20 Quotes from Eyes Wide Open

The following quotes are taken from Steve DeWitt's outstanding book, Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything (Credo House, 2012).

“Created beauty eclipses God’s beauty in the desire factory of man’s heart. It is a case of mistaken identity. Every created beauty was created by God to lead our affections to Him. That’s why He made the pleasures of earthly beauty so fleeting — so that on the other side of the pleasure we might experience either wonder and worship and ultimate satisfaction in God or the pursuit of the pleasure that beauty provides for its own sake. If we choose the latter, we will only be disappointed again.” (7)

“What if we were to realize that every sunset viewed, every sexual intimacy enjoyed, every favorite food savored, every song sung or listened to, every home decorated, and every rich moment enjoyed in this life isn’t ultimately about itself but is an expression and reflection of God’s essential character? Wouldn’t such beautiful and desirable reflections mean that their Source must be even more beautiful — and, ultimately, most desirable?” (8)

“The greatest wonder is not the music itself but the Musician, not the creation but the Creator. He is beautiful.” (9)

“The peril for us is when God’s beauty seems vague, because then so does His desirability. Might this explain the embarrassing ebb and flow of my passion for God? I am too easily convinced that God is not capable of satisfying my longings and too quickly seduced into thinking that some earthly beauty can. In my weakness I can clearly see the desirability of the earthly beauty, yet the desirability of God’s beauty is debatable. We need a clear understanding of the supreme beauty and desirability of God so that we can delight in all created beauty for what it is — reflection and metaphor.” (29)

“Try to conceive of this. God is absolute perfection: perfect power, perfect love, perfect justice, and perfect faithfulness. He is perfect everything. All He is matches every good desire we possess. God’s beauty is the bouquet of His perfections in His person, unveiled in His purposes, and displayed in His glory. Wow.” (31)

“We enjoy holidays (the coming together of family), weddings and anniversaries (celebrations of the union of marriage), and Fourth of July parades (the unity of community and nation). Coming together feels great! Relational unity is humanity at its supreme and highest ideal. Have you ever wondered why the greatest memories of our lives are not things we bought or sites we saw or foods we ate? Think about your greatest memories. They probably have something to do with times of closeness with a parent, a child, a spouse, or a friend. Relational unity is beautiful because all the experiential harmonies of this world whisper of the wondrous beauty of the Godhead’s relational threeness and oneness.” (35)

“The cross gives finite human beings a small taste of what it is like to be a member of the Trinity. In the moment of His sacrificial death, Jesus gave to us what He had given to the Father for all eternity: everything — the total surrender of self. The cross is love’s highest human expression and beauty’s ultimate source. Before a sunset or a mountain range or a painting or a song can be relished as beautiful, our souls have to awaken to true beauty. The cross is real beauty. Everything else is reflection. Can you ‘see’ it?” (40)

Glory is the light of divine delight. Specifically, it is the brilliant, emanating overflow expression of God’s infinite delight in being God. Glory light expresses God’s glorious worth. God chooses to express His invisible, infinite worth in a visible, created way. A created thing can reflect or express a spiritual reality. Glory to us looks like light. It is bright. It is radiant.” (48)

“Christianity’s answer to the question of why creation is so beautiful is that it flows from the character of a beautiful creator. Nature is God’s self-portrait. It is not God, since God transcends what He has created, but it reveals in physical form what He is like spiritually. God creates beauty so we can know what He is like. Since He is and always has been glorious and beautiful, creation reflects this with seeable, tastable, touchable, hearable, and smellable reflections of His glory and beauty. This is what Isaiah heard the angels exulting. The whole earth is filled with His glory, and it is a ‘song about God.’” (62)

“Creation speaks to us — every day, all the time, constantly shouting truths about spiritual reality. Did you hear it this morning as you got up? Did you feel any truth about God this morning as you took a hot shower? Did you taste any truth as you delighted in your morning coffee? Did you hear any divine reality as you heard a bird singing? Did you see any truth as you saw the blue of the sky? What have you actually felt, tasted, touched, seen, and heard today? The whole earth is filled with His glory. Every day creation shouts to us, God is glorious! God is creator! God is provider! God is love! God is there! . . . Everywhere I look, everything I feel, hear, smell, and taste transmits the beauty of God through the beauty of creation. He is the beauty behind all beauty.” (63–64)

