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He argues that the soul is ordered toward reality, and that reality is beautiful. Every perception of beauty, Wilson argues, is a kind of intellectual saturation in which reality opens itself to us. The aim of life is the contemplation of beauty.
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The question, then, is where beauty is to be found. Here Wilson turns to art. He argues that the arts are tools that train our perception. Through art we learn to contemplate beauty and thus to align ourselves with the divinely given order of reality.
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It risks reducing sin to an aesthetic failure that can be repaired through education in the liberal arts. According to Carnes, the love of images and the critique of images—iconophilia and iconoclasm—are both essential to the Christian faith. Both arise from the logic of the incarnation. In Christ, God becomes visible.
The divine reality can be seen, touched, and represented. Even in the very act of self-revelation, God remains hidden and transcendent.
Jesus reveals God, but God remains more than what appears in Jesus. The image says that God is here, while the breaking of the image says that God is not only here and is not contained in any representation. God can choose to be revealed in a creature but is never wholly identified with it. God remains God.