Last week Saturday my husband and I were studying the Sabbath School Quarterly Lesson on God as Artist. The lesson stated that this is one side of God that people don’t pay much attention to. However, I am constantly reminded of what a great Artist God is.
As an art lover and an art Minor, I enjoy going to museums. When my sister and I were in Italy, it was a treat for me to visit the Uffizi, Borghese galleries to mention a few and stand for a while just staring at the paintings and the sculpture. I was always fascinated with how Michangelo could take a block of marble and shape it into masterpieces like David and the pieta. The details were so true to life. And the painting on the Sistine Chapel. Michangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael and all the others were truly blessed. They had talents that to this day we can appreciate.
But as talented and gifted as these men were, they paled in comparison with the greatest Artist of all–God. Their paintings and sculpture are facsimiles of the real things created by God. God spoke things into existence. He spoke and tigers, elephants, giraffes, squirrels, dolphins, sharks, whales, eagles, sparrows, the moon, the sun, the stars, etc were created. When I think of the caterpillar who morphs into a beautiful butterfly, I cannot help but marvel and revere a God who obviously appreciates beauty.
When it came to creating man, God used His hands. He formed Adam from the dust and He made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. It’s hard to imagine that man was formed from dust when you think of how we are made up of flesh, blood, bones, skin, nerves. During my pregnancy, I liked to have pictures of the fetus to see what it looked like at each stage. I saw it go from looking like a tadpole to a fully developed human baby with features, ten fingers, ten toes, etc. All the time I was pregnant, I was reminded of who God was–Creator and Author of life. And as I watch nature shows or look at my son I can understand why God was very pleased with His creative work and saw that everything was good.
In the Bible God is described as the Potter and we are His clay. Jeremiah 18:3-10 and Isaiah 64:5-8 give us a picture of how helpless we are before the power of God. We are clay in His hands and He, not us, is in charge. We are the work of His hand. He is the One who molds and fashions us. He is the One who is working to recreate us into His image which sin marred.
God cares much about His physical creation. But He cares much more about the beauty of what He can do in us. We are to surrender, to die to self, and to cooperate with the Lord. He wants to recreate and give back to us the original, spiritual and moral beauty that we had at Eden before the Fall.
God is a Sculptor but unlike the great artists we mentioned earlier, He is not limited to granite or marble. God sculpts our characters. He can take a sinful person and chisel away at that person until the person’s beauty shines forth. We have seen God shape people we deem to be unattractive, unworthy or hopeless. Examples are Jacob (Genesis 32:22-30); David (Psalm 51); Peter (Luke 22:31) and Paul (Acts 9:1-22). One good example of a person whom others saw as worthless and beyond redemption was Mary Magdalene.
“Mary had been . . . a great sinner, but Christ knew the circumstances that had shaped her life. . . . It was He who had lifted her from despair and ruin. Seven times she had heard His rebuke of the demons that controlled her heart and mind. She had heard His strong cries to the Father in her behalf. She knew how offensive is sin to His unsullied purity, and in His strength she had overcome. . . . [This woman] who had fallen, and whose mind had been a habitation of demons, was brought very near to the Saviour in fellowship and ministry. . . . Mary stood beside the Cross. . . . Mary was first at the tomb after His resurrection. It was Mary who first proclaimed a risen Saviour.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages,p. 568.
Salvation history is full of divine creativity, restoring in fallen men and women the lost “image of God.” The gospel is no cosmetic facelift but a matter of life-changing orientation running deep and swift in its cleansing, shaping, and beautifying power. The gospel of Jesus Christ creatively builds with integrity and wholeness. Genuine newness is the result of an inward dynamic at work, a divine creativity that restores beauty to a fallen, sinful life.
We worship a God who takes persons who are unworthy and transforms them into beautiful creatures.
Even after the Fall, nature today is still quite beautiful. Can you imagine what it must have been like before the Fall? This shows us just what an amazing Artist God is. We can see His mastery in the magnificent sunsets. I remember a long time ago when I was in the park and several people were gazing up into the sky, dazzled by the splashes of orange and red. This was God’s signature. It was as if the sky were a giant painting for all to see and appreciate.
God is also seen as an Architect (Exod. 25:1–9). He gave Moses the blueprints for the tent sanctuary which was the place of worship. The details include beautiful artwork.
God is seen as a Musician. He played a role in the worship service of the Israelites. In 2 Chronicles 29:25, King Hezekiah restored temple worship. He stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the Lord by His prophets. Imagine four thousand men praised the Lord with musical instruments which David provided them with for that very purpose. In David’s time, the worship service consisted of people making a joyful noise to the Lord with trumpets and the cornet. This was a lively worship service.
I love going to churches where the song services uplift you and prepare your heart for worship. I believe God loves it when we worship Him in a way that glorifies Him. Music plays an important role in worship.
God is the Author of the Bible which has impressed Bible Scholars for its literary beauty. The psalms which I think are beautiful were inspired by the Lord (2 Sam. 23:1, 2.) The Book of Revelation is filled with imagery.
The reader is presented with an exceedingly complex tapestry of words, phrases, and themes borrowed from other biblical writers but now woven together into an entirely new fabric. This final book in the Bible is in a style vastly different from what Paul and the Gospel writers used. Instead, we are almost overwhelmed with a profound aesthetic display carefully structured around seven scenes of the heavenly sanctuary, each one opening with deeper access into the heavenly court.
God is many things to us but we seldom see Him as an Artist or it is a side of Him that we often overlook. It is good to know that God is an Architect–He can put together plans or designs that would enable us to be the people He wants us to be. He is the Potter, Sculptor who shapes us. He is the Author of our lives and He is the inspiration behind the beautiful hymns and music we enjoy during worship service.
Let us enjoy all sides of God.