I recently picked up Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything by Steve DeWitt. It sounded interesting and since it seemed like a topic I hadn’t read much on, I thought I should read it. Before I give my thoughts, I do have to note that the subtitle, “Enjoying God in Everything” is a bit off. I was expecting the book to talk more about rejoicing in and glorifying God in everything we do, including menial chores, big projects, slogging through depressing illnesses, and so forth. Probably a better subtitle would be, “Seeing God’s Beauty in Everything” or something like that. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts, beginning with a basic outline of the book.
First, the basic structure: Part 1 is about the beauty and glory of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). “God is one and God is three,” DeWitt notes, and then argues (debatably), “This divine relational diversity existing in harmonious unity is the core and genesis of all beauty.” He then notes the beauty of God’s love in giving his Son to die. Part 2 is where DeWitt talks about the beauty in creation (nature and man), and how sin has marred it and makes us want beauty apart from God. He then mentions the beauty of Jesus. Part 3 is the section where DeWitt explains beauty all around should make us thank and praise God. Art is also discussed in this section, and how, he says, “every artistic expression is part of God’s story.” He ends the book talking about the beauty of heaven.
Second, positively, it is a very God-centered book. DeWitt’s basic goal in the book is to get the reader to see the beauty of this world and therefore look to God as the source and creator of beauty. This helps us praise, thank, and worship God whenever we see true beauty. He quotes Augustine’s famous phrase (“You have made us for Yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You”) in the beginning of the book, and the rest of the book applies this phrase to beauty.
Third, I have to admit that for various reasons I wasn’t really moved or captured by this book. Why? A) I’ve read similar things in other evangelical books; this book was predictable. It’s pretty basic theology to say that beauty in creation should make us worship/glorify God, but sin has marred it, so as Christians we should work to constantly see God’s handiwork (beauty) in creation and praise him for it as we journey to the most beautiful place, the New Creation. Also, DeWitt quoted C.S. Lewis quite a bit – quotes which I’ve read/heard before. B) The scores and scores of stories and illustrations in the book weren’t helpful to me; I was annoyed with the amount of illustrations and stories already before I was half-way through the book. Without the stories and illustrations, the book would have been quite a bit shorter (and more helpful in my opinion). I guess it is a bit subjective, but the writing style wasn’t the easiest for me to read and follow; it seemed like the author was trying too hard to describe beauty.
So do I recommend this book? Yes, it would be good for Christians who haven’t thought much about beauty or who haven’t read C.S. Lewis or other authors who talk about God being the One who can fill our longings and desires. If you have a hard time seeing God’s beauty in the world and praising him for it, get this book! However, if you’ve read about or thought of these things quite a bit from a Christian perspective, you may want to pass, as it doesn’t say things others haven’t said elsewhere. But the premise of the book is true: all true beauty should lead us to God the Creator and Redeemer!