Darkness and Beauty: A New Perspective for Christians
Artists are profoundly obsessive people. A visual artist can become almost abnormally preoccupied with a single color for weeks or months at a time. It isn’t just the use of the color, but the mere sight of it that enthralls the imagination. At the moment, I’m going through a torrid love affair with — of all possible hues — black.
Black is the absorption of all the colors of the spectrum — the value at the very bottom of a value scale. Black can be warm or cold, depending on its hue. I have become deeply fascinated by its ability to create what we call “vibration” in a composition. All around, black is an extremely powerful color.
All of which is only an introduction to my thought. We have interesting associations with blackness in our mental networks. Darkness is linked to shadows, night, uncertainty, fear… even death.
And all these things have been linked to evil. Halloween approaches and we start to see every fear of humankind celebrated in all manner of ugly representations, from candy made to look like eyeballs, to downright uncompromising Satanic worship.
The intense and powerful beauty of a shadow is easily twisted by Man’s fallen nature into a gross and gory ghoul, because we can’t help being afraid when there is something afoot in the shadows of night.
But I don’t think I am the only human being who is allured to the point of inability to resist by the mysterious. Nights are full of silent stars and the muted rushing of soft invisible wings. Dark pools of shadow hide whispering angels and the smiling eyes of God, for those who choose to find Him there.
The other side has tried to take over darkness as a whole. Fortunately, evil can never claim any kind of beauty as its own.
God is the source of all beauty and the creator of both day and night. He keeps nothing good from us. I, myself, admit to the fact that I sometimes use phrases like “diabolical beauty” or “demonic elegance” to describe a certain kind of aesthetic appeal that would take more words to explain otherwise.
The hard fact is there are no such things as beauty and elegance in true evil.
True evil cannot be embodied or exemplified by Bela Lugosi, for example. The decay of time and human confusion has attributed suave, artistic, shadows to forces it believes to be out of our understanding.
The flaw here is that the concept of the Christian God is so worn down by centuries of people pretending to understand it all. People at large are generally uncomfortable with the idea of mystery, and hidden things. So we gave the devil the night, the darkness, the things we can’t shrug off.
God gave us the intense and absorbing color of black. He gave us strange cold nights with pale staring stars. He gave us shadows and mystery so that seeing eyes could look and we could say, “Clearly, God is in the darkness too.”