“As Romans 11:36 states, all things are from God and to God. Beauty boomerangs from God into created beauty, then through the senses and soul of the image-bearer, and finally back to God with praise and glory.” (69)

“The beauties of this world whisper to our souls that there is someone ultimate. But the ultimate is never found in the wonderland of creation. We keep looking and longing for the beauty behind the beauty, the One who will satisfy the cravings of our soul. This explains why the drug addict keeps shooting up and the porn addict keeps looking and the materialist keeps buying and the thrill-seeker keeps jumping. On the other side of one thrill is the constant need for another.” (71)

“It all comes back to Genesis 1:26: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ We were made for God’s beauty, and all beauty is God’s beauty. When we see or hear or taste or smell one of the created reflections of God’s beauty, we love it; and it creates wonder within us. Then we become junkies. A single rush of wonder is fantastic, but we quickly want more of it. We take pictures to possess the moment and share the wonder with friends. The sight of beauty makes us want to touch or taste. This is why children lick strange things and ‘Do Not Touch’ signs clutter botanical gardens and museums.” (79)

“There is embedded in our spiritual DNA an ancient memory of when everything was as it ought to be, when everything was in harmony. We retain this as a kind of suppressed memory. Beauty is beautiful to us when it includes some kind of harmony and balance. This can be relational harmony, color harmony, natural harmony, musical harmony, physical harmony, national harmony, and many more. Beauty’s harmonies are an echo in our hearts of the ancient harmony, and we miss it. We want it again. That is why sensory beauty is not enough; we want to possess the beauty itself so the experience can continue.” (89–90)

“Beauty was created by God for a purpose: to give us the experience of wonder. And wonder, in turn, is intended to lead us to the ultimate human expression and privilege: worship. Beauty is both a gift and a map. It is a gift to be enjoyed and a map to be followed back to the source of the beauty with praise and thanksgiving.” (91)

“The fall from created perfection to sinful imperfection has darkened our understanding and our thinking has become futile (Ephesians 4:17–18). The result is that we are confused about where to place the glory. Beauty still creates wonder, and wonder still searches for someone to give glory for the beauty. Without God, however, we are left to worship the artist or simply the beauty for its own sake. We worship created things rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25). Our wonder turns onto itself. We worship things, stuff, and matter. This is the bane and emptiness of materialism. Image-bearers designed for a life of meaning lived in relationship with God are emptied of significance by bowing to an ‘it.’ The only way an image-bearer of God could descend to such an inane level is for a lie to be mistaken for the truth (Romans 1:25). This is what has happened, and is happening, all over the world.” (92–93)

“Each election cycle creates fervor over the next perceived messianic politician. Mankind intuitively places their hopes and allegiance in a perceived great one. We want someone we can look up to, believe in, and identify with. Image-bearers need a hero. More specifically, fallen humanity needs a Savior. All the beauty longings of our heart scream for just one beauty that restores, fulfills, and endures. Christianity heralds just such a beautiful one: Jesus Christ.” (98)

“Jesus is the Beautiful One. His beauty is a tapestry of divine and human perfections harmonized in subtlety and majesty. This is one reason His beauty is missed; it is so different from anything we ever come across. Jesus’ beauty wasn’t His physical appearance. By human standards, He didn’t look like a Messiah. Isaiah 53:2 tells us that ‘he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.’ Significantly, the New Testament includes no description at all of Jesus’ physical appearance. . . . Scripture doesn’t put a face on the Lord so that His real beauty can shine through.” (102)

“Wonder can save us when it convinces us that nothing is more desirable or beautiful than Christ. Once we are spiritually awakened, we apprehend the beauty of Christ and wonder grips our soul. As we have seen, wonder leads to worship. Wonder at His beauty leads to worship of His glory. This is the death of the lie that something other than Christ can satisfy us — and the birth of new life in Christ. It is the restoration to what we were made for: wonder at and worship of the living Christ.” (106)

“Physical beauty is a shadow. Food is a shadow. The security of money is a shadow. Health is a shadow. Family is a shadow. We long for a relationship with someone greater than us, and we settle for cheap substitutes — race-car drivers and football players and movie stars admired from afar. But the real desirability is found in Christ. God made every created beauty in this world as an expression of Christ’s beauty and the beauty of the Father’s love for the Son. All beauty is a breadcrumb path that leads us to Christ.” (107)

