dance etc.—has an essential place in communicating the gospel. Gregory Wolfe continues in his essay on beauty, “Art employs beautiful forms to generate objects that penetrate reality.” Art—beautiful art—helps us see reality. Imagine artists following after Christ and making art, any form of art. Imagine the art they make reflecting reality in the same spirit as Jesus’ parables! We want to work with artists who are creating art in this same spirit.
“We want the arts to have a broad and deep impact on this culture…”
We want the arts to have a broad and deep impact on this culture—that more artists see the reality of Jesus and the reason He lived, died, and rose again—so that others may see Him too.