A Christian View of Beauty

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Beauty, a term once revered in ancient days as the pinnacle of physical attributes embodied in worldly entities, has seemingly in this day lost much of its meaning. Phrases like “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” have surprisingly become commonplace, and even Christians have begun to subscribe to the notion of aesthetic relativism. Specifically, this is the idea that beauty is purely contained within the observer and objects on their own have no aesthetic value in and of themselves. It is what has effectively stripped the main essence from the old ideal of beauty, and in my opinion a primary reason why there are so many who cannot see or refuse to see God in the world today.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, the oft-heard phrase today, refers to one’s belief in the subjectivity of beauty—that is, aesthetic relativism. This prevailing belief dictates that my own perception of what is beautiful does not necessarily correlate to others’ perception of what they find beautiful. Simply because I find a song inspiring and relaxing does not necessarily mean that everyone will and it’s even pretentious and rude of me to insist so. And since everyone has their own particular tastes in all types of art, it is inferred that those tastes correlate to true beauty in their own eyes. But, this whole concept of beauty in each man’s own perception is severely lacking: it gives our own God far too little credit for the creation itself.

In my opinion, a greatly preferable view for one who professes to believe in a divine creator is the belief in the objectivity of beauty. Perhaps the ancient Greeks were on to something after all when artists such as Polykleitos sought the perfect proportions of beauty. Such a pursuit required one to see beauty as objective: something contained within the object itself. Especially farseeing was Plato’s belief in the “idea” realm, in which perfect prototypes of every living and nonliving thing existed. It was a transcendent...
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