The Importance of Art in a Biblical Worldview
Today I am excited to have a guest post from my sister, Amy. With her interest in art and creativity, she has a great perspective on the importance of art in a Biblical worldview. Be sure to check out her site at www.artofthislife.wordpress.com
In Genesis chapter one, God creates the earth and everything in it, culminating His creation with a man and a women who were made in His own image.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
Made in the image of God, mankind is Spiritual, unlike the creatures of the heavens and earth that God also created. Mankind is also intelligent, relational, communicative, reasoning—and creative. Because of the image of God imprinted in mankind, human beings create. Thus, there is art.
Continuing on in Genesis one, it is also apparent that God was pleased with what He had created:
“And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.”
In the perfect world that existed before the fall, God created beauty, a beauty that could come only as an outpouring of His perfection as Creator. There is wonder and beauty and unfathomable wisdom demonstrated in all that God created. In Job 5:9-10 rain is noted as one of the wonders of God, and in chapter 41, His wisdom and power is exemplified through His creation of the Leviathan.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, the world was marred by sin to such a depth that all creation groans for the day that it “will be set free from its bondage to corruption.” However, despite the fall, God did not allow the world to lose this beauty of creativity altogether. While “art” is scarcely mentioned by name in the Word of God, the concept is very much alive and encouraged throughout Scripture.
Consider, for example, the poetic writing filling Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. Besides the poetry, the book of Psalms gives instruction multiple times to praise the Lord with beautiful, instrumental music. Harps, lyres, tambourine, cymbals and dancing are all mentioned as means to create skillful praise to the Lord.
The clearest example of the importance of art in Scripture can be found in the building plans for the Tabernacle and Temple.
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Juda, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.”
Mankind creates because he was formed in the image of a Creative God, yet art must be restricted to a proper place. There is nothing about art that is deserving of worship; over and over again the nation of Israel fell into awful sin by worshipping crafted images. Furthermore, it does not exist as an end in itself as some would claim. Art does not offer meaning or fulfillment to our existence, a truth which Solomon discovered and plainly shared in the book of Ecclesiastes.
Ultimately, art is important as a creation and ability given by God and deserves a thoughtful position in the Biblical worldview. Striving to create and promote art with skill and excellence worthy of being made in God’s own image is a unique way in which Christians can magnify God. What a vast and wonderful field art is, which mankind has been blessed to participate in!
 Genesis 1:27
 Genesis 1:31
 Romans 8:21
 Exodus 31:1-36