Artists have a unique opportunity to glorify God and bless the world.
God is beautiful, and His beauty draws us into worshiping Him. He is beautiful, He is good; all truth comes from Him. Truth, Beauty and Goodness comprise the culture of the kingdom of God. The nations are waiting to experience God; artists help make that happen.
We see this in the “owner’s manual” God provided humans. The Bible is the key to transforming nations, and it begins with, “In the beginning, God, created.” Before the universe existed, there was an Artist. In Genesis 1:1-2 we see a Divine Potter at work.
How does a potter begin his art? What does he start with? A ball of clay, formless and void. Out of the unformed he brings form, structure and beauty. A human potter must have a ball of clay to begin, but God made the clay out of nothing; he spoke the universe into existence.
And before he did that, He imagined the creation. This incredible universe existed in the mind of God before it came to be.
Every human artist echoes that truth in her work. She may be a painter, writer, composer, sculptor, florist; may be an “artist” who invents a new process for effective teamwork, a medical innovation, or some device to ease human suffering. At any rate, something is brewing inside you, your imagination is working. We imagine, as God imagined and then conceived the universe. And the Son, the Word of God, articulated the imagination of God and spoke the universe into existence.
God made people in His image and gave them His imagination to dream dreams. You may write a piece of music no human ear has ever heard, or create a painting no human eye has ever seen.
Artists expand the garden
The world is not as wealthy as it can be because it is waiting for your creativity. It’s waiting for you to govern words, musical notes, or colors. You are not here just to consume from the garden but to expand the garden. And, as we read in Revelation 20:26, someday all the wealth of the nations will be brought into the city of God.
Some of the best wines in the world were produced, not in Eden, but in Chile. Maybe wine from Chile, sculpture from Greece, coffee from Ethiopia, Uruguayan gnocchi and Italian pastas will be brought into the New Jerusalem. We will find the fruits of humankind’s fulfillment of the Cultural Mandate brought into the City of God at the end of history, as gifts for Christ on His wedding day to adorn our eternal home. Each nation will bring its glory to the new Jerusalem, will decorate its walls with paintings, will cause its halls to resound with music.
This means, among other things, that both our practice and our production of art must be dedicated to the First Artist. When J.S. Bach started working on a composition, he wrote JJ in the margin: Jesus help me. And when he finished he inscribed the letters SDG, Soli Deo gloria, To the glory of God alone.
Pop artists shape the culture
Today’s societies are in desperate need of God-honoring art. Nations all over the world, influenced by postmodernism, are sinking into folly and shame. Nations are changing their laws to redefine marriage, denying biological sexuality. Such ideology is being transmitted through the arts to the masses. The artists shape culture. Politics, economics, and social structures downstream from culture.
Why is the definition of marriage changing in nation after nation? Why are whole societies denying biological reality? Because this ideology has been promoted through the arts, and has impacted the culture, and the laws follow.
For a generation at least, pop artists have influenced the culture away from the high view of sexuality as created by God. Was Michael Jackson a man or a woman? How did David Bowie wish to be seen, as man or woman? Madonaa, the “Queen of Pop,” brags about having sex with a thousand different men and women.
These artists are intentional. They see the world uniquely and are bringing all their artistic powers to bear in shaping how people think and act. And they all promote androgyny, the disappearance of male and female. As a result, young people are confused; the ideology denies reality right in front of us, but for many young people, this pop culture influence overwhelms all other voices speaking into their lives.
Christian artists missing in action
Yes, even in the church, to some extent. Jesus sent the church to disciple the nations, but, instead, the world is discipling the church. And there’s no more powerful voice in speaking to the culture than artists. Artists are shaping the culture and the culture determines the laws.
To be a Christ follower is to belong to a King, to serve His kingdom. A Christian artist is an ambassador of the King, to bring glory to God, and blessing to the world. You can push back lies, and bring truth, to your world, through your art.
- Darrow Miller