The other day my daughter ran in carrying a picture that her little brother had just drawn. He had drawn a face with big round eyes and a big mouth – one of the transitional faces before they make it to the stick figure phase. I was ecstatic. It seems likes it’s taken him eons to get to this stage compared to his sister who did everything at the speed of light. I taped it to my bathroom mirror and he had the biggest grin on his face, “Did I do a good job, Mama?” I was so proud.
As I was staring at it again last night, I started thinking about our creative efforts and how they appear to God. I’m reading a book right now, It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God. It’s honestly beyond my intellect – I grasp about 1 of every 10 sentences. But I do get the concept and can at least appreciate it. Basically, as artistically inclined believers, the attributes of God come out naturally in our works: goodness, virtue etc. So, is God only glorified when we use these gifts perfectly? What if our concept of heavenly things is off? Is God still blessed by our using the gifts with the intent of glorifying Him, even when we get it wrong?
This week I entered into a rather heated debate on Facebook (no longer the happiest place on earth) regarding the book The Shack. I reacted to someone’s flippant and negative remarks about the book. It was more the spiritually arrogant attitude and the fact that people like that make Christians look stupid – not someone I wanted to be coupled with. Her issue was that she felt the novel – a work of fiction – misrepresented God. I wholeheartedly disagreed; I loved the way God was displayed and thoroughly enjoyed the artistic lengths the author went to. So, I guess my questions is, “If God was in fact misrepresented, was God still glorified and blessed if the author’s intent was to the opposite?”
Was God glorified when Michelangelo depicted God as an old white man on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? Was it a perfect interpretation of His Saviour? Is a perfect interpretation possible as imperfect humans? And if it were not possible for humans to represent God accurately, than why does He continue to create us with creative giftings?
Take a look at Medieval art. Its gaudy with Jesus draped in flowing gowns and gilded in gold. Is that how Jesus lived on the earth – like a king? No, but art was used as a storybook without words for the illiterate masses. It may be unaccurate, but we shouldn’t throw it out because of that fact. It was done to the glory of God.
As a believer J.R.R. Tolkein created an amazing world full of polytheistic mythology. Was that wrong as a believer? Should we stop reading his fictional works because they aren’t consistent with Biblical concepts? No, it’s fiction and an amazing example of the abilities God gives His creation.
My conclusion is that, no, it’s not possible to display God accurately as sinful humans, but that doesn’t stop God from wanting us to try. He is glorified when we use our gifts, desiring to glorify Him. Was my son’s picture a work of art? No. But Ididn’t love it any less because of it’s imperfections. I loved it because he drew it to please me and it perfectly represented the level of ability he’s at. Perfection or not.