Musicians create music, poets create poetry, painters create paintings, and so on. But all these imaginative people have something in common. They dip into the same pool for their subject matter—themselves.
In their creations, artists draw upon their knowledge about the world, their observations, their imagination. And it all comes together as a reflection of who they are.
Over at Speculative Faith, the team blog I’m a part of, we hold writing contests from time to time. I give a sentence to start a story, and the contestants write what comes next. Remarkably, the entries are all different from one another.
But is it really remarkable? Not according to the fiction pundits. Writers often repeat the adage, there are no new stories. But writing instructors are quick to point out that the stories may not be new but they can be unique because the writer brings something fresh—themselves. Each person has his own unique perspective, based on his experiences, personality, thoughts, and imaginings.
So in very real ways, what we create is a reflection of who we are.
Often times, if you’re familiar with a writer, you can pick out a passage as something they’ve written because you recognize the tone and sentence structure, the manner of description, and so forth. Sometimes familiar themes keep cropping up in a writer’s stories.
A painter may return to the same types of subject matter, but there’s also a tell-tale style—the way they paint the eyes or position the figure, the brush strokes and the use of color. All these elements reflect something about the artist herself.
Same with music. The Beetles had a unique sound; the Back Street Boys, a completely different sound; Lady Gaga, something that reflects her, and her alone; and Miley Cyrus, a style that’s all her own. Christian musicians such as the Gettys are no different. They use their music and their lyrics to communicate a bit of who they are—what they believe, what’s important to them, what they think is beautiful, what they want to communicate to the world.
I’m not saying anything new here. Or anything particularly profound. I suspect most people reading this are thinking, Well, of course. Duh!
So here’s the point: if we readily see the hand of the artist in what he creates when it comes to human artists, why is it so hard to believe that the world reflects the hand of God who created it?
Romans tells us that creation reveals God’s invisible attributes. We ought to be saying, Well, of course it would, being as how the created thing is always a reflection of the person who made it.
Of course those who don’t believe God created the world can say the two have no connection. Rather, the evolution of the world is the one instance in which something came from nothing and doesn’t reflect its source. The source: nothing. The thing that was made (or came into being, to put it in more evolution-friendly terms): the world. Nothing. The world. I’m not seeing the reflection of the source.
Evolutionists again will say, no, the world didn’t come from nothing. It came from energy, heat, pressure, that produced the “quark soup” consisting of the building blocks of matter. Building blocks. Interesting that scientists must use such language. Do building blocks build themselves?
But that’s straying from the point. Again I have to ask: Does the thing made (came into being) reflect the source? It would seem not. The theory of evolution, in fact, is predicated on change, not reflection. Intelligent human beings, then, aren’t a mark of intelligence in the quark soup. Nor are our emotions or will a reflection of an emotion or will within the elemental particles, the building blocks of matter.
How odd that the creation (or origin) of the world is so different from every other thing in that world. Beavers make beaver dams. Ants make ant hills. Bees make bee hives. Gophers make gopher holes. Birds make bird nests. And each creation is a reflection of the animal that created it.
More intimately true of humans. We make tall buildings and iPhones and rockets and bombs and paintings and symphonies and novels. Each of those is a reflection, not just of our species, but of the individual who conceived it and designed it and oversaw its construction.
So when the Bible says God created the world, and what He made reflects His character, His very nature, it is immediately recognizable as true because that’s the way we experience reality in every other instance of creation.
Why would who Gauguin is be on display through his paintings, but God’s character be hidden in what He made? Inductive reasoning, moving from the lesser to the greater, leads us to the conclusion that the greatest “something made” (or something which came into being) follows the same pattern of all the lesser things made. All have a creator. And they all reflect that creator in some way.
So too, the world, the ultimate of creation which contains all other creation, has a Creator, and His very nature, the qualities that characterize His being, are on display through what He has made.