The Aesthetic Affect of Sin (On Beauty, Part 3)

Spencer MacCuish —  July 15, 2011 — Leave a comment
This entry is part 3 of 3 in the seriesOn Beauty

In this series of posts on beauty, the premise has been that God is the standard of beauty, and His creation is intended to reflect Him. Some of the implications of this have been addressed, but in this post I will attempt to delicately expand on the affect sin has on beauty.

We have been talking about what makes things beautiful, but what about the converse? What makes something unattractive? If creation was intended to reflect the Creator and humans are intended to reflect the very image of the Creator, then something becomes unattractive when it does not reflect God as God intends.

Nature that is pristine and unpolluted is beautiful, but it can loose its luster when trash and other forms of pollution overwhelm its natural beauty. Clearly, an abused and polluted earth does not fit God’s intention—it certainly does not fit the description of the Garden of Eden, which seems to reflect most clearly God’s original design for creation.

In like fashion, when human beings make decisions contrary to God’s intentions, we will not be as beautiful as we could be because we are not reflecting God in those areas of our lives. All issues of preference aside, a person who lives in bondage to any form of idolatry will inevitably lose some of the beauty that God created them to display.

We must see that sin does indeed affect beauty.

In addition to the physical appearance of the creation in general and human beings in particular, sin also affects the way we interpret beauty. How could it not? When we allow our corrupt, perverted hearts to be the determiner of what is beautiful, we experience the aesthetic affect of sin. In short, we have tainted our perception of what God intended. Things that God had intended to reflect his image, we have objectified (either sexually, financially, or in some other fashion). Our sinful desires shape our perception of beauty around our own idolatry, rather than God’s glory.

As an amazing gift of God, beauty is worth fighting for. There is no realm in creation that is not touched by sin as a result of the fall, and beauty is not exception. As Christians, we should be pursuing beauty and seeking to rid the creation, our own bodies, and our aesthetic sensibilities of the effects of sin. We should be longing to see every square inch of this world reflect God in the way He intends.

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Spencer MacCuish


Spencer spent most of the 90’s as summer staff at Hume Lake Christian Camps. He also spent several years as a youth pastor in the Santa Clarita Valley, coaching volleyball, and teaching English and History in the public school system. Spencer has been involved with Eternity Bible College since its inception and is currently serving as the Dean of Students. He and his wife, Tina, have three beautiful daughters.