Thanks to my good friend Cameron West, I’ve been reading through Belden C. Lane’s book Ravished by Beauty: The Surprising Legacy of Reformed Spirituality. The book deals with a neglected theme in Reformed spirituality, the awakening of a desire for a God of ravishing beauty mirrored so generously in the world of nature, a beauty that evokes a fervent desire for God. He writes: “The genius of the Reformed tradition, in fact, is its ability to combine these seemingly contradictory themes [awe at God’s majesty and delight in God’s beauty]. It knows that God’s raw power (apart from God’s beauty) can be cruelly destructive and that God’s self-absorbed beauty (without the power to communicate it) becomes irrelevant and ineffectual. Calvin and Edwards joined the two in a way that few others in the tradition were able to do. The Genevan Reformer was intrigued by predestination, of course, but was just as fascinated by the world as a theatre of God’s glory.Edwards was famous for his Enfield sermon on ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,’ but he wrote with equal passion (and far greater frequency) about the wonders of creation … the warm-hearted, creation-centered strain is important in developing the ecological consciousness we need today. Yet the more austere, transcendent strain is helpful in reminding us of God’s wildness – the fact that creation is not solely focused on our anthropocentric needs” (p. 28).
Ravished by Beauty – Reformed Spirituality and Nature