Art and faith have always been partners, and they always will as people across the globe use creativity to express the divine. Some of the most stunning artwork in history is on ancient scrolls and inner walls of Egyptian pyramids, artistically leading the souls of pharaohs safely to the spiritual realm under the watchful eyes of their deities. My own faith is far different from theirs, and my theology of art is not elaborate, but I have a few thoughts.
First, we all have the creative fire–even those who doggedly deny it. I’ve taught art to a few people over the years who claim they can’t even draw a straight line (here’s a secret: artists use rulers), and they were surprised to create something beautiful, something they were proud to hang on the wall or give to a friend. Having been created by the Creator, our imagination (“creative fire”) is part of our spiritual inheritance, a vital part of the family resemblance.
My favorite concept of God is that of the Ultimate Artist. We’re overwhelmed by what we see around us (at least, we should be), and the deeper we look into space the more we’re impressed with the awesome beauty of nature. And if the natural world is this impressive, just think what the supernatural holds, with colors and images we can’t begin to imagine (however, see how Pat Marvenko Smith imagines the unimaginable). In heaven, I’m hoping God allows me a little space for a studio, with a myriad of divinely crafted colors and tools.
Lastly, creativity points to the Divine. I cannot account for our imagination by a “survival of the fittest.” The natural selection of Darwin doesn’t explain the source of creativity, much less any purpose for it. For me, it is simple. Whether it is music, literature, fine arts, or crayon stick figures, creative expression comes to us naturally because we’re derived from the Ultimate Artist. And my hope is that we never neglect our spiritual inheritance, but use the creativity that the Creator furnished to us from the beginning.