Artist Andy Warhol once said, “An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have” (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_art.html#XeV6Likvm7QhlDX8.99). Yet do you have any art in your home? It might be unnecessary, but we sure do like looking at beautiful things. I know I do. I like the snowy landscapes of Thomas Kinkade purely for the way it makes me feel inside.
We could really make the same point about the other four senses. Music isn’t necessary. But I’ve got hundreds of my favorite songs on my phone, cued up and ready to rock at a moment’s notice. The smell of pumpkin spice latte isn’t necessary, either, but it makes life that much richer. The taste of cashews—I could live on those things. And the feeling of river water on my skin on a hot day is always something I look forward to.
But somewhere in that list we went from pleasant things that people make to pleasant things God made. God is the original Maker of pleasant things. He made everything and then planted the Garden of Eden. Genesis 2:9 says “The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.”
It seems to me that God could have just made those trees useful for food. It was completely unnecessary for Him to make the trees beautiful and just as unnecessary to make their fruit and nuts tasty to us. He could have made us to need food that we really don’t enjoy eating. But it is in His generous nature to give us something we can enjoy. Granted, making some food we enjoy does give us an incentive to perform that life-enabling act of eating in the same way that making sex enjoyable gives us an incentive to perform that life-procreating act. In this way, pleasure is a means to an end and not only an end goal, an important corrective to our culture’s tendency to exalt pleasure above all else and even to judge what is good by what is pleasurable and desired. But the point remains that God is the generous Designer of all pleasures.
God didn’t have to make such a beautiful world, but He did. God didn’t have to make flowers smell so pleasant, but He did. And God didn’t have to make the love husband and wife share so amazing, but He did.
I hope we give God the credit He deserves for all of this because everything we’ve ever loved is a good reason to worship Him.