Category Archives: Articles on Aesthetics

Discerning the Christian Imagination: Consensus and Canonicity

Discerning the Christian Imagination: Consensus and Canonicity

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Determining if a poem, hymn, musical piece, novel, devotional work, painting or other work should be considered a helpful work of Christian imagination is mostly an act of considering its meaning. Does its content agree with the truths of Scripture? Does its form remain consonant with that content, and shape the appropriate responses in us?… Continue Reading

Discerning the Christian Imagination: Analogies and Proportion

Discerning the Christian Imagination: Analogies and Proportion

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If Christians should grow in their ability to discern superior Christian works of imagination, how should they do this? Must every Christian pursue some kind of music appreciation, literary criticism or aesthetic theory in order to recognise Christian from non-Christian or sub-Christian imagination? Likely not, though no Christian should scorn the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom… Continue Reading

Christian Imagination Fleshed Out

Christian Imagination Fleshed Out

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

What does the Christian imagination look like when it is fleshed out? We can imagine it as a spectrum, beginning with Scripture itself and working its way out from the explicitly biblical to what is only implicitly so. The Bible. Scripture itself is the archetype of all Christian imagination. Its content and form are the… Continue Reading

Imaginative Knowledge

Imaginative Knowledge

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If Christian imagination is the best way of referring to how Christians know and perceive the world, does thinking of it in this way have any practical effect on our lives? Much in every way. If imagination is the ultimate way that we understand reality, then this affects how Christians communicate the faith to believers,… Continue Reading

Imaginative Knowing

Imaginative Knowing

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If “Christian imagination” is really another way of saying Christian knowing, or Christian knowledge, why persist in calling it imagination? Why not simply call it by the more regular words, such as knowledge, worldview, understanding, presuppositions or, for the more philosophically inclined, epistemology? The answer is that the Christian (or true) way of knowing is… Continue Reading

Christian Imagination is Not Imaginary Christianity

Christian Imagination is Not Imaginary Christianity

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Christian imagination is not a term that will immediately draw approving responses. These days, Christianity is on the back foot anyway, and anything that sounds as if Christianity is dabbling in the unreal, the fantastical, or the faked, seems unhelpful. But G. K. Chesterton reminds us, “But imaginative does not mean imaginary. It does not… Continue Reading

Conclusion: Beauty as Love

Conclusion: Beauty as Love

This entry is part 34 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In this series, we have considered the meaning of beauty, objections to beauty, and how beauty is to be sought. We’ve answered the objections that beauty is “subjective”, or that it is nothing more than personal preference. We have also found that parallels exist between finding beauty in general revelation, and finding it in special… Continue Reading

The Practices of Correspondent Love

The Practices of Correspondent Love

This entry is part 33 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The practices, or disciplines of the Christian life function to nurture correspondent love. The disciplines are not themselves the sum and substance of communion with God. Instead, they are the gymnasium, or rather the exercises, that develop and strengthen ordinate love for all of life. The process of experiential communion with God extends to family… Continue Reading

The Process of Correspondent Love

The Process of Correspondent Love

This entry is part 32 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Love for God’s beauty is known not only by imagination and through changed nature, but also by exposure. The writer of Theologia Germanica wrote, “And he who would know before he believeth, cometh never to true knowledge…We speak of a certain Truth which it is possible to know by experience, but which ye must believe… Continue Reading

The Position of Correspondent Love for God

The Position of Correspondent Love for God

This entry is part 31 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

One’s nature determines much of one’s desire for God. What is inherited from Adam and from biological ancestors, partly determines what one desires. Unless the human’s sin nature is miraculously transformed, he or she is without power to love God ultimately, and without the position or tools to pursue God (Jer. 13:23; Rom 3:10–12; Eph.… Continue Reading

Loving God’s Beauty

Loving God’s Beauty

This entry is part 30 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

At this point, it will be helpful to summarise our argument in five steps. Step one: God’s beauty is his love for his own being. Step two: God’s beauty is perceived and apprehended by love for God. Step three: This love must be a correspondent love: one which corresponds with God’s love in degree and… Continue Reading

The Dilemma of Commanded Love

The Dilemma of Commanded Love

This entry is part 29 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If God’s beauty is perceived through correspondent, or ordinate love, we face a dilemma. Love is not merely a mental choice between options. One cannot simply choose to love as a naked act of the will. As Tozer said, “[E]very man is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wants to be.… Continue Reading

More Voices From the Past on Loving God Rightly

More Voices From the Past on Loving God Rightly

This entry is part 28 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Brother Lawrence’s (1614–1691) collected letters, known as The Practice of the Presence of God, describe his attempt to love all things for God’s sake. He remarks that he was pleased “when he could take up a straw from the ground for the love of God, seeking Him only, and nothing else, not even His gifts”… Continue Reading

Voices From the Past on Loving God Rightly

Voices From the Past on Loving God Rightly

This entry is part 27 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

It would be an insurmountable task to gather the collective thought of Christians on the topic of love for God. Suffice it to say, that many Christians have spoken frequently on the degree and nature of rightly ordered love. They have spoken not only on the required order of Christian loves, but on their kind.… Continue Reading

A Biblical Theology of Loving God

A Biblical Theology of Loving God

This entry is part 26 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Is the idea of correspondent, or ordinate, love present in Scripture? Does Scripture describe what love for God should be? It does indeed. In terms of degree, Scripture makes a hierarchy of loves very clear. The first of the Ten Commandments is “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exod. 20:3). Deuteronomy 6:4–5 was… Continue Reading

Knowing God’s Beauty Through Correspondent Love

Knowing God’s Beauty Through Correspondent Love

This entry is part 25 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

What can we conclude about God’s beauty and how to perceive it? 1) God’s beauty is his own consent, love, or affection for his holy being. 2) Loving this beauty, and necessarily, its object-God’s being simply considered-is the means of perceiving this beauty. Loving God is the analogue of God’s beauty in the creature: a… Continue Reading

Beauty: the Link Between General and Special Revelation

Beauty: the Link Between General and Special Revelation

This entry is part 24 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

What relevance does understanding beauty in general revelation of creation have for understanding the special revelation of God’s beauty? This is a perennial question asked by evangelicals. What does beauty have to do with evangelism, discipleship, sanctification or church life? To answer that, we need only consider the many similarities between art and religion. Art,… Continue Reading

Judging Beauty in Creation (2)

Judging Beauty in Creation (2)

This entry is part 23 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We continue with the next three aspects of experiencing beauty in creation. Immediate Response After contemplating beauty receptively, we experience an immediate response, which is usually unpremeditated and almost instinctive. This immediate response is not the final judgement of the soul upon what it is encountering, only its initial reaction. To take this superficial reaction… Continue Reading

Judging Beauty in Creation

Judging Beauty in Creation

This entry is part 22 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The two domains of God’s revelation are general revelation and special revelation. God has revealed Himself to all men generally through the created order, and God has revealed Himself specifically to some through His Word, mediated through various agents. If we wish to perceive the beauty of God, we will find it in both domains,… Continue Reading

Beauty’s Description

Beauty’s Description

This entry is part 21 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Beauty defined may be abstract and remote; beauty described should be concrete. What does beauty look like? For that matter, since beauty is not only (or even primarily) visual, what does beauty sound like, feel like, or seem like? When we have encountered or experienced beauty, what is that experience? The best approach is to… Continue Reading