God might not be the first thing that comes to our mind when we hear the words “arts and entertainment”. I think of movie premiers, art galleries, symphonies and plays. However, we must acknowledge that all of our artistic expression comes from who God is. We see this right from the start of Scripture when we see the Creator at work.
Genesis 1 & 2 reveals that there was more to the world than functionality. There was beauty in creation. There was colour, sounds, sensations. Consider the “disciplines of aesthetics”: colour, form, rhythm, harmony . . . God led the way; He is the Master Artist; He is the Creator; He is the One that brought beauty and aesthetics into the world.
There are no specific passages in Scripture, which are might seem to be taking centre-stage; rather, art is weaved throughout Scripture. The first mention of an artist comes only four chapters in; Genesis 4:21 tells us of Jubal, who was the father of all who play the harp and flute. This man is given credit for creating these instruments; God gave man the ability to co-create with Him!
In Ex 35:30-36:5 we also see that God blesses individuals with special skills in art and creativity as their call – as their purpose! God blessed them to work in this sphere; it was their occupation and it was very important to the Lord. Let’s have a look at what we can see for arts and entertainment from this passage:
Ex 35:31-32 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs . . . Ex 36:5 . . . “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the LORD has commanded us to do.”
- God wants to see quality in this area
- They had already begun to develop these skills and been working at it; God honoured those who had been developing their artistic talents
- God gave them the ability to teach their skill, passing it on to others
- Anyone stirred to do this work could come and be a part of it
- It is in His will that we have talents
- God anoints people with skills of creativity and craftsmanship
- Application to the broader sphere – architecture, engineering, building, interior design, used in therapy etc are also included in this sphere
Another example of art in Scripture is when we see it used as a therapeutic tool. When David is still young and serving King Saul, he would play his harp for the king to sooth his spirit (2 Samuel 16:23); David didn’t tell Saul to get a grip and get over it. Art has the ability to by-pass our brains; it can help us to relax and it can sooth our spirits. An example of this today is the use of dance and art in therapy for those who have gone through traumatic events; such as the children who were forced to be soldiers of the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army led by Joseph Kony).
The Parable of the talents
This parable tells us to be faithful with what we have been given. We are not to hide our talents away but work at increasing them and improving them. This leads us to ask: what do we do with what God gives to us? God blesses each of us with different strengths, gifting and abilities. But there is also a need for us to steward what we have been given; this comes down to the day by day work and effort of fine tuning our gifts.
Here are some questions for you to think through:
- Do we value beauty?
- Do we make our work spaces look good?
- Do we show good stewardship of our homes, keeping it maintained? Do we reflect God in the beauty of our homes?
- Do we value the sportsperson who trains faithfully or the pianist who practices for hours to master his trade? We can celebrate someone for their gifts without making them idols or putting them on a platform.
- Do we celebrate culture?
- Are we blessing others through art? For example, writing a friend a poem or drawing them an image of something that you see as representing their strengths.
What to look at when studying this sphere in Scripture:
- Cultural dress
- Cultural dances
- Incense and smells
God’s character: God of Beauty and God the Great Artist
God’s main attribute: God’s beauty and extravagance
Purpose: Provides rest, relaxation and celebration
God governs through: laws of aesthetics
God uses: skilled craftsmen