In the fear that one day it will be deemed illegal harassment to find a woman attractive unless she finds you (a man) attractive first, I will take the opportunity to say that some of them do look fantastic. And, to balance out this sexist remark, I also wish to observe that some men look pretty fine too. Come to think of it, before you begin to feel your inferiority complex coming on (as I do), I hasten to add that well, everyone, when you look at them in a certain way and in a certain mood, has their own appealing and winsome side to them.
Our attraction isn’t limited to other people. We’re surrounded by dogs and cats which at some time in their lives have been cuddled, loved, petted, stroked, kissed, and generally praised.
Continuing in the realm of nature, people will travel hundreds and thousands of miles to look at some scenery and take a few pictures.
Most of us have spent many hours looking at our babies and children, admiring their young, fresh and appealing appearance and their ways.
There’s something in us which makes us find some things to be beautiful, and other things to be ugly: we have an inbuilt aesthetic sense which causes us to gravitate towards things we are attracted to. It’s not just our eyes which funnel and filter the outside world for our pleasure, but all our physical senses bring impressions into our brains, which act as interfaces between soul and universe. I love to listen to music, and I often imagine the sounds “tickling” my brain cells, setting off all kinds of emotions and feelings. I know that doesn’t sound at all scientific – it’s not meant to. How blessed we are to have this appreciation for life, the universe and everything.
However, there always seems to be something to spoil or tarnish our view of the thing or the person we admire. That “beautiful” woman may actually be selfish and cold. That man we admire for his good looks and his strength may be arrogant and self-centered, and rather smelly. That cuddly little cat, all playful and covered in soft fur, may have just caught the prettiest little bird and ripped it to pieces. That amazing piece of scenery may consist of un-scaleable rocks, and be subject to harsh weather conditions.
Ultimately, everyone and everything is temporary. What we almost see to be somehow divine turns out to be blemished, short-term and powerless. All of nature, including the beautiful (and the ugly) woman, the handsome man, the cuddly cat, the stunning scenery, is nothing more than a creation: a work of art. When we look at a child, we are looking at someone’s handiwork – someone’s creative genius. We are looking at a reflection of the creative power of God, albeit “fallen”. We have mistakenly admired the creature, and forgotten its Creator.
The woman did not make herself beautiful. The child did not create his striking young skin or his infectious giggle. The faults, the selfishness, the blemishes, are the result of us turning out backs on our Source.
When we look at a painting and marvel at how well it represents someone or something, what we are really looking at is a talent given to man by God, whether the artist knows it or not, and also the ability to appreciate it. When we hear a piece of music that moves us body and soul, we are hearing a reflection of the creative power of God, whether the composer knows it or not: the gift of imagination and creativity given by our Creator. Yes, we can appreciate the composer, but let’s give God the glory He deserves.
We make the mistake of thinking that what we see and hear speaks of our value. It doesn’t. It speaks of the power of our amazing, almighty, omnipotent Creator God.
Scripture speaks clearly on this subject in several places. Paul said of those who suppress the truth about God:
“What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse”
(Romans 1:19-20, NIV).
NEXT WEEK: Part 6 of my series: Mao Zedong. You may be glad to know that this will be significantly shorter than the previous posts.