Creation, God’s invisible qualities and the arts: Part 1

I’d like to start a series of articles based on God revealing His character through creation, and what this means for us and anything we create ourselves. When I talk about creation, this is including what is thought of as “nature” – flowers, animals, mountains, cells and so on, but also more abstract parts of creation: friendship, romance, beauty and the like. We begin with this verse:

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. ” – Romans 1:20

Now, to make sure we get what this verse is really saying, it is in the wider context of Paul’s argument that mankind is without excuse for glorifying God and that  “what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them” (verse 19). This lack of honouring God, and the outworking of it is how Paul explains sin.

But does this line of argument still hold ground today? With evolutionary biology seeking to explain physical creation, and psychology and sociology seeking to explain metaphysical creation (such as love, belief and friendship), is it still reasonable to say that God’s character is plain to the modern man or woman simply through His creation? Or has creation become simply something we steer clear of because we as Christians don’t really know what we think and feel unqualified to comment?

There are two things in the last 2000 years (since Paul wrote this) that have not changed:

– God’s character (or as Paul says, His “eternal power and divine nature”)
– Creation (not to any significant degree, anyway)

And so the only thing that has changed is people’s perceptions of where the two meet. This is where we as Christian artists, musicians, writers and other creative people come in. We have a massive opportunity to ask God “Teach me truths about Your character through creation”. As we begin to see these truths in creation around us (and remember, this can be either things within nature or things like friendship), we can then express these links in our art, our music, our writing, our own creativity. In this way we begin to connect what people see, feel and live in their day-to-day lives with the truths of God’s character that underlie what they experience. It is as if God has left little witnesses about Himself, imprinted in all that He has created, and He now invites us to point out the meaning of these images through the things that we create.

This is an exciting opportunity that deserves thought and consideration. In my next article we will consider how this could be put into practice in what we can learn about God through creation in nature. Let me leave you for now in amazement of the complexity of life with the photo below. It is a microscopic photo of an immune cell destroying a bacterium – it boggles the mind to think that thousands upon thousands of these events happen in your body every day to keep you alive, while most of us never even know this is occurring. Let us open our eyes to the the complexity and beauty of nature around us, ask what it teaches about God, and express these links in our own works of creativity.

– Stephen

An immune cell "eats" an invading bacteria

An immune cell

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