Sunday Citation

“What emerges in great art and great music is a depth of dimension that does not quickly become stale or trite. Think, for example, of the difference between Bach’s ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,’ and a current popular song or movie theme. Some popular songs endure for years, but most are short-lived. If, for example, you sat and listened to a popular song for six hours straight, chances are you would become bored with it. Yet if you were to listen intently and continuously to a Bach masterpiece, the piece tends to become more and more fascinating as you discover more intricate nuances to it.

“Sometimes people think I am strange when I mention the beauty of professional football games. How could something so primal and violent be said to contain any beauty in it? What I enjoy is watching superbly conditioned athletes who have reached the apex of their sport working together to execute a single movement. Eleven men on one side of the ball each have a specific function to perform in a single play designed to advance the ball only a few feet, while another eleven men on the other side work to prevent that progress. The execution of a play involves a kind of orchestration that requires harmony rather than dissonance. When the harmony is lost, the ball is fumbled or the play is otherwise thwarted.

“In all of this, be it art or sport, is revealed a kind of beauty that has profound theological implications. The Old Testament frequently refers to the beauty of God’s holiness. Even the garments God designed for Aaron and the priests were designed for glory and for beauty. These references indicate a significant relationship between the holy and the beautiful. We are accustomed to thinking in terms of an inherent relationship between goodness and holiness and between truth and holiness. But truth and goodness are merely two legs of a three-legged stool. The third leg is the element of beauty.”

-R.C. Sproul in The Holiness of God (1984), p. 277-278

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