“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Peter 1:3-4
There are moments in this fallen world when we feel hollowed out and dehumanized. Our fast-paced, disconnected society can shallow us until we feel swept off our feet, gasping for breath and looking for something solid to grasp hold of. The creative arts are part of God’s prescription to cure our rootlessness. They are meant to anchor us and remind us of who we are. They also help us to reflect the image of God—the divine nature—and in doing so they rehumanize us as the people we were created to be.
THE ARTS MAKE US MORE FULLY ALIVE
Cultivating an interest in the arts—both as a consumer and as a producer—taps into the creative parts of us that God made to resonate with beauty. “Unless we are creators,” says author Madeleine L’Engle, “we are not fully alive. . . . Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living. Creativity is not limited to the arts.”
Indeed, the life of the Spirit of God moves us to exercise our gifts and talents in ways that both benefit others and also make us feel more ourselves. The creative arts can often fill us up where many other life activities might deplete us. If we work all day in a cubicle, we may return to our apartment exhausted by our output. Often we’ll sack out on the couch and watch television, and even that passive input may weary us. But read a great novel and suddenly you feel alive. Or put brush to canvas and watch how the time flies. Soon you feel energized, alert, complete. “The discipline of creation,” says Madeleine L’Engle, “be it to paint, compose, write, is an effort towards wholeness.”
THE ARTS MAKE US FEEL CONNECTED
Enjoying the creative arts also connects us with other people. Artist Makoto Fujimura says, “It’s so critical that you have a common ground place that people can share deeply human experiences with each other and accept that everybody may disagree on issues, but they can still come together. The arts bring together . . . people into the audience and create a common tongue that people can learn to speak.”
When Christians practice the creative arts, they serve as a witness and apologetic for God, the Author of all beauty and creativity. Just as God made the earth in all its marvelous complexity—demonstrating how much He loves beauty—so people made in His image and redeemed by His love should fairly shine with creativity. If we don’t, we can actually create a barrier to the winsomeness of the gospel, which proclaims that we are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17–18). “A noncreative Christian is really an oxymoron, an absurd contradiction,” writes Howard Hendricks. “It is incredible that many believers claim to be related to the most creative Person there is, yet act so non-creatively. What a distortion of God’s image. . . . Of all the people in the world, those who have been transformed through allegiance to Christ have the best rationale for creative endeavor.” In a world full of people being dehumanized, the gospel, which rehumanizes us to creative acts, is our only hope.