In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
He could have left it without form, without color or variation. He could have made it without hills and mountains and valleys. Without streams and lakes and oceans. Without trees and birds and leafy sea dragons. All those colors in the sunset really aren’t necessary. All food could taste like cold oatmeal. He could have made sex feel like brushing your teeth. But he didn’t.
The creation was made good. It was made to be enjoyed. This says a lot about it’s creator. He is to be enjoyed, because He is good. Now, all these things are good and enjoyable because they point to a good and enjoyable God. Without God at the center, all these things become worthless and abominable. Sex sought outside of a godly marriage relationship is degraded to adultery or pornography or rape. Gluttony elevates food to a god-like mastery over the life. Entertainment is the deification of Enjoyment.
Paul exhorts the Philippians, saying,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
How much of what is called entertainment fits any of these descriptions? One may be tempted to include proficient, well-crafted movies or music or plays or books as “excellent”, but Paul sets the mark high. The Greek word for excellence is aretē, a virtuous course of thought, virtue, moral goodness.
Is there value in entertainment? Is it more than just an “activity which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves in their leisure time”? What edification comes from tv shows created for the purpose of selling consumers to advertisers? What is commendable about learning all the stats of the coaches and players of games? Is there truth in top 40 radio? “Christian” radio?
King David declares in Psalm 101,
I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.
In his Confessions, Augustine laments his fascination as a youth with reading of the wars and murders and adulteries of the gods,
For Thou didst grant me Thy discipline, while I was learning vanities; and my sin of delighting in those vanities Thou hast forgiven. In them, indeed, I learnt many a useful word, but these may as well be learned in things not vain.
So much time is wasted in these things. Moses put it aptly in Psalm 90,
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!