“To give God honor is to agree with what the experience of beauty is intended for.” (117)

“Wonder-producing beauty is an opportunity for us as Christians to consider the glory of the one who created it in the first place. All beauty whispers to us in this way. This is a call to worship, to go from what I can see or hear or smell or taste or touch to what I cannot. My thoughts go from the visible to the invisible, from the created thing to the Creator. When my wonder gets me there, I esteem Him as glorious by giving Him honor for both the beauty and my enjoyment of it.” (118)

“When we experience a moment of beauty, we should turn wonder into worship by giving thanks to God for His goodness in providing it, for His creativity in making it, or simply for our pleasure in experiencing it.” (119)

“God gleams from every molecule and atom of this universe. He is the beauty within and beyond every wonder-creating sensory experience. As we delight in God, our senses search for opportunities to enjoy Him in the pleasurable sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures all around us.” (122)

“A Christian’s God-focused enjoyment of creation makes it taste better, look better, feel better, smell better, and sound better.” (129)

“Truth is beautiful, falsehood is ugly. If there was nothing beautiful there would be nothing ugly. The ultimate example of this is hell itself. Hell tells us what God is like, even as it breaks our hearts to consider it. Hell speaks the truth of God’s love and beauty by displaying how ugly its absence is. In this way, hell tells us what God is like. When art is anti-God, the Christian worldview stretches to see it for what it is — a lie — and to view the lie as an opportunity to glory in the beauty of truth. Ugliness helps make the good and beautiful more desirable.” (142)

“The unbeliever has nowhere to go with his experience and is left to crave it again. Go to another concert. Have another sexual encounter. Watch the same movie over and over. The Christian takes the wonder and uses it to animate praise to God. This consummates our joy in the beauty and glorifies God as the giver of beauty’s blessings. In this way we enjoy man-made artistic beauty for what God intended it to be — a wonder-producing, praise-inducing experience of His glory.” (145)

“Even in a fallen world, with fallen artists, man-made beauty creates powerful moments of wonder. Jammed concerts, packed theaters, and ultraexpensive paintings all speak to art’s power and appeal. Turning these experiences into 'God moments' is why God gave them — and the artist’s ability — to us.” (147–148)

“Art can be a powerful blessing to us as long as we interact with it from the Christian worldview. Unfortunately, too many Christians just listen to songs and read novels and watch movies without thinking critically about what they are seeing or hearing. We must think like theologians as we go to art studios, read books, watch TV, and surf the Web. How do we do that? By interacting with what we are seeing or hearing through the grid of God’s Big Story. Otherwise, reality as it’s not supposed to be will shape our values and our perspectives on life. Man-made beauty is that powerful, wonderful, and dangerous. Similar to God-made beauty, man-made beauty requires us to bring God into the enjoyable sensory experience by relating it to what we know about Him.” (153–154)

“Critique without enjoyment misses out on what God has made us for. Enjoyment without critical worldview thinking makes us susceptible to the negative value system often portrayed in a fallen world by fallen artists describing their perspective on reality. The former misses out on the fun, while the latter risks folly. God wants better for us.” (155)

“I should specifically ask myself, Am I able to turn this man-made expression into worship? If the answer is no, why would I endanger myself spiritually? There is no man-made beauty that is worth damaging my spiritual walk.” (164)

“The more we see, taste, hear, touch, or feel something, the less joy we derive from it. Buy that favorite song, and after hearing it a hundred times, it’s not our favorite anymore. Buy a giant chocolate chip cookie at the mall, and the last bite isn’t as good as the first. . . . We need a new world where beauty never fades and the wonder of it never goes away.” (171–172)

“This book’s purpose is to walk with you toward what you really want. Ultimately, that is not the experience of beautiful music or beautiful food or beautiful fragrances or beautiful stories or beautiful homes or beautiful bodies or perfect friendship or blissful marriage or any love or pleasure this world has to offer. We were made for a better place and for a better person, and all the beauties of this world whisper that to our soul. We crave Christ. He has made this restoration possible and offers Himself to mankind as Savior, Redeemer, and Restorer.” (180)

Disclaimer: I tried my best to narrow this list down to my top 20 quotes. As you can see I failed (30+ this time).

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