Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What Makes Something Beautiful?

Awhile ago, as I was pondering the subject of beauty, an obvious question came to mind: What makes something beautiful? What is it about an object, person, scene, character quality, etc. that causes pleasure to our senses? What is it about these things that brings feelings of wonder, joy, and admiration?

How do we classify some things as beautiful, and others as ugly? What is the difference?

Suddenly, the thought came to me: Beauty is a reflection of God, and ugliness of sin.

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork." Psalm 19:1

Think about it: In creation, we see flowers that we call "beautiful"--they are (nearly) as God created them.

However, when they die or become diseased or mutated,

they lose their beauty. Death and disease are both results of sin.

"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned." Romans 5:12

"Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now." Romans 8:21-22

Sin perverts God's perfect design, resulting in what we call "ugliness".

Or, speaking about people, what are the things that make a face beautiful (besides the hopefully obvious "having a cheerful countenance")? Rosy cheeks, bright eyes, clear skin, and so forth: and these are all products of health; (or, in the case of some females, are simulated by make up... :P) which is, again, closer to the original way God created us.

So, the closer things are to God and His created perfection, the more beautiful they are!

With character, it is much the same: having "inner beauty" is when your character is closer to God's; when your actions and words reflect His love, patience, mercy, justice, and so on.

Things like deceit, cruelty, untrustworthiness, and so forth are opposites of God's character: therefore, they are (or ought to be) ugly and repulsive to us.

The closer someone's character is to God's, the more beautiful it is.

Beauty is, in essence, a reflection of God. Beauty shows us God's creativeness in designing these beautiful things, His love for us in making things for us to enjoy, His attention to detail, His perfection, (holiness) and also His justice, mercy, kindness, and so forth.

What is exactly is the definition of beauty again?

Something that brings joy, that is pleasant to the senses; that causes a feeling of awe or wonder. It also sometimes refers to something working together properly, such as a machine. (That is my definition... for the official, Websters 1828 definition, go here.)

P.S. I started writing this post exactly one year ago today. :D At least I am finally getting it up! There will eventually (hopefully sooner than a year from now) be a part two as well, with some practical implications of this idea. Thanks to Jay for his help with fractalling! (I know what it means now!!)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

As You Can See...

...Dishes and I go way back. :D

I enjoyed them greatly when I first started (as you have probably guessed from the grin...) but, as the years went on, somehow (maybe it was the fact that I wasn't allowed to get so wet anymore? Or maybe it was that we had a few [well, 5] more children... [and thus, lots more dishes... strange how that happens] Or maybe I was corrupted by a public schooler... [hehe]) I grew to dislike them. Strongly. As in, avoid them at all costs. I'll do anything but the dishes.

Slowly, I disliked them less and less... I would do them, at least, but not very faithfully. I would put them off as long as possible (which, by the way, is incredibly dumb, for two [well more than two, but I'll only do two here] reasons: one, as you put it off, everything dries more and more and gets harder to wash off, and, two, the dishes accumulate. Big time, when there are nine people adding to the pile...) and sometimes grumble about it. (Dreadful, I know.)

And then.

Then, I had an interesting discussion about dishes with a friend of mine, in which I was persuaded to look at them differently and at least try to enjoy them. Also, my sister Hannah hurt her knee really badly right around that time, and she was unable to stand. Which, naturally, meant she couldn't do dishes. (One good thing about hurting your knee, that.) And, of course, meant that I did do them. I'll have you know that I volunteered myself. Wasn't that good of me? ha ha...

So anyway, I became a dishwashing addict. Of sorts. I have been washing dishes for about a year now, both at our home and at other people's. For example, I did them at the Marini's and Wimer's, the families that hosted us on our trip. They were very thankful, especially the Marinis. I must admit it is rather nice to be appreciated so much for doing something you enjoy. hehe. :D

One time after Anthony told me thank you (again), I started explaining that I actually decided to like doing dishes. He was rather shocked. Kind of funny. :) I'm not sure if he ever thought of liking them before... Most people don't, methinks. (Hence this post, kind of.)

I enjoy dishes for a few reasons. One, they are one of those necessary things that, sooner or later, you will have to do, and, so, according to my logic, you might as well like 'em!! Two, I've been doing them soooo long that I can do them automatically... I have all that time to just think and pray. Three, dirty dishes equals full bellies! :D Four, it's an opportunity to serve my family. (and others.)

So, what about you? Do you enjoy doing dishes? (And other, similarly "mundane" tasks?) If you do, why? And what made you like them? If you don't, why? And has this post made you think about changing your mind at all? And do you think I should do a post about how to make cutting up veggies fun? 'Cause I am good at that...