I remember back in high school I took a 2 week backpacking trip through the mountains of northern New Mexico. Each morning we would wake up at 4:30 and start the long, arduous trek to the next campsite. It was the definition of exhausting, but one thing made the 100 miles of trails worth it: the views. We had the privilege of climbing 3 mountains, each over 14 thousand feet tall. From the summit you could see every valley, other mountain peaks, and even other states! The beauty was overwhelming, causing a silence to fall on the group at the top.
In Eyes Wide Open, author Steve DeWitt highlights the awe and wonder of beauty, whether it is a scenic vista, a beautiful painting, or a wondrous musician. DeWitt reminds readers of the source and inspiration behind all beauty on earth: God. He seeks to draw people further in awe of the beauty of God, as well as show how God’s beauty is reflected in the things we find beautiful.
In the first section, DeWitt helps us recognize the beauty that we adore in the world. The vastness of the cosmos and the beauty of the night’s sky make us feel insignificant, pointing us to a beauty found in the infinite. He says that all beauty is to direct us to the ultimate beauty and [what ought to be] our ultimate desire: God.
He then points out the beauty found in the Trinity. The triune God is the definition of perfection and beauty; all other forms of beauty are measured by God. This beauty can be seen in the Trinity’s infinite knowledge, holiness, and happiness (29).
In chapter 3 DeWitt notes how God’s beauty is on display in His glory. The Father’s delight in Jesus during his baptism and the Transfiguration continue the relational beauty seen in the Trinity. This self-giving love is the essence of his glory. And God’s glory is the only beauty that will satisfy our eternal desire (51).
In section 2, DeWitt turns to the biblical storyline of creation, fall, and redemption to highlight God’s beauty. In creation we see God’s creativity on display, speaking all things into existence. In turn, creation testifies to the glory of God; through the beauty of creation we can know the ultimate beauty of God (62). After the Fall, beauty has been disfigured by sin. Instead of bearing the image of God, we make God in our own image. We can grow blind to the source of ultimate beauty.
But God did not stand for sin to mar His beauty. True beauty returned to earth in the Incarnation. God revealed Himself through the selfless life, death, and resurrection of the Beautiful One.
In the final section, DeWitt shows the reader how to see and enjoy God in every beauty found under the sun. Instead of enjoying beauty for sensory pleasures (what he calls staring at the stars “like an atheist”), DeWitt wants us to turn everyday beauty into a chance to glorify God and give Him thanks. He provides very practical advice on how to see God in all kinds of beauty, how to engage in the arts, and how to filter culture through a Christian worldview. This final section was by far the most helpful and encouraging one in the book, and is well worth the price of the book.
Eyes Wide Open is a marvelous book that drew me into a greater awe of God, as well as a greater appreciation for beauty here on earth. His writing is clear, his ideas challenging and encouraging, and his applications are helpful. Since starting the book, I have found myself noticing the beauty all around me, and thinking about how that directs me towards the ultimate beauty of God. I would highly recommend this book to all Christians, especially those who want to connect the wonders and beauty they see with the God that inspires and creates that beauty.
One additional note: I would recommend anyone looking to buy this book to buy the physical paperback version instead of a Kindle/ebook format. The reason: the book feels and looks great. The cover has a great grippy texture that makes you want to hold it in your hands. The paper is a high quality, with ink that feels raised and shines in the light. It is a beautiful paperback that is worthy of the subject material found within.
- Title: Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything
- Author: Steve DeWitt
- Publisher: Credo House Publishers (2012)
- Format: Paperback
- My Rating: 5/5