September 8, 2008 Ration
And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Pleasant to the sight . Such a little phrase, yet, listen to the freedoms from the fetters of asceticism that it secures. It is the Lord God who made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight. The Lord so delighted in the pleasure derived from seeing and enjoying the beauty of such pleasant trees, that He put them in the garden where He placed Adam and Eve.
Do you hear what I hear? God made a garden filled with what is pleasurable to the eyes and this is the place that He gave man to dwell in, to enjoy the greatness and majesty and creative glory of his Creator. The Lord delights that man enjoys what He has made pleasurable.
However, the Lord delights far more in another beauty, namely, holiness. God says to Adam, You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die (Genesis 2:16-17). Now, this tree too was beautiful by the design of God. Eve found it to be a delight to the eyes (Genesis 3:6). But in all that God has made to be pleasant to our senses, those pleasures are never more beautiful than the faithfulness (holiness) of our heart. God clearly values holiness as more beautiful and more pleasurable than what He has created to be pleasant to our senses.
In fact, Gods holiness, and our faithlessness, is exactly the issue that keeps us from enjoying the pleasures of the Garden of Eden today. Had man been faithful to God in enjoying the pleasures of the garden as God directed, man would not have been cut off and put out of such fellowship with God in the garden. The issue was not that the trees were pleasant to the sight. The issue was that man loved the desires of his flesh over the desires of God.
Artists, God has filled this world with so many amazingly pleasurable creations for our enjoyment. Each one of these pleasantries unpack a bit more of the glory of their Creator. And God is very clear, with all that He has made pleasurable, how we are to engage in the beauty of His created: without faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). Eve and Adam did not engage with the beauty of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from faith. And God was not pleased. Beauty is not the issue in what is evil. Be careful not to enslave yourself with false notions of holiness. It is the Divine One who made things with pleasurable qualities intended for our enjoyment. Unfaithfulness with what is beautiful is the issue.
Artists, from the faith that only God gives, enjoy God in your enjoyment of all that He has made pleasant for your senses. Enjoy not the gratification of the desires of your flesh. This only works to separate you from the truest of pleasures.
© 2008 The Gaius Project