How should Christian art be informed by the Christian worldview? (part 2)

In the first post, we considered the Creator and we made some observations about implications for how we should think about art. One of the main things we saw was that God is clearly creative and there is a call for us to be creative too. Now we are going to…  

Consider Creation

We see in the beginning that when God saw all He had made He pronounced, “very good” (Gen. 1:4; 10; 12; 18; 21; 25; 1:31). There was no sin, no death, and no problems. Man had perfect fellowship with God (cf. Gen. 3:8) and enjoyed God’s beautiful creation.

God’s creation shows us what God wants for us. He wants us to enjoy and take part in the creation that He has made very good. It shows us our intended design: fellowship with God and each other and the correct enjoyment and creative oversight of creation.

The heavens declare and shout forth the glory and beauty of God (Ps. 19:1-6). “Our God is beautiful in all his way; it is part of his perfection. This divine beauty has been woven into the fabric of creation, in the massive stars, inside the submicroscopic balance of the atom.”[1]

Observation: As we take in and enjoy beauty, whether Mozart, Norman Rockwell, or a brook basking in the sun, it points us back to our Creator and the “very good” creation for which we truly yearn. Even “photography is a longing for eternity, a desire for a lasting impact. When we blast our memories far and wide, we are hoping they will linger when we’re not present and maybe even when we’re gone. How odd that something seemingly instant can be rooted in a hunger for eternity.”[2]

Thus, harmonious art can point to something profound even if out of reach. That’s why I wrote the brief post on “The Subversive Nature of True Art.” Art can rekindle the longing deep in our bones for a home that we have long since left… Thus, some art that seems “fake” because it is too pretty, too perfect, can point to things the way they should be.[3] Whether that’s Tolkien’s and Peter Jackson’s Rivendell or Thomas Kinkade’s picturesque landscapes. Picturesque paintings and upbeat happy music can get at an aspect of reality even if not the whole of reality. 

_____________________

[1] Michael Card, Scribbling in the Sand, 32.

[2] Craig Detweiler, iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives, 189.

[3] “The ‘charm’ or ‘attractiveness’ of beauty is in an important sense eschatological. That is, these qualities point us toward a future for the earth when the fullness of what we see in beauty will be fully seen and known” (William A. Dyrness, Visual Faith: Art, Theology, and Worship in Dialogue).

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 9 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: