Sub Creation

Colossians 1:16-17
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they bethrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

“What is the place of art in the Christian life?”, asked Francis Schaeffer. Many people have pondered the same question. Writers who might, broadly, be considered within a Christian worldview have commented on this issue before. Perhaps the most famous quote on the subject is from J.R.R. Tolkein, who said this about his fantasy stories:

The story-maker proves a successful “sub-creator.” He makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is “true”: it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside.

Schaeffer gives two reasons why art has value.

First, because a work of art is a work of creativity, and creativity has value because God is the Creator….

Second, an art work has value as a creation because man is made in the image of God, and therefore man not only can love and think and feel emotion, but also has the capacity to create.

We create, because our creativity reflects the creativity of God, and because we are made in the image of God, who is the Creator. Therefore, Schaeffer is saying that creativity ought to be a good thing, because it reflects the character of God.

There is a difference between our creativity and God’s, however. Our creativity is a creativity of imagination. We use pre-existing materials, and there is no reality behind these forms. God, in contrast, created ex nihilo – out of nothing. And He created the reality, in which we live.

Prayer: When we look at all that You have created, O Lord, we stand in awe of Your greatness. We thank You that You have created us able to be creative. We pray that we will use our creative talents, to bring You honor and glory. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Schaeffer, F. (1973), Art and the Bible, in The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer, Volume 2, (Westchester, IL: Crossway), p. 375. Tolkein, J.R.R. (1947), On Fairy Stories, page 12, < http://brainstorm-services.com/wcu-2004/fairystories-tolkien.pdf >, accessed 04/24/2017. ob cit, p. 394. Image: Adobe Stock Photos, licensed to author.

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