Stories of God’s Creativity and Beauty
— God’s character revealed through stories — Andrew Fountain: July 14, 2013
- Is God a God of order or chaos?
- So which picture best illustrates his creativity?
- but the first is order and the second chaos!
- So what does it say about God? Is he chaos??
- Actually the second is order, but much more complex, and much more diverse
- What kind of order is in the second?
- Intricate food chain
- Complex web of dependencies
- Down at the level of plant and animal cells we see microscopic machines that life is based on
- At the microscopic level there is intricate order
- But if you just look at it, it looks like chaos
- How do you discover about this order?
- You have to study it!
- God loves Complexity
- God loves Diversity
- God loves Beauty
- God loves to hide beauty for us to find
- We honour him by searching for it and making it known
- One more point: If you take something that God has made, it can be beautiful on the surface, but when you examine it there is still more beauty.
- The microscope reveals more and more levels
- “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31)
- “And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight” (Gen 2:9)
- “And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there” (Gen 2:12)
- The heavens declare the glory of God;
the sky displays his handiwork.
- Day after day it speaks out;
night after night it reveals his greatness. (Ps 19)
- So God is an artist, but is he a sculptor?
- In ancient times, clay was the main medium for sculpting, and pottery was the main form
- allusion to sculpting:
- The LORD God formed [lit. sculpted] the man from the soil of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Gen 2:7)
- Every animal and bird is “sculpted” by God (Gen 2:19)
- “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; [lit. unsculpted, in the womb]
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were sculpted for me,
when as yet there was none of them.” (Ps 139:16)
- “The sea is his, for he made it.
His hands sculpted the dry land.” (Psa 95:5)
- Very interesting Hebrew word, hokmah, which means both wisdom and artistic skill
- So in Hebrew you would say “There is such wisdom in Dan’s guitar playing, and Luke’s as well”
- And Dave’s paintings show how wise he is, and Heather & Ainsley’s photography are filled with wisdom.
- You must make holy garments for your brother Aaron, for glory and for beauty.
- You are to speak to all who are specially skilled, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, so that they may make Aaron’s garments to set him apart to minister as my priest.…
- The artisans are to use the gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen.
- They are to make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twisted linen, the work of an artistic designer.
- The LORD said to Moses,
- “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,
- and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom and understanding, 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.
Exodus 35, 36
- Every woman who was wise hearted spun with her hands and brought what she had spun, blue, purple, or scarlet yarn, or fine linen,
- and all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair.…
- He has filled them with wisdom to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue…
- And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the LORD had put wisdom, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work.
- Temple worship
- Songs written
- Unfortunately we don’t know the tunes
- Probably deliberate—God wants us to create new tunes appropriate to our culture
- I was going to say that they had no way of writing down the melody
- not strictly true... (we have just lost the meaning of the symbols)
- Even food!
- Actually God is an amazing play-write
- but he gets real life actors
- the ultimate reality show
- What stories from the Bible have become great inspirational dramatic themes
- David and Goliath
- The Exodus...
- Daniels and the Lion’s Den
- Samson betrayed by Delilah
- God continues with drama today, in your life and mine, scripting amazing events, cliffhangers, suspense, etc.
Poetry and Narrative Art
- But is God’s love of beauty really a main theme of the Bible?
- Actually nearly half of the Old Testament is written in poetry
“Love in the Spring”
Song of Solomon 2:10-13
My love answered
to me he said
my pretty darling,
For the winter is past
the rain is gone and done with.
The blooms can be seen in the land,
pruning/singing time is near
and the turtle-dove’s voice can be heard
In our land the fig ripens her fruit
and the vines in blossom give off scent
my pretty darling
- (translation by W.G.E. Watson in Classical Hebrew Poetry, (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1984) p.368)
- and very often things that you don’t think of as being poems are intricately written
- this is part of the culture of “wisdom”
Hebrew Poetry: Isaiah 1:18
||be your sins |
||as scarlet |
||they shall be as white |
||they be red |
||as crimson, |
||as wool |
||they shall be. |
Narrative Art in Genesis
- Gen 28:10 —Jacob leaves the promised land
- Gen 28:11 —the sun sets
- Gen 28:12-16 —He has a night-time encounter with God and vows to serve God if God protects him until he returns
- At least 14 years outside the land
- Gen 32:24-30 —He has a night-time encounter with God who gives him a new name
- Gen 32:31 —the sun rises
- Gen 33f —Jacob returns to the promised land
- What about the New Testament?
John 4:46–54 The Nobleman’s Faith
46So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine.
And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48So Jesus said to him,
“Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”
49The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
50Jesus said to him, “Go your way your son lives!.”
So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him
and he went on his way.
51As he was going down, his servants met him and told him, “your son lives!”.
52So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53So the father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.”
And he himself believed, and all his household.
54This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
- If you are not a follower of Jesus right now, this passage is for you!
- In Proverbs 3 we read:
- By wisdom the Lord laid the foundation of the earth;
he established the heavens by understanding.
- This and many other O.T. allusions are to Jesus, who is the full revelation of God’s beauty and wisdom.
- So if this is true, was Jesus stunningly attractive physically?
- His beauty was his person, the way he interacted with people
- This is another dimension to beauty:
- inner beauty —actually more important
- Jesus was the ultimate beautiful person
1 Peter 3
- Let your beauty not be external — the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes —
- but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.
- So God created man in his own image—we are to reflect it
- Your work:
- Concentrate on being filled with the Spirit
- Allow his beauty to fill you and flow through you
- Don’t look down on enjoying things. Create beautiful things!
- But the most important way of reflecting God’s image of beauty is in who you are as you are filled with Jesus.
Updated on 2013-07-15 by Andrew Fountain