At the very onset of time, it is the LORD Who imagined, and put into physical form what His thoughts were. Beginning from His own mind, He formed shapes, colors, and textures into reality.
Mankind observes, enjoys, and ponders these “thoughts” of God as they view the created images every day through their eyes. These natural images that we all see around us are, in essence, an inkling of the mind of God: a kind of sampling of His thoughts, His character.
The images we observe in creation, made by God, are good. Everything God made is meant for good. “There is no unrighteousness in God,” (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 92:15). Because of this truth, it would be illogical to think that images, in and of themselves, are bad. It is the sinful nature of man and his abuse of image-making that pollutes and distorts what was meant for good, thus creating useless and offensive products they call “art.”
The “art” of God, however, is perfection. Since God is the Originator of all that exists, no one can critique His artwork. It is the primary source or standard from which all other things are judged. God’s art is perfect in beauty, design and technique. He is truly the “Master Artist.”
Because the created world is so directly linked to the thoughts and mind of God, observing His images (or His “art”) can teach us much about the attributes of God, very much like an earthly painting can tell us much about the artist who made that painting. Romans 1:20 says, “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…” We are told from this verse that the things we see in creation help us understand God’s eternal power and Godhead.
The word “power” in this verse literally refers to “force or miraculous power” and is also translated as “ability, might, strength, abundance” as well as “power.” The word “Godhead” literally means “divinity.” So, according to this verse, we can understand about God’s might, force, miraculous power and divinity by observing things He has created throughout the world. This makes perfect sense since art is a reflection and direct result of what is in the mind and heart of the artist.
Let’s consider some things God has created and see if we learn these attributes about God: His eternal power and His Godhead, or His might, strength, abilities and divinity. Have you ever stood at the edge of the ocean with your feet sinking into the wet sand below, looking out over the sights and sounds of the great blue waters and the raging waves?
Or, have you ever sat on a chair gazing up at the wide open sky? In the day you might have been taken by the expanse of space, colors and billowy cloud formations. In the night, you may have been mesmerized by the billions of star lights and bright moon, all casting their wonders upon the earth.
If you’ve experienced either one of these scenarios in the world, you most likely felt captured by the moment, small and awed. You probably pondered the wonders of God: how He could make such incredible things, and how great He is. “O LORD, how great are Thy works!” (Psalm 92:5).
In the same way God’s artistry teaches us about Him, so too does human artwork tell us about the artist that makes it. Just like God’s created images initiate from His mind, so do the images of man come from his thoughts and understanding.
But man has a big problem. The only thoughts man can conjure up are evil. Without God intervening, he is incapable of any good thought, and in turn, incapable of any good artwork or images. (Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 15:19; Mark 7:21).
Images, or any other form of artistry man creates, reflect what is in his heart and mind. If he fills his thoughts with things that are evil and wicked, that is what he will spew out in his art. It isn’t surprising that the major creative products in our day regarding visual arts, music, movies, magazines and all popular artistic industries are so offensive to Christianity. They haven’t learned from the Master Artist.
In light of the incredible influence creative industries have upon culture, it is a sad, sad thing when Christians fall prey to its captivating appeal. This usually happens because their doctrine is skewed. Perhaps they believe they are “free in Christ” and can do anything they want. Maybe they really believe that art is “just art,” and the idea of a “license to sin” can be set aside when dealing with something that is merely a frivolous expression of self. (Galatians 5:13).
Christians must realize that art is no simple, frivolous, or unimportant thing! The arts, like any other sphere in the world (history, language, math and science) are extremely important because God made it all. (Colossians 1:16). It is interesting to note that of all the areas of education, we are most absorbed in art on a daily basis, but we study it the least Biblically. Christians must search the Scriptures and discover what God says about the arts, and then reflect their Maker in all they do. (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 1 Corinthians 10:31). Only if Christians become wise to the importance and power of the arts can they truly be used rightly to influence the world to the Glory of God.
Jane Raymond is married to Pastor Paul Michael Raymond and shares in the many areas of ministry through the Reformed Bible Church and the New Geneva Christian Leadership Academy in Appomattox, Virginia. www.newgeneva.us You can contact Jane at ArtShouldMatter@gmail.com and on FaceBook at ‘Jane’s Art and Calligraphy’, or learn of the upcoming Reforming Art Conference in early August at: