Eyes Wide Open

Steve Dewitt, a pastor in northwest Indiana, wrote a book that no publisher was interested in. Finally on the eighth try, Credo House accepted it and Eyes Wide Open went to print. Having just read it, I have no idea why any publisher would turn it down. It might be the best Christian book I read all year.

Eyes Wide Open is a book about beauty: where it come from, why it is here, and where it leads us. Here’s a dozen quotes to whet your appetite and encourage you to read it.

1. “Yet it is God who created beauty. He is the Beauty behind every beauty.”

2. “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.”

3. “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.”

4. “What we need, more than anything else, is to be convinced that the most desirable and soul satisfying reality in the world is God.”

5. “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.”

6. “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.”

7. “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.”

8. “The despair of western culture is that we have the most pleasures and the least satisfaction.”

9. “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.”

10. “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.”

11. “All creation is a treasure hunt in which God has left clues–essentially pictures of Himself. Each picture is intentionally pleasurable so as to increase our desire for more. For someone more.”

12. “We have been duped into believing that there is something better than God. This deception has taken place on such a universal scale that it seems normal. What is infinitely beautiful is set aside, and what is morally and spiritually hideous is treasured. How can this be? The lie comes equipped with blinders, so we cannot see what is actually beautiful, desirable, and spiritually satisfying….What is the result? Image bearers gasp at the Grand Canyon, clap at concerts, wait in line at the art museum, line the beach for sunsets, crowd their favorite restaurants, admire the wealthy, and on and on it goes. When it is done, we are left feeling empty. It is meaningless, as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes. Emptiness is what image bearers feel when they worship beauty for its own sake.

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