"The God who made the world and everything in it...He Himself gave to mankind life and breath and all we see". Acts 17:24.
Why is it that 'religion' can be little more than candy floss, which is employed for all the wrong reasons, to cover the cracks?
I was reading a book today, supposedly giving a 'christian' insight into beauty. The introduction jogged along about our living 'between' awakening and sleep (birth and death), and how we found our ground of meaning, our shelter, here, by observing beauty, which granted some insight to the divine - the beauty of God. The author referred to the ancients, especially the Greeks, as an example of that, but there's the problem.
The Greeks certainly had a notion of the order of things, and sought to emulate that in their religion and art, but it was a beauty which alienated, not genuinely esteemed the value of the world. Women were viewed as an ultimate embodiment of evil - the physical incarnation of all that was vile- the physical world itself, and artists were only tolerated because of their skills to express the true goal - to step beyond the immediate to the spiritual perfection beyond.
It amazes me just how much Christian spirituality still hankers after this dualistic nightmare, but Paul before the Greeks speaks of a very different beauty - a God who works with the earth, and redeems only by the salvation of all He has made, for this is His work.
Genuine truth and beauty can never be divorced from the 'common' life we have been given - the bestowal of charisma, notes Paul, to all men because of God's grace. It is amidst the bare breath, the whole of life that we are to see something of His work, not merely in some ecstatic moment of gnostic transport.
Beauty of any import is found here, amidst the trial and the joy.
Philosophy or religion may wish us to divorce God from such a vision, but life teaches us differently.