It is a signal privilege of the human race to enjoy aesthetics. Whether we see it in the orange hues of a clear sunrise, or hear it in the soaring voice of a splendorous soprano, or smell it in the scent of a fresh pie, we love beauty. Certainly, animals like dogs or magpies are fond of beautiful things – shiny things, distracting things – but their enjoyment is not like ours. We enjoy beautiful things which are of no consequence in our own lives; we cry at reading romances, or watching a great film. We do this because we are human, made in the image of God. We care about beauty because God does.
Unfortunately, even after sensing it, we often fail to consider beauty as we should. Rather than sitting with it, we experience beauty in mediated fashion. We are distracted by its abundance. We have constant access to excellent music, but we so often miss the birdsongs around us. We can watch movies with gripping plotlines, and yet easily miss the story of our own lives. This mediated, distracted enjoyment of the wonderful is partly a fact of life, but even God rested and stopped to call His creation “good;” focusing on the goodness of creation is a divine task which we often fail to do.
For these reasons, when considering potential themes as an editorial staff, we are excited to consider the idea of beauty in this issue of Synesis. Christians in America have often underemphasized the artistic element of life, and that to our detriment. Since we declare our God to be the creator of “All things bright and beautiful,” we are left with the considerable question: what is beautiful? This is an ancient question, and we do not claim to have answered it fully. Instead, we have sought to ponder it and to frame a series of thoughts around it, which are all presented, along with various poems to help you consider both the question of beauty and the wonderful, beautiful works of God.
Before closing, I would like to thank all of the writers for the present issue, and specifically to thank our outgoing Editor in Chief Andrew Warren and outgoing faculty advisor Dean Eric Johnson. These men have guided Synesis organizationally for a number of years and have performed their duties admirably and warmly, out of love for Jesus and His creation.