Drinking Deeply

Thursday, September 08, 2005 at 1:23 AM

How "awesome" is that?

So a friend of mine mentioned last night that the word "awesome" was synonymous with the phrase "awe-inspiring." This set my mind on a course I'm not entirely happy it ran (because it really convicted me and forced me into positions I didn't like to be in), but because I think it's interesting I want to share it with my readers.

So "awesome" means "awe-inspiring." But what really is "awe-inspiring"? I commonly use that term when I'm really excited, but excitement doesn't translate into awe. In fact, "awesome" is a fairly common biblical term, used to ascribe God glory. Yes, it is truly God that does inspire awe.

But where does that leave me? Am I allowed to use the word "awesome" in casual speak? My current thought right now is absolutely not. To call something "awe-inspiring" when it is not, is to ascribe glory to something/someone that does not deserve it, for it is to God alone be (all) glory. One of my friends pointed out that it might be ok to use the term "awesome" when something does inspire awe in us (all the while recognizing that it is wrongly that we are inspired to awe), because then it is merely using a term to describe our sin, and not sinning itself.

Either way though, how many things actually inspire awe in us? Not too many I would say.

On a side note, I thought to myself: would the Sears Tower be awesome? Well, what about the Tower of Babel? As a Christian, I don't think I can say that the Tower of Babel can be awesome, simply because it is a mark of great depravity, man trying to make himself God. Similarly, non-Christian religious shrines/artifacts and the like should only inspire shame and sadness (much like Paul in Athens when he saw the many idols).

Well, what about the Sears Tower now. Was it built to the glory of God (and thus I can praise God for His hand in creating this object) or was it a sinful human construction striving to reach God in it's own way? Why do we build big buildings anyways? When they bombed the twin towers, talk immediately began on how it would be replaced, to demonstrate that America was not down. It's all about saving face with that!

What do my readers think? Can we "appreciate" non-Christian art/works? Right now I'm leaning towards no, mostly because every aspect of a non-Christian is bent against God because they are enemies of God, so even their works, which may look or seem nice to us, is still an act of rebellion against God. A verse just popped into my head that seems to settle this question:

without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. - Hebrews 11:6

Thus if God is displeased, who are we to say that it is right to be pleased at something God is displeased with?

Once again, this is kind of a scary road to walk, because it reveals a great deal of sinfulness in my own heart and makes me wonder just where this transformation stops (even though I know it stops only at glory).

One point I feel it is necessary to say though: Our standing before God is not dependent upon what words we say, what we've done, but it is dependent (thankfully!) upon Christ and Christ alone.

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Blogger Frank Martens said...

good word  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I am impressed with your insight, I sometimes worry you read too far into things. How much do you fear God?

Be afraid less, he is merciful. Focus less on the "rules" of christianity and on the time they were written for and try to adapt them reasonably to today.

-Allie (Mckenzie)  

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Blogger cwu said...

quite interesting. i've never really thought about it that way before. i've always heard that if it doesn't glorify God, then there's no point or any degree of worthiness to spend your time on. i suppose you can think of it that way.

but then...why listen to secular music? can i listen to classical music now? i mean, should i play music by shostakovich who was an atheistic communist or tchaikovsky who claimed to be a homosexual? i'm sure they did not write those to glorify God but rather themselves in a way.

and what about Christian rock? people say that the rhythms and syncopations of rock music is supposed to depict a broken world. some say that these rhythms don't give them a sense of peace or a sense of God's prescence but rather a sense of distress, even if the lyrics and melodies were meant to glorify God.

i know your post was more on manmade architecture, but y'know i thought i'd push it a little bit farther  

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Blogger cwu said...

haha i forgot one more thing. can God show His glory through objects that were meant to defy Him??  

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