Sunday, March 29, 2009

God as Artist

The Shape in a Misshapen World Festival of the Arts was this weekend. The event was sponsored by 5 Stones and brought a community of visual and literary artists together under one roof to celebrate creativity. It was the first time we've tried something like it, and I think it was a success. We had a decent turn-out for an arts festival (you never know with such things), and the readings all went very well.

I recently attended a presentation at AU by a scientist named Karl Giberson. Among many thought-provoking points he mentioned in his speech, he talked about the metaphors we tend to use to understand God. The scientific community often uses the metaphor for God as engineer, which is a very practical position; an engineer's job is to build things that run efficiently and accomplish the tasks they are supposed to. If we view God only as engineer, though, we miss other aspects of the creator God. Not only is God concerned with how the world operates but the emotional undercurrent of creation. God is also an artist.

Why is it that we call a rose beautiful and a dandelion a weed? Why do multiple species of birds singing together sound pleasant, while multiple people singing different songs sounds garbled and chaotic? Why do mountain peaks covered in snow evoke awe and wonder while snow on my driveway evokes annoyance? There is more to the earth than just a practical tool for survival. There are objects on earth that have both a practical and aesthetic appeal - and to appreciate the creator to a greater degree, we ought to also consider His creation as something complex, beautiful, and mysterious.

This weekend's festival was an opportunity to show how we try to find shape, or answers, in our misshapen world. Just like God the creator, artists are in the business of looking for deeper meaning in the world than just the practical systems that exist. The world resonates with emotion and spirit. Artists are looking for it everywhere. In regards to poetry, C.S. Lewis had this to say, "Poetry too is a little incarnation, giving body to what had been before invisible and inaudible." We are looking for the invisible and inaudible, so that others can see it and feel it themselves.

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