Blog - Doing Earthwork

God as Artist

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

God has an eye for beauty.” So says Christian Overman in God’s Pleasure at Work. Only that eye for beauty could have come up with the fan of a peacock’s feathers. Or painted the sky with the hues of a sunset. Or designed the jewel-studded garments for the high priest in the tabernacle. 

When the Creator filled the Garden of Eden with trees, he didn’t settle for ugly thornbushes or scrub shrubs. Instead, as the Artist he designed them to be "pleasing to the eye” (Gen. 2:9).

God’s multi-faced work includes his artistic creativity. Scripture says we are lumps of clay formed by the Potter-Artist. Although he began with mere dust from the earth, from it he fashioned those first and flawless human bodies.

Isaiah assured Israel that "the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel . . . has endowed you with splendor” (55:5). Splendor translates a word meaning to beautify or adorn. And even post-sin, God still works to recreate us in the likeness of his Son. Because of that continuing artistry, we have the potential of becoming "everlasting splendors,” as C. S. Lewis says in The Weight of Glory.

God, as an artist himself, knows how to give artistic gifts and talent to those made in his likeness. Case in point: Bezalel, the artist-craftsman responsible for so much of the beauty in the Tabernacle. As God said of him, "I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship” (Ex. 31:2-5).

So if you work as an artist, be encouraged. What you do can reflect—even if imperfectly—the work of the Originator of the truly beautiful. As Timothy Keller and Katherine Leary Alsdorf say in Every Good Endeavor, "Christian artists have access to a broader and more balanced vision of the world, which is why, over the centuries, that vision has produced such great works of art.”

Comments (3)

Ron Steslow (4/8/2014 6:23:10 PM)
Larry this is inspiring. I really like the last part about Christian Artists having access to "a broader more balanced version of the world." Lately I have been studying the works of Thomas Cole. He was a Christian and a father of American landscapes. I hope might google his "Journey of Life" series for edification. I sure love your writing. Please don't stop!
Larry Peabody (4/8/2014 6:55:52 PM)
Ron, someone just emailed and mentioned the poem by Rudyard Kipling, "When Earth's Last Picture is Painted." I had not seen it before, but it is really worth looking up online.
Ron Kuest (4/9/2014 7:36:48 AM)
It is amazing, yet comprehensible that God is a God of precise order and ordered chaos. That is so well expressed in art. If you want to see the beauty in order, Google "Fibonacci's number". Fascinating.

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