Quick—what just popped into your head? Paints and canvas? Funky colors and self-expression? Sure, that’s a start, and we can also include music, writing, dancing, acting, etc. For that matter, fashion design, photography, architecture, cosmetology, filmmaking, and a thousand others are art forms as well.
Art is a notoriously tricky thing to define. In my college philosophy class, we spent some time trying. Is art anything that anyone appreciates? Is there an objective standard of what is “good” art? Does art require an intentional creator? We went in circles for a while, disagreed a lot, and I don’t remember if we ever reached a conclusion. What I actually remember more is something we talked about in another class, a class about what it means to be a Christian and an artist. I walked away from that class carrying a concept that blew my mind.
I was created in the image of a Creator. I was born to be an artist. I was created to create.
Of course, as a theater student, I already considered myself an artist. I create characters with my voice and my body. But it still amazes me to think about how intrinsic and natural art is to the human soul.
Think about it. What do little kids love to do? They spend most of their time watching, imitating—and creating. Finger paint. Play-Doh. Make-believe. Made-up songs. We are born with the urge to create.
And it’s no wonder, really. Take a break and go read Genesis 1. Or, just check out the world around you.
Look at the evening sky! Who created the stars? Who gave them each a name?...I created the world and covered it with people; I stretched out the sky and filled it with stars.
(Isaiah 40:26, 45:12)
This entire planet is a fantasy land bursting with living art! And its Creator is our Father. We were made to take after him.
What an amazing thought! If the Holy Spirit of the original and ultimate Artist is living inside of us…what incredible things might we create? We have it in us to create the art that will inspire and change the world. After all, art is one of the most powerful tools for communication we have available to us. I believe this is because it skips over the intellect and speaks straight to the heart.
By the definition my class arrived at, if you’ve ever created anything, you are an artist. I’m not saying you have to be the next Thomas Kinkaid or American Idol. I don’t care if you flunked the only drawing class you ever took and can’t carry a tune to save your life. You were created in the image of an Artist. Creativity is in your blood. You were given the twin gifts of imagination and creativity. No other species on earth has that power.
So then. If the Holy Spirit of the original and ultimate Artist is living inside of us…what incredible things might we create? With God, the ultimate Beauty, as our inspiration, and God, the ultimate Creator, as our father and guide…by my calculations the possibilities are infinite. We have it in us to create the art that will inspire and change the world. After all, art is one of the most powerful tools for communication we have available to us. I believe this is because it skips over the intellect and speaks straight to the heart. It captures the imagination and resonates with the soul. What better way is there to give glory to God and represent Truth to the world?
And here we are back at one of my favorite topics in the world. If you know me at all, you might be able to guess how I suggest you use your divine gift of art: Worship. Write a poem. Sing your own song. Dance in your bedroom. Draw swirlies in your journal. Seriously. Just create something to give glory to God. It doesn’t have to be brilliant. Just express your heart. Make something beautiful. You were born for it.
Oh sing to Jehovah a new song; sing to Jehovah, all the earth.
(Psalm 96:1, emphasis added)