Thursday, May 20, 2010

Desperate Search: New Beauty

Part III: New Beauty
There is something of merit hidden in the excitement of a new, upcoming film.  I'm not speaking here of any mere film itself, or the actual experience of intaking a new movie at the cinema.  No, even before that moment, there's an excitement that's real, that has value.  Every time we see a trailer for some new creation, that buzz has a life of its own, independent of whatever the film itself will be.

It appears to me that the apostle Paul borrows the phrase "through a glass darkly", from the mouth of Socrates as recorded by Plato some 400 years before Paul inhaled his first breath.  The gospel of John may have also utilized the now famous phrase 'born again' from the man who told us to 'know thyself'.  One may be uncomfortable in stating that Plato and Socrates were wholly correct in their musings about the universe, but if the Bible is infallible, then at least these phrases were inspired by truth, yes?
Let's define beauty: that which is wholly true.
Let's define truth: that which is universally permanent. 

These definitions are most certainly subject to galvanizing debate, but here I shall promote them as my premises. 

As a Christian, I accept the statement that God has revealed Himself in two ways: special and general revelation.

Special revelation: God's supernatural exposure to mankind.  The Bible and its events are the sole episodes of special revelation that the Christian church universally accepts.  There is, however, legion accounts of miracles and attestations of God's supernatural presence in the lives of individuals... these, unfortunately, are always tricky to note.

Now that we got that out of the way, we're going to skip over all this commotion of specialties for the time being, and focus on the normal, general bits.

General Revelation: the basic principle that God has made Himself manifest through creation and the natural world.  Paul writes in the letters to the Romans, 1:20,  

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

What flows from God is beauty.  This is true because God is the source of all beauty, and because all things that God makes are consistent wholly of truth.

We talk of infinites and infinity and permanents and timelessness --- but I am a man of the moment.  Speaking of Plato's forms are great, but it is all rather mind boggling.  I remember the most anticipated film of my life.
Jurassic Park came into existence in 1993.  My mother bought me a veliciraptor backpack.  I begged my father to read the book with me.  The playground games of imagination shifted from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the likes of T-Rexes and 'Spitters' over night.  Jurassic Park changed our youthful brains forever. 

And then came the rumors.  Michael Crichton had written a follow up novel (I tried to read it, but man, two-hundred pages of evolution before we get to dinosaurs causes much boredom in 10 year old).  Soon, a sequel would be upon us.  The trailer for The Lost World stirred within me such great zeal I could hardly bare to think of it. 
I believed in The Lost World.  I don't even know what I believed about it.  I think somewhere in my mind I thought that it would bring the end of moviedom.  Who could ever top it?  People the world 'round would concede that no film could ever surpass Jurassic Park II in eye-shattering awesomitude.
(And then my eyes witnessed a T-Rex skipping around in San Diego, and little piece of my heart turned dark...) 

My ramblings amount to one simple thought.  Beauty, though it may live forever, has a birth.  God reveals Himself in time.  Jesus, the Son of God as a man, choose a moment to come into existence.  This new beauty is significant.  It adds to the world.
When we anticipate a new film, we are hoping that a new beauty will be born into the world.  And the thing about beauty (that thing which our being able to appreciate separates us from the animal kingdom --- so I'm told by philosopher Peter Kreeft), is that you can never be too sure what it may do.  Beauty is a maverick.  It can never be wholly known, and it can never be predicted. Wildcard, baby!

New Beauty is not by any means limited to cinema, but that's a fun place to start. 
The search will now take the form of finding birthdays for these little beauties. 

What will be born next?