Little Artists, Imaging

Theme: God is the Artist. We are little artists, imaging Him, reflecting Him, looking at our Father and wanting to do what He does. What are we called to do as we imitate the Artist, and how do we love His art?

Verse: Genesis 1:31 “And God saw everything that He had made,
and behold, it was very good.”

Catechism: New City Q4-5
Q: How and why did God create us?
A: God created us male and female in His own image to know Him, love Him, live with Him, and glorify Him. And it is right that we who were created by God should live to His glory.
Q: What else did God create?
A: God created all things by His powerful Word, and all His creation was very good; everything flourished under His loving rule.

Where does Scripture talk about God being the Creator?
From Genesis 1:1 clear up through Revelation 10:6 Scripture is absolutely packed full with reminders that God is the Creator, the Artist, the One through whom all things exist and have their being. Just a few snippets to glance through are John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Nehemiah 9:6, Psalm 33:6, Jeremiah 10:12, Hebrews 11:3, Isaiah 45:18, Jeremiah 32:17, Isaiah 40:28, Proverbs 16:4, Revelation 4:11… but look for yourself and you’ll find that there are many more.

I don’t think it is unusual for God to be acknowledged as Creator, at least in Christian circles – but I have heard people hiccup at the nuance of God being an artist. They would argue He is more of a scientist or an engineer or a composer or an author than an artist. Yet, I think we are severely limiting the glory and scope of God if we try to put Him in a single box anyway. (That should go without saying, but there: I said it anyway.) One isolated facet of our incomprehensible, unfathomable Creator is that He is the King of art, Master of artistry, ultimate Painter and Sculptor and Framer and Architect. There should be absolutely zero argument from His people that He produces good and true and beautiful work, and we ought to take exceptional delight in observing His work and seeking to imitate it.

Not infrequently, when driving home after my daughter has ballet lessons, there is a stunning sunset out her window. She once commented that it looked like a painting from a great artist. I told her she wasn’t wrong. And yet, the nuance really is reversed: it is the great human artists who are the imitators. They only paint representations of what God has already painted, created, sculpted, and gifted to us.

When thinking through the creation account in the beginning chapters of Genesis, if you think of it as God taking the chaos and mayhem of everything being void and without shape, it does not conjure up an image of beauty or goodness. But then He takes it into His hands and uses His words as paints and brushes, to separate and delineate. He put in a horizon line and vanishing points when He put firmament and waters into their own specific places. He added depth, dimension, shadow, and vibrancy when He placed lights in the sky to rule day and night. He added color and texture and movement when He placed plants and creatures all around. And He painted Himself into the portrait when He placed mankind in the garden.

In Ephesians 2:10, we are called “His workmanship.” I have always envisioned God as a carpenter in that way. Wearing a toolbelt or something. Ha! But it is so much more rich and fat and beautiful and powerful than that. As we have been studying the works of artists like Leonardo daVinci in recent weeks, and I absolutely marvel over the things that have been produced by the work of mens’ hands, I find that I am somehow underwhelmed by the work produced by the work of God’s words.

I want to grow in wonder and awe of His artistry. The sculpted detail of tree bark. The blended colors washing the sky that are ever changing in sunrise, sunset, rainbow, and aurora borealis. The straightest of all horizon lines when I stand at the edge of the seashore and look out past the waves. The self portraits, countless in multitude, which take their turns walking the dust of the earth for their apportioned days – they were molded from dust, walking on dust, they will return to dust…

Yet one of the most fascinating aspects of His creation and artistry to me is that it is both finite and infinite, temporal and eternal. What returns to dust from my body when it decays in the depths of soil will someday be raised and glorified. I don’t understand the artistry techniques He uses, but I love the Artist and trust His skill. As I marvel at the beautiful and complex works of art in His created order, and then also find the creations of mankind fascinating, may I be drawn to look up to Him in praise and gratitude and awe. May I glean inspiration for my own creativity because of His lavish grace as my Father.

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