Darrow Miller and Friends

Beauty As a Moral Necessity

Photo by Paul at freedigitalphotos.net

Cynthia Pearl Maus (1880-1970) was an author and editor who inspired many with her writing on beauty and the arts.

We are so accustomed to thinking of beauty as merely decorative and ornamental that we forget that beauty is a moral necessity. God wrought beauty in the structure of the universe. Beauty is the high form of righteousness. Beauty and truth are not separated in God’s world, and they are not to be in human thought … God, who gave as much care to paint a lily as to forming the eternal hills, joined truth and beauty in holy union; and what God has joined together man ought not attempt to put asunder, because beauty has a moral value for truth (from Christ and the Fine Arts, emphasis added).

This view of beauty is pictured in the Bible. For example, Isaiah records God’s summons to man to look at the wonder of His creation:

To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:25-26

Or consider David’s famous psalm of the same theme:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. … Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4

God’s creation (art) reveals his existence and the elements of his transcendent nature. It reveals the design, structure and purpose of mankind, and the wonder and nature of creation.

Human beings were given the task to create Godly culture. They were equipped with hands to cultivate the soil (Genesis 2:15) and with minds and hearts to cultivate the soul. (Genesis 2:19-20) People can use their senses and creativity to:

–          Compose a song no one has ever heard

–          Write a poem no one has ever read

–          Paint a picture no one has ever seen

–          Choreograph a dance no one has ever danced

–          Create a play no one has ever performed

The fundamental question: will these works of art reflect beauty or ugliness? Will they breathe life or bring death? In making life-affirming art, the artist – the secondary creator – reveals the Primary Creator. The artist’s secondary world reflects the wonder and reality of the primary world.

– excerpted from a forthcoming book by Darrow Miller

print this page Print this page

Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).