The place to begin when considering the topic is with a question like this one: Why do I enjoy _________ so much? You can fill in that blank with a kind of food or a form of art or even with a beautiful landscape. Why do you enjoy that thing so much? What draws you to it? What does it do in you and for you?
DeWitt wants to help you appreciate those things even more than you do now, and in order to do that, you need to understand beauty and joy and wonder from a biblical perspective. You need to know why God made this world as wondrously beautiful as he did. The author’s reflections on this topic, more than anything else in the book, have resounded in my mind and heart:
Beauty was created by God for a purpose: to give us the experience of wonder. And wonder, in turn, is intended to lead us to the ultimate human expression and privilege: worship. Beauty is both a gift and a map. It is a gift to be enjoyed and a map to be followed back to the source of the beauty with praise and thanksgiving.
This is a subject that I've give some thought to over the past few years, at times on this blog. And I've been told on occasion that this whole idea of teaching people to enjoy the world all around them is unnecessary and dangerous, because it will promote worldliness, and people already do a fine job of loving the stuff of this world too much. The thought is that books like this one just promote and give justification for the idolatries of people's hearts.
While I think there is a needed caution there, I think the logic is misguided. If people are not taught to enjoy beauty in a godly way, they will mimic the world's way, and that is suicide. So I am glad that there are books like this one, and I think they are of value to those who desire to bring glory to God in all of life, which is what we're commanded to in Scripture (1 Corinthians 10:31).