In the last post in this series we considered Christ. In this post, we are going to…
Consider our Current Condition
It is important for us to correctly situate ourselves within our current condition. We, for instance, do not want to place ourselves within the new creation when we are still reeling from the crash. In the same way, we don’t want to forget that Christ has came. We need to understand our current condition. We do not want to have an “over-realized eschatology” or an “under-realized eschatology.” We want to correctly grasp our situation and communicate the struggles and hopes that we have to the world.
Steve Turner has said, “It is not Christian to make art that assumes that the world is unblemished.” It’s certainly true that the Kingdom has come in God’s Son. The light is shining and the darkness is passing away (1 Jn. 2:8) but it hasn’t passed away yet. We still live in a fallen world. Soon the darkness will be forever gone (Rev. 22:5) but for now it’s an element in our reality so to paint or portray reality means including “darkness.” Read More…
Gen. 1:1—We see the answer to our and the universes origin (and logic, math, science, etc.).
Gen. 1:24-25—We see where the different “kinds” of animals came from. It sounds like God made each different “kind” or type of animal with enough genetic code to produce all the different types of that kind but that they would stay with that “kind” or genetic code. There are similar genetic trademarks between each “kind” yet don’t overstep their kind. This is because they are made by the same Maker and He left the same stamp of intelligence on each of them.
Gen. 1:26-27—Humans have worth and should not be disregarded. From here we see humans have great potential. We also see grounds here for the immorality of mistreating humans. (People have argued that the idea of human rights came from the Christian understanding that all humans are made in the image of God).
Gen. 1:28-30 cf. 2:15—We see a call to stewardship and industry; something that has always been important for survival and compassion.
Introduction: How should we think about art? Why has art had such a varied history? What explains why we can relate to both “sad reflective art” as well as “joyous exuberant art”? How does art in its various forms sometimes make us yearn for something that seems out of reach?
I believe as we look to God’s Word as our guide we will be able to make some significant observations that will better position us to answer some of those questions. In the coming posts, we’ll consider seven ways the Christian worldview informs how we think about art…
First, Consider the Creator
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” (Gen. 1:1). He made atoms and oceans, sunsets and frogs, butterflies and hogs. He made matter and motion, the stars in space and every trace of sand. He made my hands and yours too. God made flowers and bees. God thought up nectar and the neurons that make emotion.
We all have emotions. How often do we consider emotions from a biblical perspective though?… Yet, what better place to turn than God’s word! So, what does the Bible say about emotions?
Emotions are part of God’s good design
First, it is important to realize that “Our emotional capacities are part of our nature as personal beings created in the image and likeness of God.” Second, Emotions are part of God’s good design. Third, We often don’t think about it but we are actually commanded to be emotional. For example, Psalm 2:11 says “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” And there’s a bunch of other examples (Deut. 28:47-48; Ps. 51:17; 97:10; 100:2; Matt. 6:25-34; Rom. 12:9, 15; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:15).
So, Jay Adams says:
“The fact is that there are no damaging or destructive emotions per se. Our emotional makeup is totally from God. All emotions of which He made us capable are constructive when used properly (i.e., in accordance with biblical principles)… All emotions, however, can become destructive when we fail to express them in harmony with biblical limitations and structures.”
You may have heard: “Don’t follow your emotions” or “don’t let your feelings get the best of you,” or “use your head.” But emotions are not bad in themselves. God created us with emotions.
Even our negative emotions are not always wrong. It’s not always bad to feel bad. Sometimes feeling sad and angry is good and right. It’s important to realize that in the Psalms the genre of lament is most dominant. It is also important to remember that there is no book of Joys but there is a book of Lamentations. We don’t always have just “good” feelings and that’s okay. On the other hand, God made us at least in part to experience profound joy and to experience this forever, Psalm 16:11 says. So, our first take away is for us to realize that emotions are not bad in themselves.
But what’s wrong with emotions? Or, why is it that sometimes we can’t or shouldn’t trust our emotions? Because…
Emotions are broken by sin
A lot of us remember the (true) story of Adam and Eve. John Frame has said, “the fall… was rebellion of the whole person—intellect as much as emotions, perception, and will—against God.” After looking at Genesis 3:1-6 (notice the highlighting) we can agree with what Frame says:
“Why should I believe the Bible?” Well, one reason I believe the Bible is because I find it very…
The Bible presents a very viable explanation of the world around us. It gives us a worldview that makes sense of reality. It adequately addresses and answers the most fundamental questions of life. Questions like: How did we get here? Is the world chaotic or ordered? What is a human being? Do humans have intrinsic worth? Why do we have a sense of morality? Is there truly morality; right and wrong, good and evil? What happens after we die? Why is it possible to know anything at all? What is the purpose of life? Why is the world so messed up? And is there any hope?
We must follow our beliefs to their logical conclusions even if some would label those beliefs as crazy. It must be noted that unless we truly believe the truth of the Bible and its gospel, it will appear insane to literally or metaphorically take up our cross and follow Christ. Once understood rightly, however, it will be realized to be the logical response. We are told in Romans to present our bodies as a living sacrifice because that is our reasonable (logical) worship (12:1). 1 Kings 18:21 says, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”
Charles Spurgeon comments: “If God be God, serve him, and do it thoroughly; but if the world be God, serve it, and make no profession of religion.” Later he goes on to tell us, “Either keep up your profession, or give it up… Let your conduct be consistent with your opinions.”
If the Bible and the gospel are true we must live as though they are. We must live in line with what we believe. As the scriptures say, “The LORD is God; there is no other… therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in His statutes and keeping His Commandments” (1 Kings 8:60-61). If we succeed at living out the logical conclusion of what we believe we may appear crazy but we will be quite sane. Radical, but sane.
Francis Schaeffer said, “As Christians we must consider what the logical conclusions of our presuppositions are.” I whole heartedly agree. James R. Sire adds:
“It is important to note that our own worldview may not be what we think it is. It is rather what we show it to be by our words and actions… Even when we think we know what it is and lay it out clearly in neat propositions and clear stories, we may well be wrong. Our very actions may belie our self- knowledge… If we want clarity about our own worldview… we must reflect and profoundly consider how we actually behave.”
If we say God is Lord over our entire life but do not show that He is Lord in our lives then it is very unlikely that we believe it. Further, if God is not our Lord then He is not our Savior. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “The religion of Christ is not a tidbit after one’s bread; on the contrary, it is the bread or it is nothing else.”
In a survey The Barna Group conducted in 2006 they found that
“Faith commitments sometimes play a role in what people do – but less often than might be assumed. In comparing the lifestyle choices of born again Christians to the national norms, there were more areas of similarity than distinction… In evaluating 15 moral behaviors, born again Christians are statistically indistinguishable from non-born again adults on most of the behaviors studied.”
This should not be the case because as Christians we are called to be different. We, as believers, are called to act in accordance with our beliefs and live holy lives devoted to the Lord. It is possible to profess to know God and yet deny Him by our works (cf. Titus 1:16) but let this never be true of us. May we always profess to know God and also demonstrate that we know God by how we live our lives.
Let’s live like the new creations that we are.