God of Creation, SPEAK!
An understanding of the prophetic with and within the Arts must begin with a sound theology of the Arts. So many of our interpretations of God as seen through our creativity, being music, TV, movies, videos, YouTube, newspapers, adverts, museums, computer games, theatres, photography or poetry seem to flow without any sense of God in it. We seemed to find that it's only after we express ourselves in any art form that we begin to scurry around to try to find or justify, our pieces of art somewhere in the theology of the God’s word. What is all too common now is that we see any expression of art being presented and then an immediate search of scripture to squeeze into that frame, thus justifying any artistic endeavour as prophetic. Let examine further this situation.
The key characteristic of recognizing the prophetic in the arts must begin with God as the first cause of all creation and therefore of all creative endeavours. Through art, God communicates his beauty, his passion and his eternal purposes. In this way, all art has theological implications and prophetic authority. All artistic endeavours have the power, ability, right and authority to communicate God’s purposes.
As stated in our previous article that, prophetically, the entire realm of art is seen within the reality of Creation, the Fall and Redemption. All art will be seen within one of these three categories. We must view this reality in these three spheres of understanding. Either we are expressing God’s creative excellence, exposing (or glorifying) man's tragic fall, or revealing Christ's redemptive power and beauty. We simply recreate what has already been created. In relation to creation, we must see God as ‘first creator’. God is the Master Artist. All creation and creative things flow from him. And with all things He created, He stated that He was well pleased. The crown of his creation was man, the only thing in all His creation that was created in His own image, the only created being into which He breathed His own breath. This places humankind in an incredibly special place with God and the creative process.
This initial movement towards creativity was adoration and appreciation. God established that by proclaiming at the completion of his creation, everything he had created was good (Gen1:31). Then angels sang in total adoration of the sight of God’s creative majesty (Job 38:7) and continue to worship him throughout all eternity (Rev.5:11,12). God uses anthropomorphisms in scripture to communicate how all creation creatively sings, dances, rejoices, claps its hands, honours, declaring His glory. And then humankind, God’s final act in the creative process, the crown of His magnificent creation, now set to give adoration, appreciation, and praise premeditatedly and wilfully to God. David acknowledges the magnificent imaginative beauty of God in the forming every human being. That every man and woman process perfectly, fearfully, and wonderfully, made in his image, we also possess a likeness in the imaginative expression of God and are therefore creative beings at birth. God’s creative imagination and artistic insight are infused into our DNA.
The crucial element to grasping God’s creative presence within creation is revealed in Psalm 19. The heavens declare God’s glory and his handiwork in creating the earth. After everything was completed including the heavens and all it contains and the earth, again, with all its components, God declared that everything was good and perfect. This is the prominent level of acknowledgement of divine prophetic creativity. God as Master Artist, the first cause of all creative things. And the pinnacle of His creation was humankind: made in his image (Gen1) formed to perfection (‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ – Ps.139), possessing superior attributes over all other living things within creation in the realms of intellect, emotion and volition and divine purpose (Ps. 8). Humankind is His prophetic mouthpiece, His hands extended and as AW Tozer stated in the title of one of his most prophetic writings, ‘the Dwelling Place of God’.
It is this heavenly spark, this divine inspiration that causes all humankind to appreciate and long for creative expressions. We are the ultimate expression of God’s creativity and he has placed within us the desire and need to express ourselves and to represent him within this creative process as we prophetically recreate works of great beauty with deep and insightful literary compositions and inspired life-changing paintings, sculptures, poems, symphonies, with great skill and strength of imaginative and aesthetic visionary anointing God’s voice is being heard through all our creative endeavours.
As we reflect on this initial aspect of understanding the prophetic in the Arts, we must be reminded that it is God who is the first cause of all creation and therefore of all our creative and prophetic endeavours must be seen within the reality of Creation, the Fall and Redemption. Our entrance into this ministry is through adoration, praise, and appreciation. The heavens declare God’s glory and his handiwork in all the earth. Let us continue to speak of this glory and handiwork.