Monday, January 1, 2018

God the Supreme Artist

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands" (Psalm 19:1).

As Christians, we are to be concerned about three qualities: the good, the true, and the beautiful. These three are virtues that touch the very heart of Christianity. It is a triad of values, each of which points beyond itself to the character of God. We are concerned about goodness because God is good. We care about truth because God is truth. We care about beauty because God is beautiful.

The beginning of art is found in the act of creation itself. The ultimate foundation and basis for aesthetics is the work of the Creator. Here we see God as the supreme artist. The beauty of the world gives such plain evidence of God’s interest in the arts, that it is surprising to find that a negative attitude toward art exists in many quarters of the Christian world.

God trained His people in art. We see this in the architecture of the tabernacle and the temple and in the songs of David, including the musical instruments developed by David. The tabernacle was an extravagant project of art. God ordered the people to bring their gold and silver, to melt them down, and to use them for adorning the vessels that would be part of the holy place. For the temple, the finest wood was brought from distant mountains in Lebanon. God sent His Holy Spirit to develop the skill of the chief craftsmen (Exodus 31:6). From all this, we see that God wants His children to be artists, like Him.

But what makes art Christian art? There is a certain sense in which art is its own justification. If art is good art, true art, and beautiful art, then it bears witness to the Author of the good, the true, and the beautiful. This is the case whether the theme addressed by a given work of art is explicitly religious or not.

It is sad that so much of what we encounter today in Christian visual art, media, and music, is rather trivial and trite. Ultimately, most of it is boring, and thus fails to show us a God worthy of our attention. As a Christian, consider today what you can do to expose yourself to the tremendous heritage of great art and music.