Beauty Beholden

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

It still amazes me how many people who otherwise profess the transcendent objectivity of truth and goodness will uncritically accept and propagate this old statement.

Goodness, Truth, and Beauty are interchangeable in the Substance of the Absolute God. Thus, goodness is true and beautiful, truth is good and beautiful, and beauty is good and true. Things themselves are created good, true, and beautiful by God. They demand our recognition.

This is a point C.S. Lewis makes in The Abolition of Man as he counters the illustration of a bad children’s textbook regarding a tourist observing a waterfall and calling it sublime. It’s not the case that sublimity consists in the subjective experience inside the beholder. The beholder responds to a genuine quality possessed by the thing beholden.

If sin twists our perception of goodness and truth, it also twists our perception of beauty. Our view of beauty is as unreliable as our view of goodness and truth. Our perception of goodness, truth, and beauty requires redemption. We need our sense of what to love and adore reformed.

Beauty is in the nature of the beholden.

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